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Pizzaiolo report

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Late dinner at Pizzaiolo last night. Decided to try a pasta and an entree for a change, since we always get pizza.

Started with oven-roasted squid with aioli, cherry tomatoes, and shaved fennel ($12), some of the best squid I've had in years. Nice hit of chile from maybe a sprinkling of cayenne on the squid? Also fritto misto of big green beans and (unfilled) squash blossoms ($10), very nice but a bit delicate compared with the squid.

Then ravioli filled with potato and bitter greens ($14) sauced with butter and more cherry tomatoes. Perfectly al dente but a bit bland, didn't detect any bitter green flavors.

Roast Niman pork with polenta with sweet corn and tiny green beans ($22), very good.

Sausage pizza ($15), absolutely great. This was the thinnest pizza I've had there, almost like Roman style.

So, pasta and entree were good, but for that I'll go to Oliveto. From now on I'm sticking with pizza at Pizzaiolo.

I love the relaxed, informal, neighborhood atmosphere at Pizzaiolo. In that regard it's my favorite restaurant these days.

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  1. Too bad it was Niman pork on the menu - it's the Heritage breeds that have really wowed me. Charlie told me he intends to stop serving Niman eventually but I guess that is still in transition.
    One of these days you have to try the fried chicken - best fried chicken I've had anywhere, hands down.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Morton the Mousse

      Have yet to see fried chicken on the menu. Have you had it at the Cafe at Chez Panisse?

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        I've seen fried chicken on their menu at least three times in the past six weeks or so, I think only on weekend nights. The bartender did tell me once that the fried chicken there is the best he's ever had, I've been meaning to check it out.

        1. re: JasmineG

          Somebody knows how to fry, that's for sure. The arancini are tops.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Oh man, those are what I haven't seen on the menu in a while -- I saw them twice the first two times I was there last summer, but I've been missing them ever since. They were fantastic, I agree.

        2. re: Robert Lauriston

          No I have not. I only make it to Chez about once a year because every time I eat there I end up ordering the whole menu and I spend a fortune. However, a friend of mine who worked at Chez for years says he prefers the FC at Pizzaiolo, though the style is similar. They often serve it on Friday nights.

          1. re: Morton the Mousse

            Is the fried chicken at Pizzaiolo pan fried or deep fried?

            1. re: Mick Ruthven

              deep, my friend, deep fried

      2. So, Nizza La Bella or Pizzaiolo for sausage pizza?

        6 Replies
        1. re: rworange

          Absolutely.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            No, I meant which do you prefer? Who makes the sausage at Pizzaiolo?

            1. re: rworange

              Both use housemade sausage. Both pizzas are great. They're not similar enough for an open-minded pizza lover like me to rank them. Tie for #1.

              One significant difference, Pizzaiolo's pizzas change all the time. I've had the sausage with peppers, with broccoli rabe, with fresh tomatoes.

              I've promoted Pizzaiolo to "Best of Breed" for California-style on my pizza page. Not that Chez Panisse hasn't gone downhill, Charlie Hallowell's just taken things a step further.

              http://lauriston.com/pizza.html

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I think you mean "Not that Chez Panisse has gone downhill..."

                G

          2. re: rworange

            You guys couldn't be righter. The San Gennaro at Nizza La Bella is almost awe-inspiring.

            Somebody needs to teach those guys how to goose their site a few notches up the Google results.

            http://www.nizzalabella.com/

            G

            1. re: Gerard

              The site is only a few weeks old.