Pizzaiolo last night
Went with a group of eight for a birthday dinner last night. Of the dozen or so times I've been to Pizzaiolo, this was probably the best overall experience -- every dish was excellent, service was smooth and friendly, etc.
We had the meatballs, which were fantastic as usual. Oro blanco and blood orange salad with fennel, olives, and marash pepper -- we actually had this dish last winter, and remembered it as being great; no change from that. The highlight of the appetizers was a salad of jerusalem artichokes with walnuts and shaved reggiano, in a vinaigrette with a heady anchovy presence. The anchovy flavor really brought out all the flavors -- yum. We also had crab baked in the wood oven which was about standard for delicious dungeness; I couldn't really say that the wood oven made it any better than crab I cook myself.
The best pizza of the night was with gorgonzola and delicata squash. Gorgonzola always pairs well with sweet flavors, and the winter squash was no exception. Also great was butterball potatoes with grana and pancetta -- big, juicy, fatty pieces of pancetta. Margherita for the vegetarians and margherita w/ housemade sausage rounded things out.
As far as I can tell, Pizzaiolo just keep getting better in all aspects - what a gem to have in the neighborhood.
Oaktownhound: Is there an area in the restaurant that is more "private" and less noisy? I am thinking of having a party there also, but the reason I would not is that it is so noisy, it is often hard to visit. I do agree about the quality of the food. Is the rather dismissive front person gone? I hope so- he was so rude and unhelpful.
Yeah, the back room is much more quiet and secluded, although you may have to share it with other diners (it's a very large table). My 90-year-old grandmother was having trouble with the noise, and our waitress was happy to turn the music way down in the back room (there's a separate volume control for the room).
When the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, the patio out back is extremely private and quiet; it almost feels like a different restaurant.
Omar and Todd are both still working there. I've found neither of them to be unhelpful, they're just really, really, busy and they have a lot of rude patrons to deal with so they tend to be curt. Now that Pizzaiolo takes reservations, the waits aren't as much of an issue.