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Zero Zero - San Francisco - Report

f
Foodnut8 Aug 11, 2010 10:29 AM

Zero Zero is a new restaurant in San Francisco’s SOMA district by Bruce Hill. (Pizzeria Picco, Picco, Bix) The restaurant is named after “00″ or doppio zero ultrafine milling flour, used in many pizzas. They feature ‘Calipolitan’ pizzas, pastas, Italian small plates, ‘two big time bars’, and organic soft serve. The focus is on farm driven ingredients and a party like atmosphere. Reservations for parties 5 or larger only, so by 6:45pm there was a wait.

Zero Zero SF’s Menu has a variety of starters from Crudo to mostly vegetable Antipasti to Salads. 5 pastas and 10 pizzas round out the menu.

Picks:
Ricotta Stuffed Squash and Fried Squash Blossoms, cherry tomato, Brocolli Raab Pesto ($6.95) is a mass of lightly fried stuffed vegetables that even carnivores could devour quickly.

Heirloom Tomato, cucumber, pickled onion and avocado panzanella ($8.95) was a solid salad with two kinds of fresh tomatoes, bits of marinated avocado, a lite dressing, and some very nice croutons.

Nuvole, Organic Egg, Mascarpone, Mushrooms, Bacon ($12.95) is a rich twisted homemade pasta for strong bacon and egg-based sauce. This rich pasta dish was a bit on the salty side but not as bad as the Papparardelle.

Margherita Pizza – tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella, parmesan and De Padova extra virgin olive oil ($10.95) was a very thin artisan pizza with a runny center and some high quality cheese. There were a fair amount of charm marks on the crust, but the classic margherita flavors of the pizza were very good. Pizzas are sliced at your table side.

Fillmore Pizza – Hen of the Woods mushrooms, leeks, mozzarella, parmesan, pecorino, fontina, garlic and thyme ($15.50) was a vegetarian friendly and tomato sauce-less pizza cooked without a hint of saltiness. Lots of fresh mushrooms made this a bit chewy. Pizzas get racked on a cool multiple pizza tower.

Castro Pizza – Sopresatta, House made sausage, tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil ($13.50) was a solid pizza with also a wet middle. Tasty meats on the salty side. A bit more edge cindering on this one.

Organic Soft serve Chocolate / Vanilla Swirl ($4.95), Toffee ($0.50) and Mascapone Cheesecake ($4) had a ton of high quality, egg-based, very smooth ice cream. Even the cheesecake was top notch. Dessert costs can skyrocket with all the options, so share this large creation.

OK:
Papparardelle, Braised Pork Shoulder, Grilled Summer Squash olive pesto ($13.95) was a good sized house made pasta with excellent homemade wide noodles and tender meat. The major problem was simply the meat was too salty.

Pans:
None

Service – Zero Zero opened not long ago, and already has decent service although the waitress overloaded as the place filled up. She was friendly and knew the dishes well. Pacing was off, as all the dishes seem to come at different times.

Value – Prices are definitely on the premium side for a trendy pizza, pasta, and cocktails place, leaving minimal room for error. It is easy to hit $40 a person for a pizza, appetizer, drink, and dessert.

Alternatives – Pizzaiolo in Oakland, reminds me of Zero Zero, but has better food.

Verdict – Zero Zero serves up solid pizza in a energetic atmosphere, perfect for groups and parties. They could use some tuning on their pastas though. Strong cocktail list. Good sized wine list with Wines on tap from $6, by the glass from $7, by the bottle from $25.
4% San Francisco health surcharge that is not mentioned on the menu.

Pics and more...
http://www.foodnut.com/585/zero-zero-...

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Pizzaiolo
5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

Bix
56 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133

Zero Zero
826 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94107

 
 
  1. Melanie Wong Aug 11, 2010 12:07 PM

    Thanks for your very thorough run-down. I was wondering how long it would be before we heard about it. Anyone else tried Zero Zero?

    http://tastingtable.com/ecs/3526.htm?...

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    Zero Zero
    826 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94107

    1. v
      vulber Aug 11, 2010 12:28 PM

      Have you been to Pizzeria Picco, for comparison? Is it pretty much the same stuff?

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      Pizzeria Picco
      320 Magnolia Ave, Larkspur, CA 94939

      1. DezzerSF Aug 11, 2010 01:11 PM

        We went on opening weekend and snagged a couple seats at the bar with no wait. Service and coursing were perfect.

        I started with a spicy Tres Agaves cocktailI, the High Smolder, which had a well balanced tartness, sweetness and a medium spicy kick (not as spicy as the Laughing Buddha at Cantina). The Nebbiolo they had by the glass was very nice as well.

        We started with the fried chicken thighs that came with a tomato sauce and spicy white sauce. The chicken was perfectly fried, very juicy with a well seasoned crunchy batter, best fried chicken I've had in a while. Also loved the fried basil they garnished it with. Definitely a must order.

        The spaghetti with prawn, broccoli raab, mint and chiles was tasty as well, albeit on the salty side. Pasta was cooked well, maybe just a tad more than al dente. For comparison, I liked the ramp taglietelle with spicy tomato sauce at SPQR more than this, but my dining partner liked the dish.

        Kitchen accidentally sent out the arancini, essentially a fried rice ball filled with spinach and cheese. These were perfectly cooked till golden and crunchy, with a creamy risotto like interior. It's served with a nice white sauce underneath, topped with arugula.

        I had the Castro pizza as well, which was predictably salty from the cured meats, but I'm partial to a Margherita pie. The crust is light, well seasoned, perfectly thin, nicely charred on top as well as below, but wet in the middle. Tomato sauce was just a tad undersalted or not enough tomato essence for me. I like Tony's (North Beach) tomato sauce the best. It had a good amount of cheese and we were able to add some fresh basil for some brightness since we sat at the bar. I'd definitely come back to try another pie, the bar staff mentioned they liked the white pies the best.

        -----
        Tres Agaves Restaurant
        130 Townsend St, San Francisco, CA 94107

        SPQR
        1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

        2 Replies
        1. re: DezzerSF
          Mari Aug 11, 2010 01:49 PM

          I was there early last Friday and the fried chicken dish is one of the most delicious things I have eaten in recent memory. The accompanying yogurt sauce with caraway was good on its own too.

          We ordered 2 pizzas and I thought they were fine, a bit chewy but I don't know if that is good or bad in the pizza world. The pizzas seemed slightly smaller than those at Picco.

          The serving of softserve seemed huge compared to what I remember at Picco. It definitely adds up if you add extra toppings. Our order of softserve with chocolate sauce and a waffle was about $9.50. I live close by so I will definitely be back.

          1. re: Mari
            m
            margieco Aug 11, 2010 07:40 PM

            we also went within the first or so. Went opening night just for dessert and i loved the ice cream with olive oil/sea salt.

            Went back a week or so later and had a large selection of dishes which left me a bit underwhelmed.

            We started with the Hiramasa crudo. This had really good flavors but they overwhelmed the fish and the dish was a bit too salty.
            The meat plate was also underwhelming. The meats themselves didn't hold up without the jam/bread, yet there wasn't enough jam/bread to support the meat.
            We also had the castro pizza. I agree that the cheese was good, but the pizza was soggy in the middle (even tho it had excessive char -- and I'm a char gal). The sausage was cut in chunks in an odd way that added the overwhelming flavor of salt on the pizza.
            We followed this eve up with one at nearby Zuppa.
            By comparison the meat plate at Zuppa was outstanding (sure, it's different meats but the selection was much better)
            The sausage pizza at zuppa was also superior. Cooked perfectly with thin slices of sausage that added excellent flavor without overwhelming the pie.

            I'd happily return to Zero Zero for ice cream, but I'd go to Tony's for the perfect pizza.

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            Zuppa
            564 4th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

            Zero Zero
            826 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94107

        2. 1
          10foot5 Aug 11, 2010 02:19 PM

          I love a fortuitous typo: "charm marks" on the crust of an artisan pizza fits the bill.

          1. b
            balabanian Sep 15, 2010 10:03 AM

            Ate here last night, I thought it was good but a little uneven, and not as good as Picco in my limited (3 visits) experience. Here's what we had:
            - Plum Smash cocktail- bourbon, mint, plum, lime- very tasty, served on the rocks though so it got a little watery, next time i'd order it served up.
            - Bruschetta with caponata and buratta- nice generous portion. the caponata and buratta were delicious. my only complaint is that the bread was a little soft & airy, i prefer a chewier, crunchier, denser bread for bruschetta.
            - Polenta with mushrooms and egg- really tasty, great sauce on the mushrooms combined well with the egg flavor.
            - Margarita Extra Pizza- This was pretty disappointing- very little cheese, which i know is the style of this kind of pizza, but it was still too little. And the sauce was too sparsely flavored, which i think is also the style of this kind of pizza, but again, too little flavor, too much rawness. The crust was good, chewy, a little sour. Next time I'd try one of the white pies or a meat pie.
            - We also had wine on tap- the dolcetto and the sangiovese, both very good.

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            Zero Zero
            826 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94107

            1. g
              Grubbjunkie Sep 15, 2010 04:39 PM

              I haven't made it over there yet so I don't have much to add except I think it's pretty funny to hear people complain about the wet middle of the pizzas. That is an intended result but some of you make it sound like it was poor preparation, as in undercooking. You can say you don't like that style, but it is true to that type of pizza.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Grubbjunkie
                Windy Sep 16, 2010 07:32 PM

                True that it's authentic, but the smaller size (so not collapsing in the middle) is exactly why I prefer Delfina's pizza to Picco's. Or Rotten City's NY style slices.

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                Delfina Restaurant
                3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

              2. Pei Sep 15, 2010 11:33 PM

                Thank you for the report. I heard second hand that the pasta was too salty, so hopefully the kitchen will catch wind and fix it. Or perhaps it was an off day. When I finally get down there I'm sticking to the pizza.

                Anyone have any wine on tap yet?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Pei
                  j
                  jjdot Sep 16, 2010 10:59 AM

                  I went last weekend--FYI reservation policy has changed. They take them now. I actually think my pasta was BETTER than my pizza. Great flavor, pasta and prawns perfectly cooked. I don't mind the sogginess of the pizza but I thought the sauce on the margharita was very bland. I love the atmosphere and decor and the bartender (bea?) made the best St, Germaine cocktail I've had since my trip to Seattle in June. Ceasar salad was good and I'm not a big Ceasar fan.

                2. mariacarmen May 17, 2011 02:18 PM

                  Does anyone know if Pizzeria Picco has opened in San Francisco proper? A friend (in Houston) seems to think it has, besides its Larkspur location.) Thanks!

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                  Pizzeria Picco
                  320 Magnolia Ave, Larkspur, CA 94939

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: mariacarmen
                    Robert Lauriston May 17, 2011 02:22 PM

                    No. Zero Zero is the SF version of Picco, more or less.

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                    Zero Zero
                    826 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                      mariacarmen May 17, 2011 02:39 PM

                      thanks!

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                        mariacarmen May 17, 2011 02:43 PM

                        thanks! one more question - are both Picco AND Pizzeria Picco outside the City?

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                        Pizzeria Picco
                        320 Magnolia Ave, Larkspur, CA 94939

                        1. re: mariacarmen
                          Robert Lauriston May 17, 2011 02:46 PM

                          They're next to each other in Larkspur. The pizzas I've had at Zero Zero were better than the ones I had in Larkspur.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
                            mariacarmen May 17, 2011 02:47 PM

                            great, thanks, just what i wanted to hear.

                    2. s
                      sfwork May 18, 2011 08:20 PM

                      We were there on Saturday night and had a great time. The cocktails were great (but the bar staff were all unfriendly and unhelpful). We had a bunch of appetizers: pickles (great!), hamachi crudo (meh), avocado bruschetta (simple but good), asparagus (great!), fried chicken (YUMMMMM!), and cesar salad (better than average). Then we got two pastas: the lobster/crab bucatini (excellent!) and the spaghetti with jalapenos and clams (*not* enough salt). And two pizzas (I don't know what we got because I couldn't get past the pastas). As good as the meal was, my FAVORITE part of the dinner was the dessert. The make your own soft server sundaes... THE BEST. I got vanilla/choc swirl with the caramel sauce (wow, so good) with the candied marcona almonds and our friend got these fried dough balls (donuts?) that were so good I wanted to cry.

                      overall, a great time! will definitely be going back.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sfwork
                        mariacarmen May 18, 2011 08:31 PM

                        good to hear! we are going Saturday for an early dinner..

                      2. mariacarmen May 22, 2011 04:49 PM

                        Ate here last night. 3 adults and 1 child split: The slow cooked pork belly with roman style dumplings (semolina), crispy broccoli, poached egg and harissa; Braised octopus, Sicilian chickpea fritters, purslane, agrodolce; fontina stuffed arancini with black garlic aioli; Fettucini with duck, bacon, sweet corn, , spring onion, chives and espelette, and a white pizza with nettles, burrata and sausage.

                        We loved everything but the octopus, which was a tad overcooked and a bit flavorless, though i did like the purslane. The star was the pork belly, which came with the most beautiful orange-yolked poached egg I've ever seen anywhere. The pork was a tad salty but still delicious. The pizza was fantastic, tho I would have liked it better if the burrata was dolloped on top after it came out of the oven, since it was so thoroughly melted you couldn't taste the creaminess as well. But then again, it was THE cheese for the pizza, and since there was no tomato sauce you needed the cheese to cover the dough. The pizza was nicely charred on the edges, juicy, great tasting crust, with fat chunks of sausage and a nice bite from the nettles. The arancini were very cheesy, the risotto covering being thinner than others i've tried, and were very crisp on the outside, meltingly tender on the inside, and great with the aioli. We had a bottle of prosecco and a bottle of the '09 Matane Puglia primitivo, which was light and fruity, with a pronounced alcohol taste.

                        We also had dessert, which for me was not great. My friend's panna cotta was wonderful, but his wife, their son and i opted for individual sundaes, which you concoct from a list of ice cream flavors and toppings. I can't remember what they had, but i had a vanilla with olive oil, and then at the last moment i had them add bacon bits. I'd had a wonderful tahitian vanilla milk shake with a very fruity olive oil at Coi a few years ago, the memory of which still haunts me, so i was trying to recreate that. The ice cream was Strauss organic soft serve, but neither it nor the olive oil tasted of very high quality to me, and the bacon unfortunately tasted as if it had been sitting around too long. I mentioned that to the waitress and she kindly took it off our bill.

                        Great service, really good food overall. I'd definitely go back again. Attached are a few photos.

                         
                         
                         
                         
                         
                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mariacarmen
                          bbulkow Jul 31, 2011 05:16 PM

                          I stopped by zero zero before a show at Yerba Buena Center and was very pleased. The "antipasti" were clearly the stars. We had the simply described green beans and mushrooms, which had enough butter and garlic to make anything taste good, and the fresh local squid, which had a haunting roasted flavor in the tomato sauce and was amazingly fresh. The pizza itself was good - very good - but I think not 100% the best. The crust had a delightful chew and enough char, but could have been ineffably better. The "margherita extra" had a light coating of cheese, wonderfully fresh tomato sauce.

                          What amazed me was on 6pm saturday the place was full to the gills. We happened to snag a place at the bar, and we were out before 6:45. The place is *quick*, almost too quick, but the service was very pleasant and not overtly rushed.

                          The price was right too - I think we got out at about $60 total with one drink each. We weren't stuffed but we were pleasantly sated.

                          I wouldn't call zero zero one of the city's best restaurants, but it does fill some of the best traditions of SF dining - excellence at a reasonable price point in a hip and fun environment.

                        2. j
                          jman1 Jul 17, 2011 10:52 PM

                          Is it still very loud? It's been measured at 85 db each time I was there.

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