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Picco

v
valcfield Feb 22, 2013 05:55 AM

So, I've read about Picco plenty, and am debating going there this weekend... was surprised to find out that it is often referenced in threads but never got its own fleshed out discussion. sooo

1. recs if i do end up going?

2. on a sat afternoon (say 2pm) how packed is it? someone coming in from out of town, wondering if, at that time, we could lounge and catch up after lunch, or if its a mob scene. if so... are there places nearby (and grab coffee, etc.) where one could lounge a bit?

Thanks!

  1. k
    keith Feb 22, 2013 06:04 AM

    Picco is a solid upscale South End pizza and pasta place, but don't know that I'd consider it a destination spot. It does get busy in the evening, but on a Saturday early-mid afternoon you should have no problem getting a table right away.

    I like their Ravioli there (home made, filling changes regularly) as well as their Broccoli Rabe, Sausage & Olive pizza and their Alsatian Pizza (which they say is their version of a tarte flambé). They also have great ice cream sundaes for dessert.

    3 Replies
    1. re: keith
      v
      valcfield Feb 22, 2013 06:09 AM

      cool thanks. yea- i'm more looking for a spot that i have not yet tried and that would be less packed. family is more of a fuel-for-food (and into staples like pizzas, burgers) so less concerned with taking them to a destination spot. but that's good to know!

      i did consider doing say, area four instead, since that is on the red line (he's coming to/leaving from south station), if you have any thoughts as between the two (for either food or chilling).

      1. re: valcfield
        k
        keith Feb 22, 2013 06:14 AM

        I like Area Four too, but to me the interior is a bit more industrial and "cold." If you're looking for more of a convivial place to hang, I think Picco is a better bet.

      2. re: keith
        m
        meeps2002 Feb 22, 2013 06:52 AM

        I think it is a Boston destination - it's the best Pizza in the City

      3. c
        celeriac Feb 22, 2013 06:23 AM

        I'll disagree with keith, because in my opinion Picco is absolutely a destination for Boston pizza hounds. Very few places in this town really make a great pie, and Picco is one of that few.

        Their crust is incredible -- long, flavorful ferment (with a bit of sourdough tang, to my taste), cooked hot enough to develop good crust and char without drying out. Their topping combinations are quite good as well, but for me it's all about the crust at Picco. If you're up for a less traditional pie, I'll echo their Alsatian as a menu highlight. I also appreciate that they always have an interesting and extensive craft beer list. It's really one of my favorite places in Boston.

        As to the question of how full it's likely to be on Saturday afternoon... it's hard for me to imagine it will be packed that late in the day, but then again I'm often surprised by how busy Picco is on weeknights. It's definitely a popular spot.

        5 Replies
        1. re: celeriac
          k
          keith Feb 22, 2013 06:36 AM

          Interesting. Maybe I take Picco for granted because I live 2 blocks away, but I like the pizza more at Posto, Coppa, Otto, and sometimes (for something different) Santarpios or the original Regina.

          I agree though that Boston is not the pizza mecca I wish it were. In fact, I'm not sure that even one place serves what could be considered "una vera pizza napoletana."

          That being said, I do like Picco a lot...just in a "neighborhood spot" kind of way.

          1. re: keith
            c
            celeriac Feb 22, 2013 09:06 AM

            I mean, those are several of the other top options and beyond that it's a matter of personal taste. I think Posto is great pie, probably equal to Picco. Coppa is totally delicious but, to me, far more topping-oriented and not quite strong enough on the crust. Otto is solid, but far from my favorite. And Regina is a bit thick for me, but an indisputable classic.

            1. re: keith
              r
              retrofabulousity Feb 22, 2013 03:27 PM

              Grab Gusto in Cambridge certainly serves pizza napoletana and Pasta Beach on Atlantic Avenue also does, as does Guido's Charcoal Kitchen in Waltham.

              Any of those 3 is miles and miles more authentic than Picco, especially Gran Gusto if that is the style you are looking for.

              Italians here in Boston pretty much go to Gran Gusto almost always and Pasta Beach after that. Guido's is new and is the next closest on the list.

              The pizza I and the rest of my Italian crew had at Picco's was quite disappointing but people here are probably looking for different things.

              1. re: retrofabulousity
                k
                keith Feb 22, 2013 03:36 PM

                Yeah, I forgot about Gran Gusto. Its pizza is pretty awesome, but for some reason I never find myself in that area. I think the chef there used to work at Luzzo's, one of the last coal oven pizzerias in Manhattan which I used to frequent when I lived there.

                Haven't tried Pasta Beach (as the name really bothered me), but sounds like maybe I should....

                1. re: retrofabulousity
                  c
                  celeriac Feb 23, 2013 06:25 AM

                  Agreed about Gran Gusto being both very delicious and miles more authentically Italian. My personal tastes tend to favor a crustier crust than "authentic" Neapolitan, but certainly Gran Gusto is unimpeachable. Pasta Beach is news to me and a place that I will definitely look into. Thanks!

            2. g
              Gabatta Feb 22, 2013 06:39 AM

              You shouldn't have any problem getting a table and hanging out for a bit on Saturday afternoon at Picco.

              I stick with the basic pizza there and it's great.

              1. m
                meeps2002 Feb 22, 2013 06:51 AM

                1. Do 1/2 and 1/2 (Alsatian and maybe whatever the special is, Pork Belly?)

                2. If it's just a few of you, 2pm should be fine. Francesca's, Berkeley Perk are both right near there as well.

                2 Replies
                1. re: meeps2002
                  v
                  valcfield Feb 22, 2013 08:43 AM

                  so they'll let you do half/half on specialty pizzas? i'd have thought that would be too hard given seemingly different sauce bases? but awesome if true.

                  1. re: valcfield
                    m
                    meeps2002 Feb 22, 2013 09:37 AM

                    definitely - they will do anything in 1/2s - we always do the goat cheese arugula and alsatian

                2. b
                  Buddernut Feb 22, 2013 09:09 AM

                  Oh heavens.... there is none better than Picco. The addiction is their Alsatian Pizza. But I just recently discovered a tie for first place in their pizzas. If you go get and Alsatian and definitely get the Red Pepper, Goat Cheese and Arugula Salad Pizza. It is absolutely mouthwatering. And no need to head anywhere else for coffee... their homemade icecream and their guiness and ice cream frappe is just amazing. Hub and I often go about 2-3pm on Saturdays and its a great time. We are bar rats and love the interaction of sitting at the bar. The bonus is one day we got hot brownies out of the oven that they just baked off for their brownie sundaes. I just can't say enough about this place. Its not fancy schmancy inside .... but the pizza and ice cream are addictive. Pizza crust is the best in the business.

                  1. Locutus Feb 22, 2013 10:21 AM

                    You must try the Fish Tacos. They are very awesome

                    1. HungryMack Feb 22, 2013 02:46 PM

                      The Alsatian is indeed a very good pizza. Great balance of flavors with the sweetness of the caramelized onions and smokiness of the bacon. A thyme/herby flavor was prevalent just so you know. I would order it again for sure.

                      I've had a 'roni from there on 2 occasions and while it was solid and very much looked the part, it wasn't top tier pizza IMO.

                       
                      1. MC Slim JB Feb 22, 2013 03:29 PM

                        It's one of my very favorite pizzas in town. So, pizza, then ice cream.

                        And don't be put off by the servers. As good and busy as the place is, many of them are oddly standoff-ish and apparently unhappy to be there.

                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: MC Slim JB
                          m
                          mikeinboston Feb 22, 2013 06:16 PM

                          After reading this thread tonight, we thought we'd give them a call and arrange a delivery in the South End.

                          Oddly, they took the whole order and just as the call was wrapping up, the woman on the phone tossed in "we're looking at about 90 minutes to an hour and 45 minutes for delivery times right now".

                          We opted to cancel, perhaps we won't try them at prime time on a Friday in the future.

                          Wouldn't you think when someone was ordering delivery, you might lead with that exceptionally long delivery window?

                          It probably would result in a faster turn over for calls as customer could make an informed decision before making the restaurant input a whole order just to have to cancel it out.

                          1. re: mikeinboston
                            v
                            valcfield Feb 23, 2013 06:15 AM

                            that is quite odd. i suppose the two explanations (other than just being odd) are that, being so rushed, they were a bit frazzled to mention it at the beginning or, alternatively, people ordering delivery might be so used to this kind of wait that they forget their might be new people calling in who would want to know that right away.

                        2. p
                          pollystyrene Feb 23, 2013 01:16 PM

                          I wouldn't describe the atmosphere at Picco as upscale at all. It's got more of a cafeteria vibe to me, and I only go in the summer so we can sit outside.

                          Their mac & cheese is the best I've ever had. I don't like their pizza at all, though. I've found them to be dry and mostly crust--the toppings stop 2 or 3 inches from the edge. I wouldn't put their pizza in the same league as Gran Gusto or Posto. I also found their ice cream and hot fudge to be really disappointing, especially compared to Tosci's.

                          1. v
                            valcfield Feb 23, 2013 02:10 PM

                            so we did end up at picco, and had a really nice time there; it definitely was a good choice. Things i'd note (starting with the unfortunate parts)

                            1. dunno if its a time of year thing, weather, etc., but when we got there at 2pm it was packed- no line, but as a party of three we ended up waiting 10 mins for a table (there were also 3 bar stools, which we started at, but otherwise place was totally packed. all worked out, but for those looking to go in the future, definitely wouldn't cout on it being empty on a sat. afternoon (indeed, by 3pm there were a number of people waiting to sit).

                            2. no offputting server, but i was a bit annoyed that, when i asked for the check as dessert came down, it took another 20 minutes before the check arrived. this is my own pet peeve, and of course combined with increasing nervousness that we might not get my stepdad to his train on time, and, in retrospect, could have explicitly said we literally had a train to catch, but i do feel that, generally, if a customer (politely) asks for the check when you are still serving them, that's a pretty good clue that they're looking to get on out.

                            3. minor quibbles out of the way, food was all awesome. we all got split pies, including the pork belly, the alsatian, a veggie alsatian (they put mushrooms in place of bacon), some neapolitan, and the leek/ricotta/truffle.

                            alsatian was defintely my favorite; pork belly pizza was good but lacked the sort of decadent delight. truffle/leek/ricotta was the other crowd favorite, probably for similar reasons to why the alsatian is so lovely.

                            did a brown cow and toasted gingerbread (with coffee ice cream) for desserts. ice creams are nice; impressed with how light they are (also, on that note, enjoyed gingerbread for same reason).

                            i was a bit disappointed that i did not taste the fermenty/sour-y notes that other reviewers (maybe here? maybe elsewhere) have described, but otherwise enjoyed the thicker crust, which was necessary given the density of the toppings.

                            i would definitely go back, and it all worked out (if a bit luckily) for its intended purpose. many thanks to those who put out dish recs.

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