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May 6, 2014 08:50 PM

Doppio Zero in Mountain View

I stopped by Doppio Zero, the Neapolitan pizzeria in Mountain View. They've been open almost 3 months.

I really like the pizza; I ordered the Diavola: spicy sausage, basil, mozzarella:

It has a soft but springy chew. In terms of stiffness, I can't quite pick up a slice with one hand; It's between Napoletana Pizzeria in Mountain View (very wet) and Terún on Cal Ave (stiffer), and maybe a bit thinner/softer than Pizzeria Delfina in Palo Alto.

They prevent the center from getting soggy by letting the mozzarella dry out a little before adding it. The mozzarella is made in-house. After another month, they will bring over the inspectors to do the VPN certification, a 3-day process.

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  1. Nice writeup.

    My first visit, this week, of DZ was not as positive as yours. I had a Neopolitan, and the crust was stiff and unappealing. I write this off as a kitchen mis-fire, as it was at the tail end of lunch when there were few people around. I'll avoid describing the poor nature compared to everyone else you mentioned, as I really do think it was a misfire.

    Visited Delfina tonight, and had a very positive experience. Wine selection is interesting, the mussels were excellent (haven't had ones that juicy and plump in many years). The pizza I would place in the middle range, given the extreme riches we now have in the RWC/PA/MV area. I still prefer Vesta and NP generally, but atmosphere and nearness starts weighing - delfina is closest to my house, and I can imagine bailing over to Tacolicious if the wait was long. We got a funghi with hen of the woods. The crust was normal for the style, some nice char, good chew, and although we added anchovies, there was a slight lack of salt. Still, all around great, and will be a regular stop as it gets warmer and the patio becomes pleasant.

    On a Tuesday, it looks like they had a solid wait for tables most of the evening. At about 9pm, when we showed up, they had just moved to open tables.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bbulkow

      Also: here is the bottom char of the Doppio Zero pizza:

      Which is OK, but not as good as the char at Pizzeria Delfina.

    2. Thanks ssfire. I have been mentioning Doppio Zero in passing, off and on here since Feb. [links below] but had not started a separate thread. Some details follow that took a few visits to learn and are worth knowing.

      Tried a good dozen pizzas so far. Considerable range offered, even including FRESH bolete mushrooms a while back ("porcini") -- which is uncommon. As mentioned before, I find Doppio's pizzas a bit less fastidious (as well as wider in topping range) than those at Napoletana Pizzeria (the place that started this current VPN trend on the peninsula). They are similarly cooked VERY fast and hot in a WOOD-FIRED oven. A NEW wood-fired oven, despite the local "ban." Doppio was able to do it (they said) by installing high-tech exhaust scrubbing which removes the wood smoke.

      Over the range I've tried, the "soggy center" issue certainly appeared in some pizzas with wetter toppings delivered pre-sliced (as customary in US). Some pizzas have no mozzarella or even any cheese (and some are "white" -- no tomato sauce), but toppings vary widely, by pizza type, in both quantity and wetness. (Veterans of this topic know well that these pizzas weren't served sliced on their home soil, and anyone has the option of requesting them unsliced at Doppio, which de-facto eliminates the soggy center issue.) Char, too, has varied. These pies are made fast and furious, with more individual variation (within a given pizza type) than at Napoletana. A couple styles, like "Doppio Zero," have raw stuff added post-bake (arugula, prosciutto, shaved Reggiano). Best enjoyed so far: Margherita, Alberto, Doppio Zero. "Napoletana" at lunch (t-sauce, anchovies, olives, garlic, oregano) was awfully salty when we tried it.

      Pizza selection varies a tad between lunch and dinner service; "Napoletana" pizza for instance has been lunch-only, Quattro Stagione, dinner-only. Prices for identical pizzas are different too, slightly lower at lunch. A further option, locally unique to date, is the "Pizza Fritta" -- deep-fried folded pizzas (two fillings offered, on my menu copy), which the managing owners make a fuss about at every opportunity, emphasizing these are NOT calzone (which are baked and yes, Doppio offers them, too). I've tasted parts of a couple of these fried pizzas. They are proving not to all tastes -- I noticed mostly dough; a friend complained her order was quite doughy with little filling; haven't given them serious try yet though. In a venue where you're already trying to make space to try more pizzas, a deep-fried large heavy doughy bubbly monster pastry lacks any edgy appeal, but shared among say 6 people in a larger meal is probably the way to do it justice.

      Doppio (one of two former peninsula "Pasta?" sites converted to pizzerias) is run by a couple of veteran Naples expat restaurateurs (Angelo, Gianni); head pizza cook (Angelo's brother) is AVPN-trained, natch. Menu still evolving. New pizzas appearing -- e.g. seafood on squid-ink colored dough -- said to be all Naples traditions. For a while, new pizzas not on regular menu (like roast-potato) were being rotated as daily blackboard specials, but in March the restaurant went over to featuring its other (and I gather, under-utilized), non-pizza kitchen offerings in daily specials. Have tried a few non-pizza menu items but my friends and I are mainly interested in the owners' avowed emphasis -- Neapolitan style pizzas -- so we focus on those.

      7 Replies
      1. re: eatzalot

        I found less of the sogginess problem at DZ than at NP, from the few I've sampled. (More likely to be a problem in the pizzas without cheese and the Margherita.)

        All fari points! I have had the Margherita a couple of times at NP, and found that I liked the Margherita @ DZ a bit better. It wasn't quite as soggy, and was somehow a bit more flavorful. (Somehow I think we're getting way off topic, but I can't help myself...)

        At this point, I've sampled most of the pizzas at DZ, and can definitely recommend the margherita, the diavola, the doppio zero, the pizza di angelo and the pizza alberto.

        I found totally agree that their Napoletana is too salty. I found the salsiccia e friarelli to be too bland. I had part of one of the fried pizzas, and agree that it's probably best shared among a large group.

        I'd also stay away from the pescatora because it's just too much work to eat (this pizza has shellfish in the shells on the top, but there is no cheese on the pizza so the dough gets soggy and it's just too challenging to eat).

        I think the best place to sit is near the oven where you can watch them make the pizzas. It's pretty amazing how quickly they cook.

        The owners are always really friendly and welcoming. I am really happy that we're getting some quality pizza down here in the lower peninsula!

        1. re: codadicarota

          Thanks for the report, coda. Definitely it's a good time for AVPN-type pizzas around Mountain View, that we can pick and choose between competing pizzerias. Four years ago there were none on the peninsula.

          It looks like that above was your second posting so far on this board. You may have missed past discussions about the Naples AVPN group, its US restaurant affiliates, and especially, the Italian-US culture clash re sliced pizzas. I mention it, since you didn't indicate if you'd ordered DP's pizzas unsliced.

          The traditional pizza in Naples (where they originated) comes unsliced, on a plate, individual-sized, eaten with knife and fork. The US developed separate pizza traditions, slicing immediately into wedges. AVPN-type restaurants do that because US customers expect it, taking for granted that the natural way to eat a pizza is via hand-held wedges. But the prompt slicing makes wetter toppings bleed through. It's much less of an issue if you order the pizzas served more traditionally -- unsliced. Even if you cut wedges as needed, the juices have more time to settle into the pizza, less inclination to dribble onto the plate. So although not everyone in the US realizes it, it's a point under the customer's control. Italian customers at NP can often be seen eating pizzas unsliced.

          Last year, bbulkow described trying this approach (at NP):

          "Had the Napoletana and the 4 Cheese. The 4 Cheese was better than any 4 cheese like pizza before because of the pungency of the roquefort. We ordered the pizzas unsliced, and this made all the difference in the world. When we got toward the center, the "wet center" was a delight, as it was a little more oily and decadent than the edge bits, the progression from edge to point a more interesting journey.In my quick glance at 3 tables with pizza, 1 had unsliced, 2 had sliced. Order unsliced! I didn't overhear any italian spoken.We didn't attempt any of the off-menu anchovy action yet.."

          1. re: eatzalot

            Yes, I'm new to chowhound, so thanks for the pointers! It hadn't occurred to me that the act of slicing the pizza would be the thing responsible for changing the consistency, but it makes sense (and now that I think of it, every pizza I've eaten in Italy was indeed unsliced). I will ask for it unsliced next time I go.

            1. re: codadicarota

              It's not so much the act of slicing that changes the consistency, it's more how you eat it. When sliced, you at eating part of the center immediately, before it's cooled, where if you're eating edge-to-center with knife and fork, you'll get to the center later, and you'll be more forgiving of the differently melted nature.

              1. re: codadicarota

                Well, there is certainly a real effect peculiar to slicing pizzas immediately from the oven. How you choose to eat an unsliced pizza isn't the whole story, in my experience.

                I've observed this for years when baking my own pizzas, and we even experimented deliberately once or twice dining at NP, slicing the pizzas after some rest, rather than immediately.

                Liquid components are sweating out and bubbling away when the pizza emerges from the very hot wood oven. To slice immediately in that state is to maximize the chance for liquid to dribble through the slices to the plate -- yielding wet tips that people then routinely notice. This dribble factor doesn't go away abruptly, but fades as the juices re-absorb.

                Same happens with, for example, lasagnes straight from the oven (whence, classic recipe advice to let them rest 15 or 30 minutes before slicing -- juices reabsorb and the whole thing comes together).

                When getting Neapolitan pizzas unsliced, we often eat them not concentrically (as in your report, b) but cut into wedge pieces at leisure, as needed -- and routinely see much less dribble then, vs. when server cuts whole thing just seconds out of the oven. And as everyone points out, it depends on toppings. The most juicogenic pizzas I've experienced at NP had busy complex toppings, such as the "Capricciosa."

                Bottom line, these pizzas were served unsliced for most of their history, so if people (consciously or not) apply the non-Italian variation of immediate slicing, they are changing the game and their results may, naturally, differ.

                1. re: eatzalot

                  I ate at DZ last night and asked them to serve me the pizza unsliced. The waitress was curious as to why, and I was able to give her some of the rationale above. Unfortunately, they went ahead and sliced it anyway. It was still delicious, but I'll keep asking when I go and hopefully next time they'll remember!

                  1. re: codadicarota

                    A training error. Part of the issues that come with being a new restaurant. You should never have had to explain.*

                    The (numerous) Italian émigrés working at DZ -- including the bartender who took my latest order -- know exactly why people order Naples-style pizzas unsliced, AND how to convey this detail successfully to the kitchen. I've had no trouble getting them that way, albeit I've mostly encountered Italians on staff. If anything, they were gratified that someone not obviously Italian knows and respects their pizza traditions!

                    This detail is among the baggage of US pizza presuppositions that such businesses face (same reason these places deliver the pizzas presliced unless asked, though it's inauthentic -- think of all the bitching on Yelp, otherwise). Presumably that one server will learn about Naples pizzas -- until which, I'd also wonder about other details she might give to customers if they have specific q's about pizzas or other menu items.

                    *Napoletana Pizzeria for instance has many Italian-born regular customers. It isn't unusual to see multiple tables speaking Italian there. And eating unsliced pizzas.

        2. All this conversation impelled another visit to DZ (whose menu now groups pizzas by Red and White types). I consumed (I think for the first time) a "Pizza di Angelo," cousin of the "Doppio Zero" pizza sharing the post-bake arugula, shaved Prosciutto di Parma, and Reggiano, but with mushrooms and a touch of truffle oil (where the "D Z" has Burrata and EVOO). Both are "white" pizzas (no tomato) and rather dry -- no risk of dribble if delivered sliced. A point for some future "Guide to Safe Slicing."

          I'm also informed that frozen boletes ("porcini") have replaced fresh ones for now -- from seasonal necessity -- in DZ's locally unique "Alberto" pizza (with homemade mozarella, "cream of walnut," pecorino and basil) and that in both cases the restaurant has gotten them from Europe (usual Bay Area bolete sources being drought-devastated even in the season). What's impressive is that this restaurant insists on not substituting dried porcini, which makes perfect sense if you've eaten / cooked both; the dried product, while very useful, is a different animal, both radically in texture, and in its semi-artificially-acquired "smoky" flavor. I only tried this Alberto pizza once, in DZ's first few weeks; I found it rich, with the various fatty ingredients -- a pizza to share around -- yet this particular wild mushroom fan delights at finding such a pizza in this region at all, and I'd travel to DZ just for it.

          1. Tried Doppio Zero for the first time today. had the Margherita and the Pescatore. Thought te pies were not as good relative to Napoletana Pizzeria's in Mountain View. The flavors were somewhat unbalanced for both of them. they used a similar tomato base- more salty and not very fragrant. the crust was a bit bland and bread like. I like the Naploetana crust better because even without sauce and topping their crust tastes great. The shrimp in the seafood pizza was mushy.

            Overall, my personal pizza ranking of the area is Napoletana > Delfina/ Howie's > Doppio Zero/ Terun.

            3 Replies
            1. re: ckshen

              How about Vesta in RWC, or is that too far north?

              I'm a huge fan of Vesta, I think they put together the non-traditional and fun toppings with a very solid crust almost worth of Napoletana (although more in the Delfina range).

              I also like that Vesta made such an effort to make their room quiet. I bet it was both expensive and cut down on profits a little because people linger, but that's how they roll.

              We eat a fair amount at Howies, due to location, it's always got a spot for us, and parking's manageable. Vesta is full most times we're there, and seems full all the way to 9pm. I asked last time I was there about later hours, the manager shrugged and said he can't get the staff to stay later. Don't know if that was true or an excuse, but he's certainly got enough business to stay open till 10:30.

              I agree about Napoletana being at the top.

              1. re: bbulkow

                Have you tried Howie's's recent expansion location in Redwood City yet? I just posted a link to a story:

                1. re: bbulkow

                  Oh yes I totally forgot about Vesta when I shouldn't! I like them. I haven't been for a couple of years. I probably like them slightly more than Pizzeria Delfina. With Napoletana much closer to me though, it becomes my automatic choice when it comes to pizza

              2. I tried it last week for the first time. Salad was fine though it was hard to find the promised hearts of palm. There were maybe three broken pieces. It did have lots of cheese, perhaps too much.

                We shared the pizza diavola and asked for it unsliced. This might have been the last order of the night. Maybe the oven had cooled down already and not been restoked, as our pizza was pretty evenly colored with little char and minimal spotting. The tomato sauce seemed a bit jammy and almost sweet. Salami bits were crispy and distributed unevenly. I concur that the crust had little character, still it was easy to eat with a fork and knife. The house bread was tastier. This seemed like a half-hearted effort to me.