When he put Zero Zero in the old Azie spot in SoMa, Bruce Hill fearlessly entered the over-crowded Neapolitan pizza realm. But with long-standing favorites Bix and Larkspur's Pizzeria Picco under his belt, it's clear the man knows what he's doing. And as he astutely noted to 7x7 prior to opening, "when was the last time you've seen a pizza place close?" Even so, he's managed to infuse novelty into the crowd-pleasing pizza and cocktail formula Beretta introduced years ago. A quirkily muraled interior and innovative choose-your-own-adventure dessert menu provide intrigue you won't find elsewhere. We're officially just past the six week mark on this one, so, without further ado, it's time to turn things over to the professional and amateur opinion-makers out there. To the blogs!
The Good News: Ms. Unterman filed a review a bit ago, which is good news in and of itself. Here's a highlight: "You can eat well for $25 a person, which includes a $6 glass of pretty, Viansa barbera, a miracle for such a fun and stylish meal...Far from superfluous, Zero Zero has the scope, location and quality to become an enduring culinary institution." Tasting Table would advise: "As stunning as the pizzas are, don't forgo the small plates. Bruschette ($3.50 each) include a peerless heirloom tomato version with pecorino. The city's gone clucky for fried chicken, and Zero Zero's fried thighs ($10) with translucent basil leaves and caraway yogurt sends the dish on a Mediterranean tear." [Examiner, Tasting Table]
The Vibe News: Virginia Miller found The Perfect Spot inside: "Though it’s noisy everywhere, the vibe is more grown-up upstairs under a fabulously creepy mural of food and Pinocchio (look for it!) Here I was energized by that festive spirit once again." One OpenTabler had some not-so-positive additions: "Not fan of location, Interior rather stark, seating not comfy," whilst this reviewer is all about it: "From the warm greeting upon our arrival, to the friendly and attentive service provided by Jennifer and her team, we truly enjoyed our dining experience. The restaurant had a modern and very comfortable ambiance." [Perfect Spot, Open Table]
The Pizza News: Ms. Miller notes some (minor?) pizza issues: "And Zero Zero’s are fun (if sometimes bordering on soggy), rounds of blistered crusts and heartwarming toppings....I prefer the simple, oozing goodness of Margherita Extra ($13.95) with buffalo mozzarella, Parmesan, basil, De Padova olive oil and tomato sauce." Patricia Unterman seems to agree: The margherita extra ($13.95), a classic Neâpolitan pizza, has a crisp, if elastic, crust, painted with basil-infused tomato puree, puddles of buffalo mozzarella and the gleam of olive oil. Perfection. [Perfect Spot, Examiner]
The Cocktail News: Though most of The Perfect Spot review is positive, "One big misstep for me in these initial two visits has been the cocktails. I’ve tasted four and all but one came off watered-down and lacking flavor....I actually considered sending these drinks back. But the complaint of “not being strong enough” never comes off well, even if it was true over both visits." Meanwhile FoodNut seems to like the booze: "Mojito ($9) was strong and well balanced, lots of ice, clearly they know their cocktails here. They have large $30 punch bowls that are sure to be a hit with groups." [Perfect Spot, FoodNut]
The Soft Serve News: Ms. Unterman would say it's not-to-be-missed: "No matter what, save room for dessert, a bowl of vanilla Straus soft serve ($4.95) either sprinkled with flaky sea salt and citrusy Da Vero olive oil ($1); or with diced strawberries and aged balsamic ($1). Both are revelatory." FoodNut would add: "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." [Examiner, FoodNut]
The Bad News: Chowhound's margieco has this: "Went back a week or so later and had a large selection of dishes which left me a bit underwhelmed...I'd happily return to Zero Zero for ice cream, but I'd go to Tony's for the perfect pizza." And sadly, rene H. says, "The service has been consistently irritating and just plain bad. I realize they have just opened, but by month-number-two, I would expect them to have some of the basics ironed out. We waited forever and ever. [Chowhound, Yelp]
The $$ News: From FoodNut: 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. Yelper Mary T. says, "The ingredients were all fresh and tasty and the four of us left feeling very full and very happy. Can't complain about the price, either- $40 each for a 4 course dinner and cocktails and wine? Hard to beat." [FoodNut, Yelp]
The Panuozzo News: SFoodie braves the platter-size Italian sandwich: "A turn on the flattop leaves the cheeses semi-molten; house-made aioli and cherry pepper relish turn the thing into a garlic-breathing office hazard. And unless you spent the morning harvesting a grape vineyard, it's unlikely you'll be able to finish a panouzzo all by yourself." [SFoodie]
Well that was a broad spectrum of feedback now wasn't it? As always, we're on the edge of our seats (not proverbially) awaiting your additions here in the comments or over the ever-ready EaterWire. Give a dog a bone.
Zero Zero. [Photo: Zagat]