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Bauer Digs Caputo's Pizza, As Does Kane at Del Popolo's

Plus, Anna Roth tried Iza Ramen and Luke Tsai headed to Cafe Kim Thuy.

Del Popolo
Del Popolo
Patricia Chang

“There’s always room for another great pizza,” Michael Bauer wrote this week of the SF dining scene. “And Caputo [in the Embarcadero] delivers,” he declared. The pizza has a “chewy, steamy crust pocked with black blisters from the wood-fired oven [and an] elusive texture that is both crisp and breadlike, sturdy enough to stand up to the simple toppings.” Beyond the pizza, Bauer enjoyed the “exemplary” meatballs, and “best dish of the night” steak over mashed potatoes, but not so much the “mushy, almost blubbery” braised lamb tongue. The service is good but can border on “annoying.” 2 ½ stars. [The Chron]

Peter Kane headed to the very-newly-opened Del Popolo in Nob Hill, where he warned you’ll have to wait. (“It's not the end of the world, though; Stookey's Club Moderne is up the block.”) He called the “best pizza of the lot” the winter squash one, with mascarpone, spring onions, bacon and rosemary. He didn’t love the “under-salted” bianca, but it’s saved by the “leopard-spotted crust” with “blistered air pockets” and a “chew it retains in spite of the heat.” Beyond the pizza, Kane enjoyed the hush puppies served with housemade hot sauce and honey butter (“Best to smear it all together. Trust.”) and both the broccoli and cauliflower appetizers, but was “surprised to find” that both are served cold. All in all, Del Popolo “deserves its continued popularity.”

Anna Roth wished she’d “liked the ramen more” at Iza Ramen in Lower Haight. She found the namesake ramen “much too salty, with a lingering fishy aftertaste” and not firm-enough noodles. The tsukemen “fared a little better,” with “the saltiness of the broth easier to contend with” and the noodles “springier” than the ramen ones. Roth enjoyed the small plates more, like the “moist” chicken karaage and “gooey” takiyaki, but all in all, “it’s hard to recommend a ramen restaurant when the signature ramen doesn’t give me that head-down, tunnel-vision euphoria that comes with a truly great bowl.”

Over at Cafe Kim Thuy in Oakland, Luke Tsai takes comfort in the fact that it only serves a single dish each day. “If you only plan to give Cafe Kim Thuy one shot, let it be on a Friday when the restaurant serves what is both its best and hardest-to-find dish — bun cha ca, a fish ball noodle soup that has roots in Hanoi,” he recommended. He greatly enjoyed the “slippery, spaghetti-like rice noodles,” “peppery broth,” “deep earthiness,” “herbacious freshness” and “tofu-like” fish cake. Service can be “a little haphazard” at the “small, understaffed, family-run place,” “but there's also a sincerity and a palpable warmth.”

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