The good news – we’ve discovered the best new pizza in San Francisco.
The bad news – now that we’re telling the world, not a one of us will be able to get in to the cozy 16-seat (interior) boite known as Piccino, Italian for “tiny.” Which this place most certainly is.
The pixie pizza perfectionist behind Piccino is Sheryl Rogat, 41, who formerly worked, among other places, at Pizzetta 211, which, until now has been one of our favorite pizza hangouts in the city.
But wanting to set out on her own, instead of being an employee all her life, Sheryl partnered with Margherita Stewart-Sagan (always a good idea to have a Margherita on your pizza menu – and one in the office, too!), rented space and opened a place of her own.
The line-up of seven pizzas changes every three weeks. Ingredients are wholesome, fresh and did I mention – helluva tasty.
The crusts are thin as a cracker, perfectly baked. They exude flavor, warmth and care. The toppings are alluring, not in the least oily (Molto Mario Battali – take a lesson!) and I was SO into the nettle, roasted garlic, mozzarella and fresh ricotta pizza that I was already trying to figure out when we could get back to Piccino for another visit – and we weren’t even half-way through our nettle melt.
Favorite New Pizza
There is pleasure in the nettle pizza that is both textural and sensual. It has deep roasted garlic notes, spiffy, spicy top notes of red chili, and then there’s this green-y taste, nettle-y thing, that dances on the middle palate. Sort of like a complex wine that doesn’t stop gifting your senses. Except that with the pizza, there’s also a textural crunch/chew that is as wonderful as the topping tastes.
The other pizza we tried (and loved) is “boring old Margherita,” which at Piccino is anything but boring. Or old. I love the way Sheryl has added a dusting of marjoram to the tomato sauce; it dances on the palate, gives depth to what is often just a “plain sauced” pizza.
Like the nettle pizza, this one has a purity of flavor that transcends what you normally expect in a “pizza parlor.”
The beer list is short – two brew, each at $4. We tried, and loved, the offering from Sonoma County Ales; their hand-brewed, Bear Republic Racer 5 India Pale Ale, which hales from Healdsburg, makes your mouth happy. ‘Nuf said.
Parking in Dogpatch, the neighborhood, is a pain in the ass, to put it bluntly. If you tell someone you’re going to meet them at Piccino and you’re driving – leave today for tomorrow’s rendezvous because it just may take that long to find a parking spot.
While Piccino is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, even with hours as long as 7 am to 9 pm a few days of the week, WHAT HAPPENS TO US WHEN WE GET A PIZZA URGE AT 11 PM ANY NIGHT OF THE WEEK, HUH? Sheryl, if you really cared about us, you’d open the first 24-hour pizzeria to satisfy our nocturnal cravings.
Piccino is at 801 22nd St., in “Dogpatch, San Francisco. Tel: 415-824-4224. No reservations. No parking. No valet. No worries – you’re still going to want to go!