Zero Zero (‘00’) in SOMA is named after the finely ground flour typically used for Neapolitan style pizzas. Owner-Chef Bruce Hill, the Executive Chef and co-owner of Bix (SF) and Larkspur’s Picco and Pizzeria Picco, opened ‘00’ about 2.5 years ago in the former Azie space. With reasonably priced California-Italian food and a great bar program, it remains just as busy today as the first day they opened.
We started with a Garibaldi Spritz (Beefeater Gin, Campari, Lemon, Blood Orange Soda) and Twin Peaks (Blade Gin, Cocchi Americano, St. Germaine, R&W Violette) cocktails to jump start our appetites:
Arancini, typically a Southern Italian dish of fried breadcrumb-coated rice balls, were stuffed with soft Taleggio cheese, typically from Northern Italy. They came topped with arugula, and sat atop a tasty black garlic aioli for dipping to add extra flavor:
The Taleggio cheese perfectly contained inside the Arancini was mildly pungent and deliciously melted:
We would normally order the pan fried chicken thighs as an appetizer, but the slow cooked pork belly on the menu caught our eye. We thoroughly enjoyed the pork served with Roman-style gnocchi, crispy broccoli, Parmesan cheese, sous-vide egg and a spicy harissa dip. The server instructed us “to get as much of the ingredients of this de-constructed dish in one bite to get the full effect.” It was hard to follow instructions since there was so much going on (all great) with this appetizer:
Chef Hill states that ‘00’ makes “Calipolitan” pizzas. Using the same basic dough made with type 00 flour as Neopolitan pizzas, the pizzas here are cooked for slightly more than the typical 90 seconds (but less than 2 minutes) for a crispier crust. We opted to go with the Manila clam and bacon ‘Geary’ pizza that came spiced up with some Calabrian chile. We may have missed out on their hand-pulled mozzarella with this choice, but the pizza was packed with lots of the tasty mollusks and bacon:
We drank a white Fiano de Avellino from Campagna to pair with the rest of the meal. With just a hint of sweetness on the finish, it balanced well with the fried items and the seafood pizza:
With 2 bars in the restaurant, the main one downstairs and a smaller one upstairs, the focus is to drink cocktails with their food. They even offer a Pimm’s Cup punchbowl service, recommended for 4 or more, but we have finished it with fewer people.
One thing we noticed in Italy is that there are great Bar Cafés to get a pre- or post-dinner cocktail, but the option of an aperitivo beyond bubbly or white wine is pretty rare at the restaurant. So it was nice to return to the City where an option of a cocktail to whet our appetites prior to our meal is the norm at many restaurants.