The 24th Street BART Station is the least rustic place in the city -- well, after 16th Street, maybe -- but Rustic Pizza is looking to change that.
The Neapolitan pizza itself, with a perfectly chewy crust able to withstand lots of greasy toppings without falling apart, is excellent. Create your own pie or stick to "basics" like the Americano (Molinari pepperoni, Genoa salami, finnochiono, mushrooms, Italian sausage, olives and green peppers) or the Roasted Portobello with caramelized shallots, pecorino romano, mozzarella, chives and truffle oil.
But it's Rustic's bocce court and redwood patio beer garden that are sure to lure people off the BART escalators immediately next door -- once they open, that is. (The restaurant does have a beer-and-wine license, though.) It's a great spot for sharing a hearty panzanella salad and some sangria, or on weekends, BBQ fare such as a whole poulet roti or rotisserie ribs. And definitely don't overlook the raquetta, a "tennis-racket shaped pizza with a stuffed handle."
Just opposite the similarly unpretentious Hungarian restaurant Paprika, this segment of 24th Street off of Valencia is becoming a dining destination in its own right, and not just a traffic bottleneck with sidewalk preachers evangelizing through bullhorns. It's not Tuscany, but if you crane your neck from the patio you might see Bernal Heights, golden-brown and practically rustic.
Rustic Pizza, 3331 24th St., (415) 800-8266.