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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hot Meal: Pizza, Beer, and a Whiff of the Familiar at Delarosa

Posted By on Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 4:21 PM

Delarosa's arugula pizza: The crust is said to be Roman style. - C. ALBURGER
  • C. Alburger
  • Delarosa's arugula pizza: The crust is said to be Roman style.
Over the past four months, the folks behind the Mission's magnetic Beretta (Ruggero Gadaldi, Deborah Blum, and Adriano Paganini) have tripled their presence in San Francisco. First it was Starbelly in the Castro, and late last month came Delarosa, with its gently mod décor, in the Marina.

click to enlarge Scallop spiedini: Almost there. - C. ALBURGER
  • C. Alburger
  • Scallop spiedini: Almost there.
The Beretta faithful will find similarly sharable Italian plates and carefully made cocktails, though the pizza here is purportedly Roman style, and Starbelly cicerone Rich Higgins has added 30 draft and bottled beers to Delarosa's mix.

We needed one right away to take the edge off the crowd roar and cramped communal seating. Next time we'll wheedle into one of the relatively private two- or four-tops in the 100-seat dining room. Our neighbors were close enough to smell our order of wilted winter chicories and cauliflower ($6), brought to life with crumbly hazelnuts and sweet balsamic. A less impressive sliced chicken sausage ($7) mingled with halved red grapes in a bowl. Its side of homemade mustard helped, but not enough.

Here, the crust on Gadaldi's pizza lacks the endearing sporadic char of its Mission doppelgänger, but may make up for it with a more evenly dispersed crust ― thinner, un-bubbly edges apparently make for a less limp center. We enjoyed the hot kick of fennel sausage and the peppery bite of arugula as toppings. Spiedini of tender scallops ($15), with sliced potato and a scattering of blood oranges was almost there. The fish needed salt, and the buttery nature of the dish cried out for more of the citrus's sweet acidity. Maybe next time the kitchen will have ironed this out.

With optional booze baths for most desserts, there's fun to be had at meal's end. Though moscato grappa ($3) drowned out the delicacy of yogurt gelato, lemon curd, and warm berries ($7), we'll hedge our bets anytime with apple pie with vanilla gelato, crème anglaise, and spiced caramel sauce ($7), bathed in walnut liquer ($3). Like we said, next time.

Delarosa 2175 Chestnut (at Pierce), 673-7100

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Carolyn Alburger


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