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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Piccino Is Greater Than the Sum of Its Pizzas

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Piccino's semolina gnocchi with roasted vegetables and black olive sauce. - MELISSA BARNES
  • Melissa Barnes
  • Piccino's semolina gnocchi with roasted vegetables and black olive sauce.

Piccino shortly after the four-year-old restaurant's move to a giant Victorian-era stable in May, I waited four months to file this week's full-length restaurant review. Why the wait? Well, there was the matter of a self-imposed blackout. 

After last year's artisan-pizza glut (Zero Zero, Ragazza, Una Pizza Napoletana, etc.), my editor and I both burned out. No more pizza reviews for a year, he insisted, and I made it 10 months until a list of new pizzerias with good pedigrees reached critical length. Guardedly, I was allowed to begin paying visits.

Funny thing: I didn't like the pizzas at any of the new places (more on that tomorrow). Aside from the pies, though, Piccino's new chef, Rachel Silcocks, is doing very fine food in the classic Oliveto-Delfina-Nopa mold: light, vegetable-centric, naturalistic. Hers is the kind of menu seeded with the names of rare varieties of cucumbers and greens, grown by curious farmers for curious cooks, and the new Piccino is the kind of restaurant that reminds you how glorious it is to be a Californian. Take out-of-town friends to the big yellow building some early evening and see if they don't start looking for jobs on Craigslist the next day.

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Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Jonathan Kauffman


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