Zero Zero is a new restaurant in San Francisco’s SOMA district by Bruce Hill. (Pizzeria Picco, Picco, Bix) The restaurant is named after “00” or doppio zero ultrafine milling flour, used in many pizzas. They feature ‘Calipolitan’ pizzas, pastas, Italian small plates, ‘two big time bars’, and organic soft serve. The focus is on farm driven ingredients and a party like atmosphere. Reservations for parties 5 or larger only, so by 6:45pm there was a wait.
Decor, Vibe – Zero Zero’s location used to house Lulu’s sister restaurant, Azie. The chopped up, multi floor layout is the same, but the place has been updated with dark woods, funky art, retro lighting, and more. The crowd was older than we thought, lots of 30’s to 50’s set. Perhaps the local 20-30 set arrives later.
Zero Zero SF’s Menu has a variety of starters from Crudo to mostly vegetable Antipasti to Salads. 5 pastas and 10 pizzas round out the menu.
Signature Dishes – Wood fired Pizza
Mojito ($9) was strong and well balanced, lots of ice, clearly they know their cocktails here. They have large $30 punch bowls that are sure to be a hit with groups.
Ricotta Stuffed Squash and Fried Squash Blossoms, cherry tomato, Brocolli Raab Pesto ($6.95) is a mass of lightly fried stuffed vegetables that even carnivores could devour quickly.
Heirloom Tomato, cucumber, pickled onion and avocado panzanella ($8.95) was a solid salad with two kinds of fresh tomatoes, bits of marinated avocado, a lite dressing, and some very nice croutons.
Nuvole, Organic Egg, Mascarpone, Mushrooms, Bacon ($12.95) is a rich twisted homemade pasta for strong bacon and egg-based sauce. This rich pasta dish was a bit on the salty side but not as bad as the Papparardelle.
Margherita Pizza – tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella, parmesan and De Padova extra virgin olive oil ($10.95) was a very thin artisan pizza with a runny center and some high quality cheese. There were a fair amount of char (‘charm’) marks on the crust, but the classic margherita flavors of the pizza were very good. Pizzas are sliced at your table side.
Fillmore Pizza – Hen of the Woods mushrooms, leeks, mozzarella, parmesan, pecorino, fontina, garlic and thyme ($15.50) was a vegetarian friendly and tomato sauce-less pizza cooked without a hint of saltiness. Lots of fresh mushrooms made this a bit chewy. Pizzas get racked on a cool multiple pizza tower.
Castro Pizza – Sopresatta, House made sausage, tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil ($13.50) was a solid pizza with also a wet middle. Tasty meats on the salty side. A bit more edge cindering on this one.
Organic Soft serve Chocolate / Vanilla Swirl ($4.95), Toffee ($0.50) and Mascapone Cheesecake ($4) had a ton of high quality, egg-based, very smooth ice cream. Even the cheesecake was top notch. Dessert costs can skyrocket with all the options, so share this large creation.
Papparardelle, Braised Pork Shoulder, Grilled Summer Squash olive pesto ($13.95) was a good sized house made pasta with excellent homemade wide noodles and tender meat. The major problem was simply the meat was too salty.
Service – Zero Zero opened not long ago, and already has decent service although the waitress overloaded as the place filled up. She was friendly and knew the dishes well. Pacing was off, as all the dishes seem to come at different times.
Value – Prices are definitely on the premium side for a trendy pizza, pasta, and cocktails place, leaving minimal room for error. It is easy to hit $40 a person for a pizza, appetizer, drink, and dessert.
Alternatives – Nearby restaurants include venerable Lulu’s, Osha Thai, Flour and Water. Pizzaiolo in Oakland, reminds me of Zero Zero, but has better food. Our favorite artisan SF Pizza places include Gialina, Pauline’s, Pizzeta 211, and Tony’s Pizza.
Verdict – Zero Zero serves up solid pizza in a energetic atmosphere, perfect for groups and parties. They could use some tuning on their pastas though. Strong cocktail list. Good sized wine list with Wines on tap from $6, by the glass from $7, by the bottle from $25.
4% San Francisco health surcharge that is not mentioned on the menu.