Author Topic: A16 in San Francisco  (Read 3242 times)

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Offline Tom Grim

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A16 in San Francisco
« on: March 05, 2005, 10:44:22 AM »
    I visited San Francisco and had some fine pizza.  I would say world class.  It was similar to Uno Pizza Napoletano in NY.  Wood fired oven, perfect pufffy and soft, yet crisp crust, simple uncooked tomato sauce, good fresh Motz, (but not Buffalo Motz).   This place is trendy,busy and hard to get inot.  They had other food, but  most people ordered pizza.  We sat at the 'chefs counter' and watched pizzas being made.  The dough was very wet.  The pizza maker patted it mostly, with a little toss in the air at the end.
    Uno Pizza in NY had a smoky tasting crust.  I have had several wood fired oven pizzas and Uno is the only one to have a distinctive smoky taste.  I cannot figure out why.


Offline friz78

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Re: A16 in San Francisco
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2005, 08:41:08 PM »
Tom,
I headed to San Francisco this week on business and, before leaving, referenced the forum for any recommendations on where to get good pizza in SF.  I can't thank you enough for your post on "A16".  Based on your feedback, I decided to give it a try and to say I was pleased would be a total understatement!  When you referred to the pizza at A16 as "world class" you were not lying.  Christoff Hill, owner and master pizzaola of A16, produced the finest pizza that I have tasted anywhere, including any NYC restaurant.  Better yet, it was unbelievable to have the opportunity to watch this great pizzaiola make pizzas right in front of me and then spend over an hour picking his brain on how to re-create the A16 pizza at home.  This was the finest overall pizza experience I have had in my entire life.  I now look forward to setting out to re-create the A16 crust at home.  My notes from the visit to the restaurant are extensive so I should have a great head start on things.  Thanks again for a fabulous recommendation, as I believe it is the finest pizza made anywhere in America at this time.  I will now start the re-engineering process on a new thread in "recipes and techniques" within this forum.
Friz

Online Pete-zza

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Re: A16 in San Francisco
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2005, 09:16:37 PM »
Friz,

I'm willing to bet that your passion about pizzas was instrumental in being able to spend the quality time with the pizzaiolo at A16. My experience is that pizzaioli have little opportunity to carry on serious discussions with anyone about their craft, especially with someone with your level of skill and knowledge about pizza making, but that when the opportunity does arise they are most generous in sharing their knowledge and experiences. Sometimes it's almost hard to stop them once they get going.

If I can be of any help in your reverse engineering efforts, please let me know. I'd like to think that we all learned a lot, both good and bad, from the forum's efforts to reverse engineer the Patsy's and DiFara's doughs. At least, several pretty good dough recipes came out of those efforts.

Peter

Offline friz78

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Re: A16 in San Francisco
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2005, 12:03:03 AM »
Pete,
Thanks for the kind note and I am indeed looking forward to your expertise and insight in our latest "re-engineering" opportunity.  I am especially excited for your leadership and input because the number 1 starting point for an A16 pizza is exclusive use of CAPUTO PIZZERIA 00 FLOUR.  I will elaborate in much greater detail in a subsequent post tomorrow.  Suffice it to say though, that Christophe Hille is an expert in Neapolitan pizza making and, more specifically, the use of Caputo 00 flour.  I think you will find his techniques and insight very interesting.  More to come tomorrow.  In the meantime, here is a link to the A16 website:   http://www.a16sf.com/Home.html

Here is a quote from a recent newspaper review of A16:   "Concentrating on the region of Campania, chef Christophe Hille studied to be a certified pizzaiolo; the manual on how to produce the thin, blistered crust is more than 40 pages long."

Offline scott r

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Re: A16 in San Francisco
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2005, 03:23:03 AM »
I was checking out some of the articles written about a16 and found some serious recipes for stuff other than pizza.  Thanks for the link!  That meatball with green peppercorn sauce looks amazing.

Offline friz78

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Re: A16 in San Francisco
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2005, 09:18:20 AM »
Scott,
Glad you enjoyed the link.  A16 is truly and amazing restaurant and, while I was primarily focused on the authentic neapolitan pizza making process, it was abundantly clear that all the food at this restaurant is first rate in every way.  In addition to watching certifiec Neapolitan pizzaoli prepare and discuss pizza, I was also watching homemade pasta being made, rolled, and run through a pasta press.  The open kitchen is truly an amazing sight.  I didn't realize there were recipes on the review section from the restaurant.  If you have any other specific links for the recipe you referenced earlier, please share it with us!

This promises to be the funnest and most rewarding re-engineering effort to date.  I can't wait to get started.  Here's another little write-up on Chef Hille and his expertise as a pizzaolo and the art of Neapolitan pizza:

"At A16, the 31-year-old Hille is off to a very promising start. He's worked at high-end San Francisco restaurants such as Campton Place and Charles Nob Hill, has studied and worked in France, and spent five months in Campania cooking and immersing himself in the cuisine. He was even certified as a pizzaiolo by the Vera Pizza Napoletana Association, where the art of pizza making is detailed in 40-plus-page manual. Only a few establishments in the United States have sent people to complete the training; in the Bay Area, the only one I know of is Cafe Niebaum-Coppola in Palo Alto."


Offline scott r

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Re: A16 in San Francisco
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2005, 02:46:49 AM »
My experience at a16 was much different than expected.   The pizza crust was really nothing at all like what I had while visiting Naples Italy this summer.  I am actually a little shocked that they bill the place as having authentic Neapolitan style pies.  Although very thin, the crust was much heavier and denser than the pizza in Naples.  I couldn't help but wonder if they had accidentally used a dough ball for my pizza that was past it's prime.  I looked around the pizzeria and noticed that every single table that had ordered pizza (about 1/2 the restaraunt) had  not eaten their crust.  That is not a good sign!  I can't remember seeing a single piece of crust left uneaten at any pizzeria in Naples, or even in New York at Una Pizza Napoletanna for that matter. 

One good thing about the pizza was the toppings.  The sauce was really really good.  It was applied heavier than it would be in Naples, but I did not mind.  It covered up the bland heavy crust and enabled me to at least enjoy the pizza somewhat.  The cheese seemed fresh and had good flavor.  Unfortunately the quality of a Neapolitan pie is almost totally dependant on the crust.  If this place would get a hotter oven and better dough management it could be something really special.  Unfortunately I walked away feeling like A16 is the kind of place that uses a fridge retarded dough so that the chef doesn't have to deal with making it on a daily basis.

I also split a 1/2 order of gnocchi, an Italian potato based pasta.  The gnocchi were obviously home made and were in a really simple sauce that tasted like sauteed (then removed) onions, butter, and olive oil with a splash of chicken stock.  This was the only thing about the meal that was anything special.

I had a side dish of olives that were not even as good as what I find in the olive bar of my local grocery store.

I had a cod fillet that honestly had twice the salt of anything I have ever been served in my life.  This dish was obviously a mistake.  I was picturing the chef slipping on something as he was adding the salt to the dish.  This is coming from a guy who is often accused of being an over salter when I cook!  I have never put 1/2 this much salt on anything in my life. 

In the end one tasty dish out of four is not good enough to get me to ever try this place again. My apologies go out to anyone who really likes A16.  I guess I could try it again and I might have a great pie.  I have a feeling I got there on a really bad day.

Offline David

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Re: A16 in San Francisco
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2006, 10:22:27 AM »
Happy New Year Scott and all!Did you get a chance to check out any other places Scott?Opinions?
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market

Offline scott r

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Re: A16 in San Francisco
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2006, 01:10:22 AM »
Hi David, thanks for the New Years greeting!

I was only able to get to a few pizzerias while visiting the San Francisco area.  I checked out Round Table which was very good for a chain. I tried Fat Slice on Height St. which had a very thick tasty crust and quality cheese, but unfortunately the slice I tried had almost no sauce on it.  I also tried another place right on Height street but I forget the name.  It was a very authentic NY style joint that really made me think I was eating street pizza in Manhattan.

I tried to get into Pizzaiolo in Oakland.  This is a sit down Neapolitan style pizzeria and it was packed.  The wait was too long so I had to eat next door.  I was with a group of friends or I would have waited for sure, as the pizzas looked tremendous.  The owner was the head pizza chef at the famous restaraunt Chez Paniz for many years before branching out to open this pizzeria.  I noticed that everybody was eating their crust at this establishment! The pies looked more like what I saw in Naples than the A16 pies.  I would suggest trying this place if you live in the area, just a hunch, but I think it probably rocks.

« Last Edit: January 02, 2006, 01:14:40 AM by scott r »


 

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