Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Double Zero, my visit

It's always difficult to review a restaurant when your visit there is preceded by raves and your experience does not quite match the rapture you expected. You wonder what's wrong with you. Were my expectations too high or was I too cranky too appreciate the place and needed another visit?  So, I did visit a second time. Same mixed results.

I loved these lights
Double Zero is a very large restaurant. The staff is friendly; almost too much so. Greetings ring out the minute you walk in and servers work very hard (one even handed out cards at the end requesting we visit a web site where we could review him). The food is alternately brilliant and ho-hum. The service is slooooow. The decor looks tired but fabulous light fixtures hang over long high top tables. And all of this from the team who brought us the Iberian Pig and Sugo.

Food glorious food.  Double Zero's menu is updated, polished Southern Italian Cuisine. One look at it and I knew I wanted everything and maybe that's where my already high expectations went into fifth gear. It all sounded so wonderful and I couldn't wait to eat.

Polpettine – lamb meatballs, were the best I've ever had. The menu said sous-vide which probably account for their light as air texture with (I think) must have been a quick finishing deep fry. Very flavorful. Very Delicious with little bites of mozzarella, not-too-sweet tomato jam and dollops of basil yogurt. I could have eaten a tub of those.

Polipo – grilled octopus tasted good and chewed like gum and I honestly did not care for the melange of disparate flavors on that plate: sunchoke, pancetta, asparagus puree and a salty-lemony olive drizzle that should have popped all those flavors but did not.

L'Arrosto---photo from Marilyn Wolf's food and restaurant blog
L’Arrosto – “the roast”is a huge slab (listed under small plates!) of pork shoulder roasted to tender melt in your mouth perfection. It comes to the table in a cast iron pan floating in a puddle of fragrant pork jus. Baskets of tender pizza nuvole (bread) and small dishes of pickled vegetables, pepper jelly, roasted garlic puree, chiles, apple-almond mostarda accompany the pork. Make little sandwiches and then ask for more bread to sop up all that jus

The Napoletana pizza
Double Zero refers to the kind of flour they use in making their pizza. It is the most highly refined---the silkiest---flour you can buy. It creates the tenderest, most delicate crust and all pizzas come with scissors for cutting instead of the usual knife or wheel. It is here that my expectations crashed.

I am always looking for my ultimate pizza. Thin crispy crust with a puffed rim lightly charred from a mega hot wood fired oven. Lovely fresh tomato sauce, tender melted mozzarella, a last minute sprinkle of pecorino romano and dash of sweet basil. My mouth was ready for Double Zero perfection; it didn't arrive. The pizza was OK. It was not special. The crust was was not crisp. The edges were puffy and charred...the sauce lacked flavor. The Double Zero Napoletana pizza with arugula and Prosciutto di Parma was heavy on the green and short on the prosciutto leaving my mouth with a bitter taste. The pecorino romano was not to be found.

Pizza here is just good. It is not great. I have had better.

Double Zero Napoletana on Urbanspoon