Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday Night Movie and a Slice

Tonight I went to see a movie at the Victoria in San Francisco's Mission District. And afterwards, I thought I'd check out the pizza at Arinell Pizza, which Michael Bauer saved as his final feature of his now-concluded Pizza Friday in the San Francisco Chronicle.

It was about 10:45 p.m. when I got to the tiny pizza spot off the corner of 16th and Valencia Streets in the heart of the neighborhood. Rock music was blasting from a little radio behind the counter where two guys were cooking and serving pizza. It totally fits in with the neighborhood vibe of tattoos and piercings, and suddenly I felt so BR (Banana Republic).

There were already a crowd ahead of me, some even ordering a full pizza to go. Wow, must be some late-night munchies going on somewhere in the neighborhood. This cash-only place makes New York-style pizza, so it's pretty simple with minimal toppings. A slice of Neapolitan pizza goes for $2.75 and the deep pan slice goes for $3. You can add toppings for an extra 50 cents for each topping, but I didn't understand how that worked for the slices because all the pizzas coming out were Neapolitans and I didn't feel like waiting for them to make one with more toppings just for me.

So I got the standard Neapolitan slice, which just came out of the oven. It's a thin crust that's just plain tomato sauce and cheese. It's so thin and big that you really do need to fold it in order to eat it, New York style. The sauce was tasty and the crust was nice and crispy with a real freshness to it.

If you're a traditionalist when it comes to pizza and you're a connoisseur of the sauce and crust, then you'll probably love the pizza at Arinell, which does come close to a New York pie. But if you're like me, who grew up adding all sorts of toppings on your pizza, then you might leave thinking, what's the big deal? You'd probably think, hmm, I could have eaten two more slices with what I got on this thin slice of pizza. And you'd probably think I wish I could wash it down with beer, and then you'd find yourself at a nearby Mission pub jockeying for a seat next to some frat boy and a screaming blond. But maybe that's just me.

Arinell Pizza, 509 Valencia, San Francisco. PH: 415.255.1303. Open daily from lunch to dinner, till midnight on the weekends.

3 comments:

Fazal Majid said...

I don't get it either. If you go a few block away, you can get excellent pizza from Delfina or Pauline's.

Chef Ben said...

I guess it's the cost mostly. I don't think you can get a slice at Delfina (although the toppings on their pizza are the things I munch for!)

foodhoe said...

ooh, I'm on a pizza thing myself. So you didn't think it was all that huh? I do love those wood-fired neopolitan crusts...