Whoa, dude, that IS a big pizza.
Hey dude. Wassup, bra? Hungry after catching those swells at Ocean Beach? It was bitchen' today, you should have been there. Even those who don't have sand in their hair and toes are making the trek to ~THE PIZZA PLACE ON NORIEGA~, a no-nonsense pizza joint just a few blocks from the beach that is shining its pizza beacon citywide. Or wait, is it a tractor beam?
As soon as you walk in, there's a long bar with sexy sandy surfers wolfing down slices and drinking pitchers of beer, a box of surf magazines in the corner, some skateboards propped up against the wall, an open kitchen with good-looking guys tossing and making pizzas. If guys aren't your thing, there are some cute and sporty women working the place, too. Nice folks all around. Music is pumping, tables are talkin', the air is wafting of bread and cheese, and with one look at the cutout of a Buick LeSabre on the back wall with rotating pizza tires (click here for the live action video), I was ready to pull on over and tuck in.
The first order of business: a pitcher o' suds. There's PBR on tap for $9 a pitcher, or you can upgrade to Trumer Pils, Sierra Nevada, Eel River Brewing Company Amber Ale, Anchor Steam, and Widmer Hefeweizen (all $15). There are also some Italian wines on the list--I didn't expect to find falanghina or nero d'Avola here, but wow, dude, there they were, right there on the list. But I'll keep the wine pairings relegated to my visits to Pizzeria Delfina--this joint says beer to me.
Once that order is in, if you're starvin' Marvin, you can start with marinated olives ($2), an order of Buffalo wings ($7 for six or $13 for 13), or if you've decided fear of carbs be damned, there are the sweet potato steak fries ($7) that a Sunset-residing friend of mine swears by. Then again, it's not a pizza party without an iceberg-lettuce salad ($4.75-$8), right? Or you can do a mixed-greens salad ($5-$8.25) or a wilted baby-spinach salad ($7). We went for the oven-roasted cauliflower ($5) with chili and small pieces of orange--it was a touch too salty, but the flavors were good.
To the main event. First, these pizzas are the biggest I've seen in town. The large is a 20-inch flying saucer that would be able to transport Paul Prudhomme on it, while mediums are a sturdy 14-inch discus. Even the slices are ginormous. I liked the hand-tossed crust--it was very East Coast in style. Thin but crispy, and substantial. Ah ha, the owners are childhood friends from Baaaahston! But they cooked at a variety of local restaurants, like Farallon, The Blue Plate, Acquerello, Globe, and fish in Sausalito before opening The Pizza Place. Got it.
There are ten pies to choose from, with mediums running from $16.50-$19.50, and larges $21.50-$27.We had a large Dimitri (sausage, pepperoni, garlic, mushrooms, tomato sauce, and cheese) on one half, and then the Rotten Robby on the other (sausage, mushrooms, feisty fresh jalapeño, pesto, tomato sauce, and cheese). I preferred the kick of the Rotten Robby, but both had perfect and even ingredient dispersal--you could taste all the ingredients in each bite. Muy importante. The tangy sauce was not shy, either.
I managed to finish one slice of each. And that was it--wave the yellow caution flag. These pizzas are hefty and mean business--if they were a person, they would be a big guy named Tiny, who lives to collect, and eat. This pie could easily feed four hungry stoners who have been harvesting all day.
This was fork-and-knife pizza, well, until I was halfway through the slice and the lip of the pizza could support the weight of the slice. HEAVY slices. The tables are set with cute vintage silverware, although my butter knife was kind of useless when facing off with this toothsome crust.
Can I tell you how happy I was to bring leftovers home, and discover a slice a few months later in my freezer when I was totally hung over? That thing warmed up like a champ. It was better than finding a twenty-dollar bill in my jeans, let me tell you.
Vegans, there's a pie here with your name on it. Well, actually, it's called Timmy's Pie, but it can be yours, too. Anyway, it comes with vegan pesto, roasted potatoes, red peppers, mushrooms, mini tomatoes, and caramelized onions.
I haven't been out here during the day, but there's a menu of grinders from noon until 4:30pm. There's a house-made meatball grinder ($6.50), an Italian grinder, plus roasted turkey, ham, or a veggie chicken version. All the meaty ones are made with Zoe's Meats, and come on Amoroso subs from Philly!
You can finish up with something sweet, like tiramisu ($5), a sundae ($5), or a root beer float ($4.50), but I really have no idea where you're going to find the room. Unless your name is Tiny, so in that case it's none of my goddamned business.
The Pizza Place on Noriega
3901 Noriega St.
Cross: 46th Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94122