Jersey, looking toward the front of the restaurant. © tablehopper.com.
The Little Italy pizza at Jersey.
The Jersey chopped salad.
Last week I had a chance to attend a friends and family test dinner for ~JERSEY~, the new Italian joint from Mitchell and Steven Rosenthal (Town Hall, Salt House, Anchor & Hope, La Capra). The brothers were Jersey boys, and so while pizza is an important part of the menu, you’ll also find pastas, roast chicken, and more. The chef is Ramona Rillo, who started as a line cook at Town Hall and then was a sous at Salt House.
Starters on the lunch menu include ‘nduja and ricotta on crostini, a fun Jersey chopped salad (complete with salami, provolone, and peperoncini) plus three other salads, and ahi tuna arancini. The dinner menu expands to include a beef carpaccio (they’re using tri-tip from Snake River Farms) topped with fried artichoke and a creamy confit of garlic and anchovy sauce, and meatballs on crostini with tomato sauce and fontina-jalapeño béchamel. Yeah, they’re having some fun.
For lunch, there’s a meatball sandwich, chicken Parm, a Jersey burger (with provolone and pancetta), and you gotta click the menu and check out the Goodfellas sandwich ($13-$15). There are also a couple of pasta dishes: bucatini and clams in red sauce ($10/$17), and pappardelle with guanciale Bolognese ($11/$18) and broccoli di ciccio (nighttime brings gnocchi and squid ink linguine with linguiça).
As for the pizza, there are two kinds. The Jersey style comes in a 14-inch size, and the crust is just soft and elastic enough, with a developed flavor from the long proof they’re doing. (Mitch says the pizza started as a hobby years ago, and his starter is at least six years old.) There’s a Trenton tomato pie, a meaty New Yorker, and we tried the Little Italy, with soppressata picante from Zoe’s, mozzarella, provolone, and a delicious tomato sauce (ranging from $16.50-$19). You can also try the California-style pizza, which is 12 inches and cooked in a hotter oven; there’s a margherita, an asparagus pizza, and a bianca ($14-$16).
Larger dinnertime entrées include roast pork ($23) and a diavola chicken ($19) with toasted bread salad. You’ll also find an easy-to-navigate wine list, full of Italian selections and some Cali picks too, with 15 by the glass. The beer selection is no slouch either, with nine on draught, like Drake’s nitro stout, Fort Point’s Manzanita altbier, and Ballast Point Longfin Lager.
The space (by Sagan Piechota Architecture) was formerly the Toaster Oven, which you won’t even recognize. Now it has a clean and classic industrial-chic look, with exposed brick walls, a long bar (plus counter seating at the front window), dark wainscoting, and an open kitchen in the back, with a punch of Prussian blue on the wall and yet another counter facing the pizza oven.
Reservations accepted. Hours are lunch Mon-Fri 11am-2pm; a limited menu between 2pm-5pm; dinner Mon-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm. 145 2nd St. at Mission, 415-912-1502.