Earlier this year, I reported on the upcoming NOON ALL DAY project opening in Dogpatch from the Piccino team (owners Margherita Stewart Sagan and Sher Rogat and director of operations Kerry Glancy), and now it’s time to look around, because they are officially opening their doors on Monday December 18th (although they are soft open now)! (Fun fact: Piccino first opened on December 18th in 2006, so that’s pretty darn special.)
The sunny space features an all-day menu, perfect for breakfast on the go or if you want to grab a table, all the way to lunch and early dinner. Chef Carlo Espinas, who was the original chef at the very first, teeny tiny Piccino, has created a menu that is very flexible, whether you want to graze or have a more substantial plate, or perhaps some bites to go with your wine; the vegetable-centric menu also has plenty of meaty add-ons. His dishes hit notes of Mediterranean flavors, with Cali seasonality, some Italian lineage, and a little bit of Asian flair thrown in there too. Their beautiful vegetables are coming from their own little but mighty farm up in Healdsburg, which is also supplying Piccino.
The salads are well thought out and satisfying, from a kale salad ($12) with radish, yuba, tahini, and togarashi to a perfect fall-winter salad with braised squash ($10), golden beets, ginger, Medjool dates, sunflower seed brittle, and pomegranate. You can easily add a poached egg ($3), or maybe you want half an avocado ($4), and then there’s the braised Stemple beef, with sauerkraut, baby turnips, and caramelized onion ($9).
There are some delightfully homey dishes, like the chicken soup stracciatella ($9) with nettles and whisked egg (it’s Margherita’s recipe), which you’re going to want delivered to you the next time you’re sick, trust me. The braised butter beans on toast ($13) was everything I want on a chilly or rainy day, with sautéed greens, fermented chile, and a poached egg.
Sandwiches feature beautiful sesame bread from Pain Bakery (like a glorious grilled cheese with Fontina, nettles, and sauerkraut), and there are pocket sandwiches made with pizza dough from Piccino, perfect for holding the Piccino meatballs ($14) with crushed tomato and Grana Padano. If you’re a fan of bitter greens, the Noon style ($12) comes with a poached egg you break inside the pocket and have it meld with the greens and curtido (and a little zip of chile oil).
I can also see myself coming up with excuses to head over for a glass of wine so I could eat the Scotch olives ($6), diabolically delicious fried and stuffed Castelvetranos with housemade sausage and fromage blanc inside, with crushed tomato sauce you dunk them into. Gah! So good. There are cauliflower potato fritters ($5) that are fluffy and crunchy and magically gluten-free (they’re made with potato flour and flakes). And hummus gets a serious upgrade with their kabocha squash version ($11). It’s love.
The team definitely wanted to cater to the neighborhood, which includes the many doctors, residents, patients, and visitors to the nearby UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital—whether you’re a nurse getting off work in the morning, or visiting a patient and want to bring them some food, or you just happen to be hungry at 3pm and craving meatballs, you are set. Everything is designed to be portable (and to hold up too).
And we haven’t even ambled over to the pastry case! Pastry chef Sarah Hipwell (who is also running the show over at Piccino—she started in July of this year) is doing some serious magic. Her background spans Lucques in L.A., Birch and Barley in Washington, D.C., four-plus years at Lafayette in New York, and she is very inspired by the work she has done on organic farms, from Australia to Hawaii. She likes to use all natural colors, so the purple you see in her stunning taro-coconut danish is from taro root powder.
Bring on the laminated dough! You’ll want to make your way through the case and come back each morning, for the kimchi danish with Fontina cheese (so good) to the Holy Mole with an egg in the center and Fontina cheese to the charcoal mushroom danish with goat cheese filling. Plus a seasonal danish with a ricotta filling, currently topped with paper-thin zucchini.
For dessert, there’s a spiced chocolate mousse verrine with cinnamon cream, Earl Grey cake, Straus vanilla soft-serve with toppings, and a wicked cookie made with Valrhona Dulcey chocolate that has a marvelous cakey texture. You’ll find a full lineup of coffee and espresso drinks, courtesy of Sightglass Coffee.
The light-filled space is full of windows and sliding doors, with 24 seats inside and up to 52 outside. There is a sunny patio which flanks the Dogpatch Arts Plaza, a dead-end street converted into an arts-focused public pedestrian plaza (at 19th and Indiana) by Build Public, a local nonprofit committed to designing and developing more public spaces. Noon All Day is also just across from Esprit Park, so you can grab a bench when the weather is nice and enjoy your coffee while watching dogs run around.
There are seven taps, with beer and wine, from local brewers like Harmonic Brewing, and there is a special pinot noir from Tatomer that is their own—there will be some half bottles of wine and bubbles too.
The space is just 1,100 square feet and is bright and airy, and even though the room is full of windows, the design by Sagan Piechota Architecture is warm and welcoming. The tables and counter are made by Sea Level Woodworks, from an Austrian oak used throughout (also on the slatted ceiling), and there is some Carrara marble too (they even chose their slab!). The herringbone floor in black and white concrete tile is lively and electric and works well with the modern, Edison-inspired suspended bulbs that feature laser-cut glass, with LEDs inside. The look made me feel like I was in Milano—zippy and chic.
It’s a fine-casual experience, and a concierge at the entrance will manage the line and facilitate your order. Food will be brought to your table via food runners and some groovy technology (no table signs here). There will also be delivery on Caviar soon. Hours will be Mon-Fri 7am-8pm, and Sat-Sun will be coming soon. (If you want to work at Noon All Day, here’s their ad!) 690 Indiana St. at 19th St.
The Carrara marble case at Noon All Day will have plenty to tempt you. All photos: © tablehopper.com.