If this was a high school yearbook, SOMA spot Zero Zero would get my vote for Best All-Around. Because it was the first meal I've had in a long time where every single component - from drinks to dessert - were all equally enjoyable. (This can be hard to do.) This is the place for an all-around great time.
It starts with points for the name, which is a nod to the Neapolitan flour used for hundreds of years in pizza shops in Naples. (I confess that I never put “Neapolitan” and “…of Naples” together before. All this time I thought it just meant vanilla, chocolate and strawberry).
First up - drinks. I might’ve mentioned my current love for yuzu before, and while my heart still belongs to the the White Lily at Morimoto, I have to say Zero Zero’s Yuzu Sidecar might actually come in second. It was so delicious I actually ordered two (a rarity for me) after I sucked down the first in seconds.
I was happy to have come with friends as I got to share and sample a lot of things. The arugula salad was chewy and slightly bitter in a good way, with a sweetness from sliced strawberries, a tang from the lemony vinaigrette and a crunch of marcona almonds.
The pizza was light and blistery with the right touch of smoke from the wood burning oven, and made the perfect foundation for the sauce and cheese. I love that everything was complementary but still distinct – the slight saltiness of the crust, the tartness of the tomato sauce, the butteryness of the cheese and the nice bite of the fennel-spiced sausage.
And I was maybe even more impressed with the pasta, a cous cous-looking dish that had Dungeness crab, breadcrumbs, lemon and what I think might have been saffron. It was comforting and addicting. The little pearls of pasta were full of flavor and fun to eat.
Then the table is cleared and the server brings a checklist and pencils, signaling it's time for dessert. You start with a serving of chocolate, vanilla or swirl Strauss Dairy soft serve and can add all the toppings/accoutrements you’d like - which can include everything from warm housemade doughnuts to cocoa nibs to olive oil and sea salt.
The beauty of winning Best All Around is that it means a good meal no matter how you slice it. The hard part is trying to pick out what the best part is. Thinking back, I still can't really answer that question. And I look forward to many more Zero Zero visits to figure it out.