Doppio Zero: Authentic Naples pizza comes to Castro St.
Original post made by Max Hauser, Old Mountain View, on Feb 17, 2014
I've seen the future of pizza in downtown MV, and it's tasty.
Doppio Zero opened last Thursday in the former "Pasta?" space, 160 Castro. Some personnel carried over from Pasta?, but this is a totally different restaurant, re-built even to the kitchen.
Doppio Zero (i.e., 00) specializes in true-Neapolitan pizzas, just like the existing Napoletana Pizzeria on El Camino, under strict rules of L'Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN) in Naples:
If you like Napoletana's pizzas, you'll like 00's. True-Neapolitan pizzas use house-made or classic Italian ingredients, have only traditional toppings (no American inventions like pepperoni), come in one size (12-13" across), are cooked very quickly like 1-2 minutes, and in Italy, aren't served sliced (another American idea), though US AVPN pizzerias often slice them. (Leading sometimes to the wetter toppings dribbling through the center, and to customers, including professional critics, who don't understand this situation complaining about "wet centers" -- the solution to which is simply to order the pizza unsliced, per tradition.)
If you're picky, give Doppio time to tune its operations; the place just opened. However, pizzas I've already tasted there needed no tuning. Managing partner Angelo told me that Doppio's head pizza cook (Angelo's brother) has done this 20 years already, in Naples. At Doppio, Italian is spoken -- all the senior people seem to be from there. (The new-restaurant quirks have more to do with things like credit-card system failing.)
Remarkably, Doppio has NEW wood-fired oven -- which are otherwise banned (Napoletana got its wood oven from an existing restaurant). Doppio got the permit, I'm told, thanks to a special exhaust scrubber that avoids emitting wood smoke.
Pizza menu only partly overlaps Napoletana's. The Margherita pizza I tried could almost have come from Napoletana (I give Napoletana an edge for perfectionistic dough, delicately charred), but each restaurant offers pizza types of its own. Doppio also has two Pizze Frita -- calzones briefly deep-fried for a bubbly crust, a specialty of "every pizzeria in Naples" according to one enthusiastic Doppio customer, who also seemed to be from Italy.
* The other Doppio pie I've tasted, Pizza Alberto, is "white" (no tomato), vegetarian and with homemade mozzarella like the Margherita, but with pecorino, basil, a little walnut paste, and fresh Bolete mushrooms. That's no typo. Spotting them on the pizza, I was amazed (menu does't mention they're fresh, and maybe they won't always be -- this is a rare ingredient). Boletes (alias porcini, ceps, Steinpilze) are among Bay Area wild mushroom species growing fresh in normal years, but they've been virtually unavailable this season with the drought. (I've tried to get them from suppliers.) Doppio's Angelo: "Yes. They were very expensive." That may be why the "Alberto" is among Doppio's priciest pizzas at $19. (Margherita is $14, the cheeseless Marinara is $11 -- these prices are similar to Napoletana Pizzeria's, and also to those of nearby Blue Line's flat pizzas, though Blue Line doesn't offer true-Neapolitan pies, let alone with fresh porcini.)
I thought the Alberto was a mushroom-lover's delight, though richer than the Margherita -- more cheese, walnut oil -- which may be partly just pizza-to-pizza production variation. I expect further research to clarify that, as well as learn about other pizza styles and other offerings at this very promising new downtown restaurant.