Last night we joined some friends at Bambuddha Lounge for a cocktail to celebrate a friend’s birthday (Jim, of the top-secret chocolate chip cookies). The entourage was continuing on to dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant followed by pool at The Cinch. DPaul and I, however, were not up to changing the scene of the crime, so we headed back to our ‘hood to grab a bite and settle in for a quiet evening.
We order from Noe Valley Pizza for delivery with almost alarming frequency, and have enjoyed their pizza since well before we moved into the neighborhood. But we felt it had been a long time since we actually sat down and ate in the restaurant. One of the great ironic joys of food snobbery is finding the unpretentious, down-home comfort food spots that still serve up delicious fare. NVP is exactly that — the faux-rustic interior takes me back to the red-gingham tablecloth category pizzerias of my childhood (though their tablecloths are, in fact, white).
Paul and I often joke that living in Noe Valley is like living in
Mayberry. Young, white families stroll 24th Street with their SUV-like
strollers, dogs in tow. People smile and wave. It’s pleasant. But
having lived on the edge of the Mission District for so many years
previously, pleasant has taken some getting used to.
We kept it simple — split a caesar salad and a medium pie with
sausage and black olives (yes, the nasty canned variety; what else
would you put on pizza?). The wine list was predictably brief and
uninspired; that the house wine is Paul Masson gives you an idea. But
there was a half bottle of Chianti Rufina Riserva, which we ordered. Il
Lastro Chianti Rufina Riserva 1997 to be exact, in a svelte, tall
bottle. It turned out to be a pretty remarkable wine, distinctly
Chianti, but with surprising notes of leather, violet and a faintly
minty finish. A bargain at $16. Just goes to show you never know where
you’ll find the occasional gem.
Noe Valley Pizza
3898 24th St, at Sanchez
(Tip: If you’re ordering for delivery, be sure to get it well done for a nice, crisp crust.)
Update, 3/7: We returned last night after a cocktail event for a friend’s birthday. The Il Lastro is available by the full bottle as well, and every bit the bargain at $28. The Veal Milanese is not bad, either.