Sunday, March 28, 2010


Wade's Take:

Thirteenth and Sansom is the home to Zavino, a wine and pizza joint we visited this month. There was much reason to celebrate... my co-bloggers had recently welcomed beautiful baby Sophia to their family. And we didn't miss a single month of dining!

Zavino has a small space but it makes up for it with high open ceilings and lots of windows and walls that open to its streetside tables. We had the best seat in the house - a wooden both nestled next to the entrance, the meat and cheese station, and across from the bar. It was a private booth that offered great views of the whole restaurant from my seat.

The cured meat tray offered samples of the best cured meats, including my favorite - a salami called Baby Jesus. The cheeses we selected were all enjoyable. I was impressed with our waiter's ability to describe all 9 cheeses in great detail and to recommend an optimal pairing. Like all cheese trays, there was a shortage of bread offered. The bread was a nan-like flatbread that was neutral in flavor. It was ideal for highlighting the cheeses.

My pizza selection was the Fratello. It entailed bechamel sauce, broccoli, roasted garlic and mozzarella. Compared to Jess' pie, mine fell flat. There was a punch or zing missing from the pizza. It needed a touch of sweet onion or something similar to liven it up. It was still very good - but didn't live up to the standard set by Jess' pizza.

The dough was clearly house-made and had large crisp bubbles of charred dough... my favorite.

With a good glass of wine, a nice atmosphere, knowledgeable wait staff and great company, Zavino had many factors for a great outing. There may be better pizzas at Pizzeria Stella or Osteria, but Zavino will do just fine for me when I'm in the neighborhood.

3 out of 4 Baby Jesus.

Dave's Take

I loved Zavino. This little, unintimidatingly hip spot is not fine dining, but a fantastic spot to spend an evening with friends. The interior was bistro-style with plenty of natural light and indoor/outdoor seating.

You had me at hello I said to the cured meat selection as it arrived fleshly sliced at the nearby cheese and charcueterie booth. Our extremely friendly and knowledgeable waiter suggested a nice selection of cured meats and cheese. The prosciutto was very good. Certainly not the best but a solid performer. The smoky-salty speck was fantastic and the other highlight, the baby jesus was a salty,fatty, tasty fantastic take on salami.

The next course were hand-made fire baked pizzas. The small pizza format allowed each of us to try a different interpretation. I got the Kennett, a pizza round packed with oyster, crimini & shitake mushrooms in a b├ęchamel sauce with homemade mozzarella. The bits are charred dough from the fire-baked pizza added a smokiness that complements the earthiness of the mushrooms and the fresh rosemary was excellent. Like Wade's Fratello, it was a bit flat as it needed some sort of zip to brighten the flavors. Jess on the other hand ordered spectacularly. Her sausage pizza was smoky, bright with fresh tomato flavor and excellently spiked with garlic.

We had to cut dinner short since we had to get back to the kiddo so we did not have dessert but we had enough to know Zavino is a great spot if you down in Midtown Village. We also did not try any of the small plates but certainly will during the next trip since what we saw on the other tables looked fantastic.

3 out of 4 slices for Zavino- a reasonably priced, comfortably hip, extremely friendly local eatery.

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