1101 Scott Street, San Diego
Almost a year ago I relocated from the Westfield UTC area to Liberty Station. One of the most pleasant things about moving to that area is being able to walk to so many restaurants, bars, and markets. But even in the honeymoon phase of a fresh environment, I do miss my old hangouts sometimes.
After a recent lovely wine tasting at Grape Connections, John and I were in the mood for pizza, and the owner of the shop pointed us across the street to Pummarò. “Their pizza is good — it’s the real thin kind,” was all John needed to hear. The siren call of pizza Napoletana was in the air, and we were unable to resist.
I could tell by the way we were greeted at the door and escorted to our table that eating there was going to be enjoyable. It’s apparent when staff is proud of their product and want you, the diner, to have the best possible experience. It showed in the way our waiter answered my questions as if I was his only customer, making suggestions on my wine choice and explaining ingredients in detail.
We started out with Calamari Fritti because John has never met a squid that he didn’t want to eat. Hot and crisp, the well-seasoned coating yielded to tender rings and crunchy tentacles. Hidden amongst the plentiful pile were fried artichoke hearts — an earthy, vegetal surprise. They were delicious dipped in the excellent marinara sauce or with just a squirt of lemon. It all was tossed in a lightly dressed arugula salad, a cool, nutty palate cleanser.
Where the magic happens
John’s Profumata pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella, arugula, shaved parmesan, and a whiff (the perfect amount) of truffle oil was first-rate. Napoletana pizza dough is made with Caputo 00 flour, a finely ground, lower-gluten flour that is essential to achieve that thin, thin center and big, bubbly outer rim, as is a light hand on the toppings. Pummarò’s pizza oven was built in Naples of refractory stone from the Mount Vesuvius area. It reaches temperatures of 900 degrees and cooks a pizza in 60-90 seconds. Many of the ingredients are imported from the Campania region of Southern Italy, and the quality shines. The crust was delectably charred on the rim and cooked through to the center. Seems obvious, but I’ve been disappointed by too many raw-in-the-middle Napoletana pizzas elsewhere to take this experience for granted.
Saffron risotto with bacon-wrapped scallops
I chose the Risotto of the Day, plump, juicy bacon-wrapped scallops perched atop a mound of perfumed Arborio rice with beautiful threads of gold, orange, and red saffron running through it. I couldn’t stop eating it. Even after I was satisfied, I kept forking bits into my mouth. Still, I took about half of the generous portion home.
Afterwards I looked up Pummarò online, and I was delighted to find out that they are run by the same folks that own Osteria Romantica, one my favorite haunts back in my old stomping grounds.