2842 Diamond Street, San Francisco CA 94131 (map); 415-239-8500; gialina.com
Pizza Style: Artisanal
Oven Type: Gas-fired
The Skinny: With only one (Margherita) pie sampled here, I can't really say, but I'm guessing that the reason people love this place is more for the inventive toppings than any masterfully rendered crust
Ed Levine has already written about Gialina in San Francisco's Glen Park neighborhood here on Slice, so I'm linking to it and just giving my quick impressions, since I only sampled a lone Margherita pizza there Tuesday night.
The GF and I had already done a late lunch at Papalote in the Mission District. (I thought the salsa was amazing but that my burrito left a little something to be desired—like structural integrity.) So we weren't super hungry when we finally made it back to the Glen Park area, where we're staying. I wanted to order the Margherita and the Atomica (tomato, mushrooms, mozzarella, spicy chiles, and red onions), but like I said, our burrito-stuffed stomachs weren't amenable to more than one pie.
Ed loved the pizza here, saying it "had heart and soul, which, along with passion and knowledge, are the most important ingredients in pizza." And he was particularly enamored of the potato pie (potato with applewood-smoked bacon, red onions, rosemary, and gorgonzola).
He sort of skirted the issue of crust, though:
... a pale brown rather than a golden brown, and neither had all that many air bubbles. The crust was irregularly shaped. Some parts of the cornicione were raised a couple of inches, while others were barely a half inch high.
Our crust, rather than being pale brown, was dark-golden brown, and it had a sheen to it that hinted at perhaps a brushing with oil prior to baking. It looked like it was either going to be a new, amazing crust style the likes of which I'd never had before or just hella crunchy.
It was basically just crazy crunchy. No chewiness—nothing much other than crunch.
It seems that what Ed was getting at with Gialina is that the crust left something to be desired but that the inventive toppings and the quality thereof made up for it.
Given that I only had a Margherita, that may be the case. We sat at the bar and watched the folks prepare the food, and there was clearly a lot of love and care going into the cooking—as seems to be the deal at many of the SF restaurants I've been to. And the other pies on the menu looked like they had fabulous toppings.
So I'm reserving judgment on Gialina until I can have some of the other pies there. This might be the rare case in which a crust man such as myself is swayed by the toppings rather than the foundation of the pie. We shall see.