Thursday, August 27, 2009

DOPO - A Paper Thin Slice of Perfection

Last week my BH talked me into going back to Dopo, which is a popular and very small little Italian Pizzeria and Wine Bar located on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. When it first opened it was maybe four - five tables. After undergoing a fairly lengthy expansion into the space next door, the restaurant is positively cavernous at fifteen tables or so, with several more available outside when weather permits. And the place is always bustling, if you want a table at lunch, get there before noon.

There is a reason for its popularity. Dopo's does a limited menu of pizzas, salads and soups, and though the menu is not extensive, what they do, they do very well. The meal we ordered on this occasion began with a slice of Pistichio, which looks like a variety of frittata or quiche. It seemed a bit heavier and more rustic than the frittata I grew up with. Today's version was a combination of zucchini and parmesan and egg. It was filling, but not quite as flavorful as my grandfather's egg dish. I was trying to avoid eating too much pizza, but it was a mistake. That's really the reason to come here. After my husband downed a bowl of the Tomato Corn soup, which is quite tasty, we moved on to the main course.

We had ordered two pizzas. The first was a Mozzarella di Bufala. It arrived piping hot, with the cheese bubbling on the surface of the ever so perfectly thin layer of tomato sauce. This pizza is unusual in that it isn't the standard doughy bread slathered in Contadina (that's a tomato paste folks). Everything about it is delicate. It's flavors are much more delicate and well thought out. This may be the best thin crust pizza on the planet. We followed that standard with an new variety on the menu, a blending of Proscuitto, Speck and Potato.

This pizza was well-done, although in my opinion not quite as good as the simple but delicious di Bufala. Speck is apparently a kind of juniper-flavored Italian smoked ham that is generally served in thin slices. Isn't surfing the net while eating so much fun?? The mixture of this ham and the baby red roasted potatoes was pleasant and I thought pretty good. My BH really enjoyed the combination, but our PFC really preferred the di Bufala. I enjoyed both, but have to say I did prefer the first. There is something crispy and simple about it, the way they always do it just so, that makes it one of my favorite dishes.

We completed the meal with a few glasses of wine. I had a nice red Montepulciano, and our PFC enjoyed a rose, also from Montepulciano. No dessert or coffee today, although I will say that when I have had their lattes in the past, it is really unique. They serve the hot drink in a glass mug, which makes it almost impossible to hold. It also seems to cook the milk further into the coffee, in a way that without adding any sugar, brings out the sugar in the milk and sweetens the drink naturally. It may or may not be deliberate, but once I had wrapped the burning hot mug in my napkin so I could get it to my lips, I found it delicious.

All in all, this is a completely reliable restaurant. What they do is consistently tasty, with little variation in presentation and no big mistakes.

Bon Appetit!

4293 Piedmont Avenue
Oakland, CA 94611
no website as of this writing
Price: Moderately expensive
Dining time: Pizza takes awhile to cook, so typically a bit more than an hour
Table size: Cramped

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