1001 Minnesota St, SF 94107 | 415.824.4224 | website
It’s been five years since our first and last oysterfests at Piccino, so we were long overdue to enjoy a feast of Hog Island bivalves while checking out Piccino’s “new” location that they moved to two years ago. We felt turned around since they moved down the street and around the corner into a yellow building instead of the original blue, which somehow felt oddly familiar. The interior dining room is cozy and bright with high ceilings and a rustic elegance.
It was a bright, sunny day and we sat outside on the patio where Mank and CDR joined us for our third oysterfest together. We caught up while quaffing beers and enjoying the sun, and at last our trays of oysters began to arrive!
The prices of the oysters have gone up since our last visit, $2.75 each from $2. We got a couple dozen oysters on the half shell, which was served simply with some fresh lemon wedges and tabasco (sadly no hogwash, Hog Island’s excellent mignonette recipe). The oysters were briny and sweet, freshly plucked from Tomales Bay that morning, you can just hear the waves lapping on the shore and the gulls crying overhead.
Here is the oyster shucking and grilling station. The bearded man behind the grill is George, he is always at the Hog Island Booth at the Saturday Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building, and was at the two previous Piccino Oysterfests we’ve been to.
The grilled oysters were $3.25 each, compared to $2.25 five years ago and the only option were BBQ’d, no mention of the previous version made with garlic butter beer topping this time around… The grilled oysters are plump and airy, with a meaty chew that is filled with the flavor of the ocean, and topped with a sticky sweet and spicy bbq sauce, which hits all the right spots with a squeeze of lemon and a few dribbles of tabasco.
To round out our meal we ordered a couple of salads, the first was composed of roasted beets, sliced mushrooms, walnuts, and blue cheese on a mix of fresh lettuces.
The next salad made with tender little gems, I loved how the thin slices of sweet spicy persimmons, walnuts, blue cheese, dill ($12) combined with the bright lively dressing, the frondy bits of dill added bursts of flavor.
We ordered a couple of their legendary thin crust pizzas, the Salsiccia, is made with house made sausage flecked with aromatic fennel sprinkled with thin slices of red onion over a thin layer of mozzarella ($16). The savory sausage develops crispy edges and the rich meaty flavors are balanced with the sweet onion and springy melted cheese. The crusts are tender, less intensely crisp or chewy as in the current fascination with Neopolitan pizza.
The magical Funghi made with roasted mushrooms, stracchino (an Italian cheese made from fresh cows milk), and shaved garlic ($17+$2 for the egg). A fine crispy chewy crust, flavorful savory mushrooms, scattered with fresh herbs, topped with a lovely runny egg.
I could eat this for breakfast every day.
We got there before they opened to stake out a table, and there were people lined up along the sidewalk and beyond waiting for a table by the time we were done. A little ways up the sidewalk there was an area of picnic tables for those who were there just for the oysters, but there was a clear demand for people who wanted to order oysters as well as from the regular menu. It was a delicious meal although on the pricy side after four rounds of oysters… but worth it. The patio at Piccino’s new location is in the sun facing a park, and it was a lovely way to spend the afternoon and now I am inspired to drive up the coast to Tomales Bay.