Pizza Hacker

Even without advertising and not even officially opening, young techies and food lovers packed into Pizza Hacker. Located on southern end of Mission Street, it looks like the “secret is out” as this side of the Mission corridor is gaining a lot of traffic and attention.

Pizza Hacker uses Tartine Bakery’s famous Country Loaf recipe to make their hand-kneaded, naturally leavened pizza dough. The thin crust has pillowy edges that hold the ingredients on top without sagging in the center. Some of the pizzas coming out of the oven looked burnt on the edges, but fortunately our pizza chef rescued ours from the fiery pits at a golden brown stage!

Most of the toppings are locally sourced, as is the style as is common practice with restaurants in the Bay serving up California cuisine. I appreciated the melody of cheeses including luscious buffalo mozzarella, pungent Point Reyes blue cheese, and sharp Parmigiano. The peppery yet grassy tasting olive oil sprayed across the top enhanced the flavors of the winter veggies generously layered on top. I enjoyed every pizza we tried, but the “Rocket Man” definitely stood out. The bitter arugula, sour lemon juice, spicy Calabrian chili paste, sweet mozzarella, and savory farm egg with a rich yolk created a perfect melody in my mouth.

It excited me to find out that the house salad (currently the only one of the menu) is modeled after the salads from Intermezzo- my favorite lunch spot in Berkeley, before it burnt down. Served in the same wooden bowls, this salad has basic, yet tasty ingredients. Had the chef not drowned the salad in poppy seed dressing, I would have really savored it.

Though I enjoyed the food, I could hardly hear my dining partners sitting right across from me. I am a little curious how that that will be exacerbated with its inevitable increasing popularity. I guess the trick is to have a good draft beer in hand and to prepare oneself for some people-watching.