Friday, June 12, 2009

Da Cibo, Tokyo

Nearly 3 months ago, my friends, an impending GWC meeting caused a few of us to be in Nihonbashi at lunch hour. Not wanting to waste the opportunity, we went to Coredo for that lunch. In fact we ate pizza at a decent place with a genuine brick oven of the imported-from-Italy species. Today we accidentally visited another branch of that family [actually the web site only lists these 2, so you can still feel pretty good about it not being a chain].

I want to point out in advance that the rules of 'new places' were established ages ago - alternate branches are somewhat discouraged, but are clearly within the ambit of newness. Without this rule it would be impossible to visit all establishments under the Marunouchi rail tracks; there are 3 branches of Kassen Ichiba there alone. Previously I had just walked by Da Cibo on the to-and-from other Tokyo Station Kitchen Street places and thought "Hey, a real pizza oven!". I didn't realize this was a branch until I saw the menu, where the font, selection, and particularly the offer to upscale to real buffalo mozarella for Y400 tipped me off that it was the same place, relatively speaking.

Well, this was a good opportunity to try a place more than once (sort of! Not really! I'm not admitting repeat!). It must be a bit popular, because there were people waiting when we got there. Normally this makes me turn and walk away, but in this case it merely made me appreciate my teammates all the more, because Ponkan had called to reserve.

The menu has two types of sets - panini and pizza. The panini, a bit smaller, comes with soup to augment the fresh-but-lame salad (lettuce and a bit of corn) and choice of drink. The pizza comes in 6 varieties, made fresh when you order. That's three with cheese, three without. I have to say, pizza isn't pizza to me unless it has both cheese and sauce. It can be really good without one of those things, but it's more like round, flat bread. One oddity is that there are few pizzas like this here; you're kinda stuck with margherita if you want both, and then you can't have any toppingz. I know this is the kinda thing that makes people queue for an hour at Napule (no linkz today), but it doesn't work for me.

So Pon had this pizza with treviso, pancetta and cheese (treviso being, I think, a misnomer - it looked an awful lot like radicchio. In fact, if you google for a few seconds, as I just have in order to save you even the slightest hint of trouble, you may get the idea that Treviso is a famous radicchio-growing region, with slight differences in the shape of the produce. Treviso seems to be an IGP, which all readers with another 60 seconds of time for google know stands for Indicazione Geografica Protetta and is the step below DOC and then DOCG on the Italian appelation system (the same sort of thing as 'Champagne can only come from Champagne'). (Actually it seems like IGP might be outside that system, with IGTypica being the official mid-level, but I have no wish whatsoever to tangle with Italian bureaucracy on a Friday.) That was a fun diversion, but I digress.

Wolf and I had calamari pizza, which was sadly unblemished by the bloom of ripe tomatoes, but was fresh, tasty and had a fair amount of squid bitz. I did feel the need to moisten the whole with chili oil, which leads me to the concluding bon mot that sprang to mind after my first bite:

Baggio is love. This is just pizza.

You try that again and I'll give you such a smack in Da Cibo...

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