According to the blurb on the menu, Biga (pronounced Beega) is when you use a bit of yesterday’s dough to start today’s batch. It’s one of the secrets to this restaurant’s reputation for terrific wood-oven pizza in an authentic Italian style.
Our front desk clerk didn’t think we needed to worry about reservations, but because of the time change, we showed up at their busiest hour and people were standing outside waiting to get in. One of the waiters offered to set up tables on the sidewalk if anyone was interested and we jumped at the chance because a) the skies were clearing and b) we were hungry. We won – it remained nice all through dinner and the other two outside tables were quickly snatched up by people who came just after us.
It was far quieter outside, and the people-watching was far better. I was startled by metallic clanking and feared that someone was pounding on a car. Near ours. It was some kids from a family waiting to get in slamming the lid of a newspaper box. I figured it was only a matter of time until some little fingers got smashed. Then after their parents allowed it to continue for a while, I thought I’d just go over there and end the suspense. This is why we have cats.
But back to the food. We started with a pair of salads. Caroline had the Beet and Pear, which was a special just for tonight. I had the Portobello. That’s mine in the front, hers in the background. Both of them were amazing – among the best salads we’ve had anywhere. Which is not to say that either of us would have traded; I don’t like beets all that much, and she only likes mushrooms with steak.
We ordered a twelve inch pizza: half Carmelized Goat (cheese), half Sicilian. The wood-fired crust was excellent, but the toppings fell well short of the edge in places, which was kind of a downer. Also, the carmelized onions could have been browner. It was good, but not nearly as impressive or photogenic as the salads.
We thought about having a bottle of Italian wine, but instead picked a bottle of Boom Boom, a Washington Syrah. It’s a big purple wine that went well with our meal.