I don’t usually find myself in Alameda, but I’ve had the chance to visit for dinner twice in the last four weeks. First it was tasting Shanghai soup dumplings at Ark, and last week it was pizza night at East End Pizza Co.
East End is at the beginning of the popular Park Street – inside the Marketplace, which is a red-brick building that looks huge from the outside but is really a boutique market with a grocery, butcher, bakery, and a couple of other food-related vendors.
East End started out as one of the vendors in the Marketplace, selling pizza by the slice made with quality ingredients. But a month ago it expanded to a full-service restaurant at the corner of the building, serving up pizza along with salads, starters, pastas, desserts, and cocktails.
Pizza Night with Friends
Christina of East Bay Dish gave me a ride to Alameda and we met up with our other regular dining partner, Sandy of Foodhoe’s Foraging. With a full bar, Christina and I dug into some specialty cocktails, with me ordering what was called the “broken & sour,” which was similar to a pisco sour with the whipped egg whites, but made with bourbon. It was a sophisticated cocktail for a pizzeria.
We felt overwhelmed by the menu, which tempted us with a lot of interesting and unusual items. For example, we started with a salad called “lola rosa” ($9), which was unique for its addition of pickled cherries. A pork belly dish ($12) was tender but slightly dry, with the bed of lentils also seeming a bit flat.
Still, we enjoyed the star of dinner, our pizza called “the bouzouki pizza” ($19). All the specialty pizzas start of with basic vegetable ingredients for a price, and then provided with a meat topping option for additional price. We got our bouzouki, which was primarily a mushroom and olive pizza, with “loukaniko,” a home-made lamb and pork sausage.
The pizza had a droopy center, more like the Neopolitan-style pizzas of thin crust with blistered edges but somewhat soft center. It’s the type of pizza you eat with a fold with your slice. While it might not be crispy enough for some, I really enjoyed the flavor, which was always found in every dish.
Desserts were a surprise, with some really ambitious dishes like the strawberry shortcake and a play on ’smores with chocolate pudding and home-made marshmallow in a jar with graham cracker crumble on top.
The Last Bite
Although there were a couple of dishes that fell flat (the pork belly and an angnolotti with a thick eggplant puree), everything had flavor and the pizzas hit the spot. The ambitious menu really create a full dining experience, but it seems Alamedans are still warming up to the idea of eating other things beyond pizza.
Most of the people came in for the pizza and drinks, while we, of course, tried a variety of things. The chef and owner noticed our ticket and came over to our table to thank us for not just ordering pizza. Hopefully in time people will catch on that East End Pizza makes good pizza, but the rest of the menu is worthy of consideration as well.
East End Pizza Co., 1650 Park St., Alameda, Calif. PH: 510.263.9630. Open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday to Sunday (closed Mondays). No reservations; major credit cards accepted. eastendpizzaco.com
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