September 24, 2004

Friday, 9/24/04

I'm back, after a week off, and man was I hungry. Today, I lunched with my close friend, Isabel Chon, at Jupiter. Jupiter is Berkeley micro-brewery and restaurant that boasts a nice beer garden in a courtyard setting. Yes, Gentle Readers in Buffalo, people in California drink something besides white wine spritzers. They make and consume excellent beer on this coast as well. However, I did not have any of it at this particular meal.

Jupiter, having a yuppy factor of about 6.5/10, names their food (cleverly, they think) after Roman and Greek gods. This contrasts somewhat with the interior of the restaurant, which has dark wood, warm colors, and a wall that looks like it was stamped out of something. It treads the line between Craftsman and French Brasserie. Their menu, however, is American and focuses on sandwiches, salads, and thin-crusted, wood-fired pizzas.

I had the 9" Triton pizza, whose crust was "wood-fired to perfection" as advertised. The crust was crisp but not brittle, toothsome but not tough. Bits of loose fennel-laced sausage, onions, and mozzarella were placed on top of marinara sauce and then fired in the oven. This caramelized the onions and sausage nicely. Then, basil was scattered on top. This pizza broke no new culinary ground, but was a very solid version of a classic that is frequenly done poorly.

Isabel had a soup and 1/2 sandwich combination. Her chicken noodle soup was think and was loaded down with very soft noodles. While the texture was somewhat unusual, she commented that the flavor was spot on. Her half sandwich was the Atlas, which consists of chunks of roasted chicken breast, roased red peppers, basil, provolne, and aioli, topping a crusty italian roll. She really liked it too, especially the meaty texture of the roasted chicken, which also makes an appearance on the Cassiopeia pizza (Jupiters take on bbq chicken pizza).

As far as brew pubs and microbreweries go, Jupiter has some very good food. The service, however, was pretty good except for a big miscue at the end. The busboy (actually a young woman with an anonymously European accent) took away my plate and napkin while I was eating, and holding in my right hand, my last slice of pizza. Very odd. All in all, Jupiter is good of a place in Berkeley as any to take in a pint or some pizza.


At 9/24/2004 07:32:00 PM, Blogger Dingus said...

Mmm...California pizza. Ned Flanders had a white wine spritzer in one of the Simpsons episodes.

At 9/25/2004 01:04:00 PM, Blogger matt said...

I'd give Jupiter a yuppie rating somewhere on the order of 7.8. This is based purely on drinking there on Friday Nights. I'll also admit that I rarely drink in San Francisco and that I would give many of those bars I have drunk at a yuppie rating of 10.

At 9/25/2004 02:31:00 PM, Blogger harsh said...

hmm, I feel the omission of beer was a misstep espescially for a pizza with sausage, but I will let it slide. Glad to hear the crust rises to the occasion,I will have to sample some on my return.

At 9/29/2004 02:54:00 PM, Blogger tojo-itsu said...

"They make and consume excellent beer on this coast as well." What 'other coast' are you referring to Lou? The North Coast?


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