Number Cruncher

Zero Zero burns through the cliches of pizza and small plates

There's a new kind of fire in a neighborhood fully ablaze with culinary excitement.

Most recently it was baked goods and smart Americana. Now the flame is leaping from the white-hot mind of Bruce Hill at the brand-new Zero Zero.

The mastermind behind BIX, Picco and Pizzeria Picco has transformed the former Azie space into a choose-your-own-adventure dining experience.

The pizzas are made from Italian "00" flour, exiting the scorching 900-degree oven in a minute and a half. The crust blisters and wood smoke seeps into the pie. The Townsend ($12)–with potato, prosciutto cotto and rosemary oil–crackles with flavor and char.

As stunning as the pizzas are, don't forgo the small plates. Bruschette ($3.50 each) include a peerless heirloom tomato version with pecorino. The city's gone clucky for fried chicken, and Zero Zero's fried thighs ($10) with translucent basil leaves and caraway yogurt sends the dish on a Mediterranean tear.

The pastas, including bucatini with uni butter ($16), and corn agnolotti with country ham and pickled peppers ($12.50), are fine.

Like pizza, soft-serve is melting into the realm of cliché. But with accompaniments like a cinnamon waffle and caramel ($9.50), it's kissed here with the fiery spark of ingenuity.

Zero Zero, 826 Folsom St. (at 4th St.); 415-348-8800 or zerozerosf.com