Pizzando in the Healdsburg Hotel opened last week after several menu dry-runs at sister property, Spoonbar! Louis Maldonado is exec chef for both properties, with former Petite Syrah toque Ben Davies in the kitchen and former A-16 pizza whiz Liza Shaw.
More than a pizzeria and less than a white-tablecloth experience, Pizzando hits the sweet spot in between with impressive appetizers like oil-poached albacore; unctuous slow-braised pork shoulder with pickled plums and caraway roasted squash draped with lardo (all $9).
The wood-fired does double duty for entrees and meats which include a crackly-crusted burrata pizza with lemon marmalade ($16); fried chicken legs with spicy vinegar sauce (all meats $16); pork ribs glazed in fennel pollen honey and hamachi collar (the meaty neck area of a tuna) . Save room for veggies sides (all $6) including slow-roasted tomatoes with melted Cresenza cheese (a perfect early fall dish) and fennel braised in oxtail broth.
Don’t skip the drinks. Mixologist Cappy Sorentino is cocktail hero with his bottled aperitifs — bold, undiluted sippers like the Negroni, Bourbon Milk Punch (made with clarified milk, bourbon, lemon and bitters that will have you lapping up the last drops like a kitten) and Aperol Sour with gin, grapefruit, Aperol and lemon (all $8).
301 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, 922-5233. Open daily for lunch and dinner starting at 11:30 a.m