Ham & Eggs Pizza at Coppa Ristorante Italiano

I visited the new Coppa Ristorante Italiano a couple of weeks ago, curious about the reincarnation of what is now the late Catalan. Hailed as an upscale Italian restaurant, Coppa had a surprisingly informal, somewhat abbreviated one-page menu made up primarily of starters, pizza, and pasta.

The short menu certainly made the food selections easy, however. I decided to snack on their house-made meatballs, which my server told me were hand-made each day by Coppa Executive Chef Brandi Key. Served in an earthenware dish with a bit of tomato sauce, the meatballs were a solid effort flavor-wise, but needed some sort of accompaniment, like a bread or pasta.

Although we had table reservations, my friend and I decided to grab a couple of seats at the bar after the happy hour crowd cleared out. At the suggestion of the bartender, we ordered what he called their signature pizza, the rather plebeian sounding "ham and eggs." Made with thinly sliced coppa and baked-in quail eggs, the pizza was in fact excellent. The crust was perfection: light, thin and airy, yet crisp and easy to bite into so as not to cut up the roof of your mouth. The savoriness of the coppa complemented the tomato-sauce, while the quail egg added some creaminess and a soft contrasting texture.

The only drawback to the pizza was the pricing. The "ham and eggs" cost a whopping $18 for a 14 inch, six-slice pizza. Conversely, the wine was extremely reasonably priced. Where other restaurants may mark up their wines three to five times over, the wine markup at Coppa was approximately 1.5 times the cost. We ordered a very good bottle of Ridge York Creek Zinfandel for $40, for instance, which would probably have been upwards of $60 elsewhere.

For a wine drinker, the tradeoff is not a bad one. After all, wouldn't you rather pay more for pizza and less for wine?

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