Destination Dessert: Zero Zero’s DIY Organic Soft-Serve Sundaes

While pizza is still the all the rage in San Francisco—and Zero Zero serves up a mean “Calipolitan” pie, indeed—an equally compelling draw to the popular eatery is chef Bruce Hill’s version of a quintessentially American dessert: soft-serve ice cream.

Soft-serve was not on the theoretical menu when Hill (of Bix, Picco and Pizzeria Picco) began planning the SoMa pizzeria. But when the machine used to make the specialty ice cream was left behind by the space’s previous tenant, Hill jumped at the chance to experiment, and a new classic was born.

Made from a proprietary organic Straus Dairy blend, the ice cream is dense enough to hold up to toppings, and completely smooth on the tongue. Diners build their own concoctions, first choosing a flavor (chocolate or vanilla); a base (ricotta doughnuts, warm chocolate cake, date coffee cake or mascarpone cheese cake); and one of 13 toppings, from traditional hot fudge to pomegranate seeds with saffron.

The combinatory possibilities are vast, and some outcomes surprising. Olive oil and sea salt go beautifully with the vanilla ice cream. Add saba, a syrup made from grape must, for a fruity finish. Or try citrus compote with Sicilian orange oil on the chocolate ice cream, with pumpkin seed brittle on the side. The ricotta doughnuts go with every conceivable combination, and are worthy of separate consideration—especially with a hit of quince jelly, not on the dinner menu, but in the kitchen for those who know to ask.

Finish with a perfect espresso ristretto.

Zero Zero, 826 Folsom St., 415.348.8800;

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