Friday, January 18, 2013

Mamma Mia!

New York Style Pizza with sausage & onions

Bethesda has no shortage of good places to dine out, yet Mamma Lucia has no problem "packing 'em in" day after day at their spacious 4916 Elm Street location. I've had many a pie at their Federal Plaza spot on the Pike; but strangely enough, had never visited their downtown digs. I sought to fix that today, with an early dinner (4:00 PM.)

To my delight, I was the lone customer dining in (who doesn't yearn to be the center of attention?) The space was spotless... cloth napkins and white tablecloths; and there was a nice buzz from the visible kitchen area. A blend of jazz and Frank Sinatra filled the room for added effect. It all felt cozy. I was greeted first by a busboy, then a waitress and finally by the guy behind the counter... each one friendlier than the next.

I ordered a 14" New York Style Pizza with sausage and onions ($14.50 + two additional toppings = $18) with a Diet Coke ($2.25) I explained that I was in a hurry, yet still had to wait 20 minutes for my pie. Since I was their only customer, I found this rather strange. Thankfully, the pie proved worth the wait. Mamma Lucia's uses fresh ingredients and their shredded sausage is delicious. The crust is suitably thick, providing the perfect vehicle for Mamma Lucia's quality toppings. I had to rush off, but my server carefully packaged my remaining slices for carry-out. P.S. Cold pizza can be awfully delicious later in the evening.

There's a casual vibe that rivals its setting to some degree. While I was there, a young girl came in to ask about potential employment. I found this "impromptu interview" unusual to say the least (I won't repeat the conversation; but suffice it to say, I prefer to interview prospective candidates in my office.) That said, it stands to reason that it would get done this way. Mamma Lucia's feels like the Italian pizzerias of yesterday... Something more places should aspire to. So long as they make tasty pizza like I had today, I'll be coming back for more.

Atmosphere: B+ (This place gets crowded, so 4 in the afternoon couldn't have been better for me.)
Service: B (My order took a while, but they couldn't have been nicer.)
Crust: B-
Toppings: B+ (Great cheese, onions and sausage.)
Value: B
Overall: B (A tad pricey, Mamma Lucia's is a great place to splurge and have a good time.)