Saturday, June 1, 2013

Italian Pizza Kitchen Food Review

Pizza with sausage & red onions

Italian Pizza Kitchen has fast become one of the most popular restaurants on the oft forgotten Van Ness corridor of Connecticut Ave., NW. Home to a number of apartment high-rises, this area has plenty of hungry folks who deserve better than Burger King on a regular basis; and IPK provides that and more (for almost nothing.)

Since opening here back in 2009, Italian Pizza Kitchen has added a second location (in the busier Woodley Park area) but I prefer the original by a wide margin. For starters, the service here is top notch. The wait staff are efficient, fast and friendly; and the kitchen whips up consistently good food (without long waits.) You have your choice of dining in or out (there's an outdoor patio with several tables... a perfect spot for dinner, well-shaded by the Avenue's tall trees.) My family and I didn't feel like braving the heat and humidity this time around, and grabbed a couple of tables by the window.

Bread Sticks

A familiar face greeted us with a smile and we took a peak at IPK's affordable menu before ordering. Bread Sticks are a great value at just $4 and easily satisfy three people. My cousin Dean ordered a Beef Lasagna ($10.95) while my Aunt & I shared a large (14") pizza with sausage and red onions ($16.70.) We asked for thin crust, but got the original instead (the only negative of our meal.) Three cans of soda ($1.25 a pop) and complimentary waters helped wash down all that Italian goodness.

The bread sticks come with IPK's zesty marinara sauce and could qualify as dinner for me... I love 'em. Dean devoured his lasagna, so I'm assuming it was up to par. Our pizza was solid, but not spectacular: The thicker crust works against it, especially considering there aren't that many toppings. I like the onions a lot, but the sausage could be more flavorful (although it helps to add crushed red peppers.) We ended up having three slices left over; and our second waitress (shift change) kindly boxed it up for us.

Service, as mentioned before was terrific. The girls here, checked in on us often... always with a smile. We truly didn't want for anything. Dinner came in at just under 50 bucks with a tip, and we left happy (as always.) Great for dining in, Italian Pizza Kitchen also offers single slices of pizza (cheese and pepperoni) for $3 and $3.50 respectively. They make a mean panini (Roasted Eggplant = nice!) but believe it or not, I've never tried their pasta. A great casual restaurant for the whole family, Van Ness is lucky to have them.

Atmosphere: B
Service: B+ (Consistently good service keeps me coming back.)
Crust: C (Too bad we didn't get thin crust.)
Toppings: B
Value: B (Pizza's almost $17, but good sized. Bread Sticks are a steal at just $4. Love the $1.25 cans of soda!)
Overall: B (As solid as they come, for a neighborhood spot.)