Thursday, May 28, 2015

&pizza Food Review II

Craft Your Own Pizza

It's been almost two years since we gave &pizza an A+ review. Since then, I've visited several times (all of them positive) but it was high time to give them another official look-see. I'm happy to report: &pizza is still amazing... co-owners of our unofficial title, "Best Fast Casual Pizza in the DMV."

&pizza now has a dozen locations, with two more (Barracks Row & North Bethesda) on the way. I stopped by the newest of the bunch, Dupont South at 1215 Connecticut Avenue, NW for lunch this past Tuesday. Predictably, I discovered long (but quick-moving) lines, superb customer service and mouth-watering pizza. They offer six signature pies; but I opted for my "usual," a Craft Your Own production with traditional dough, spicy tomato sauce, housemade mozzarella, Italian Sausage, red peppers and fresh basil. Perhaps I was just feeling frisky; but I couldn't resist adding 39-Day Aged Pepperoni to the mix. Call me crazy.

Ginger Berry Lemonade

Assembly is incredibly efficient; but it does get a little noisy along the line. That noise creates a great atmosphere however (there's no such thing as a great, quiet kitchen) and I've yet to encounter a single mistake over two years of dining here. Finishes are a lot bigger deal than at other places; and I have to tip my hat to the manager who explained to the customer in front of me that a Base Pizza ($6.82) didn't include extra toppings (otherwise, it would be a Craft Your Own.) However, instead of disappointing/embarrassing the customer, he added the extra toppings at no charge, while still reminding him for next time. Brilliant! P.S. The staff here is really, really fast but super-friendly the whole time (very, very rare.)

Pizza in hand (plus a Ginger Berry Lemonade... yum!) I grabbed a seat towards the front. The temperature outside was hovering around 90°, and it was (admittedly) hot inside as well. This isn't a complaint, mind you; but I have to share the tiny bits of bad news with the mounds of good stuff. Lucky for me, the drink was amazing (almost as good as their Pear & Fig Elixir) and the pizza practically without equal. They've managed to make the crust crispier, and the spicy sauce is extra spicy (and delicious.) The sausage curls during heating, and actually crisps up as well: It's insanely tasty. Even the pepperoni is memorable. I normally add pickled red onions and sundried tomatoes; but sometimes, it's best to keep it simple.

Dupont Circle is literally flooded with fast casual pizza options; but none come close to &pizza for overall taste, variety of top toppings and (perhaps most importantly) consistency. They're also the busiest of the bunch (across the DMV) yet still one of the fastest (and most affordable, to boot.) So just how good is &pizza? So good, that I can't think of a single way for them to improve upon their winning formula. Status quo may not sound exciting; but when the norm is near-perfect, who's complaining?

As if &pizza wasn't good enough... They keep late (sometimes really late) hours: Open until 11 PM, Sunday through Wednesday, 3 AM Thursdays, and 4 AM Fridays and Saturdays at Dupont South. Click here for all locations & hours.