Friday, July 24, 2015

Coppi's Organic Restaurant Food Review

Margherita with spicy Italian pork sausage

Despite living only half a block away from Coppi's Organic Restaurant, it's taken me eight months to try it out (I did eat at their former U Street location twice before.) To be fair, I'm not even sure carry-out pizza counts as an official visit; but it was more than enough to elicit envy towards the happy folks dining in (full house, of course.) Coppi's has managed to maintain all of its former charm and hospitality... Only now it's housed inside the cozy confines, formerly home to longtime local favorite Lavandou. It looks like a perfect marriage (attentive/friendly service, rustic organic food and a superb location) but in the end, it all boils down to how the food tastes... especially their pizza.

Everything leading up to the pie was tremendous. The person who answered the phone, and took my order was very polite (on a Friday night, no less) and my pizza was promised in only 10 minutes. I was greeted by not one, but two employees when I picked it up... the former of which, already had my pizza in her hands (could they be psychic too?) The total charge was only $12.10 (including tax) which means my one topping (spicy Italian pork sausage) was free. Score! 11 bucks for a 9" pizza in this neighborhood is more than fair; but if you come at happy hour, you can get chicken wings and/or a personal pizza for only $5 each. Double score!

On the way out, I couldn't help but notice how happy everyone looked (customers and employees) and the restaurant had a great, natural buzz. A return visit (to dine in) is definitely in the cards. Tonight however, it was all about pizza... A Margherita (San Marzano tomato with fresh mozzarella & basil) at home. Although it was admittedly a short trip, the pizza was nice & hot when I opened it. The first thing that catches your eye is four giant leaves of fresh basil: In my book, a pizza without basil just isn't a pizza. The crust had a great char too, which made it look quite appetizing.

As for taste, there's good and bad to report. First the good... The cheese is gooey, yet light and absolutely delicious. Ditto for the tomatoes, which were vibrant red and bursting with flavor. Kudos also, for a well-cooked crust. Trouble is, said crust was very, very thick. Too thick. In fact, the outer border closer resembled a French baguette. Whoever rolled it, didn't do a good job. It's a shame too, since it's what I remembered most afterwards. The middle was delicious, but I wound up with lots of leftover crust. Speaking of memorable, I wish the sausage was. It says spicy, but even describing it as mild would be a stretch. It comes in crumbles, and there's enough of them, but I couldn't taste any flavor whatsoever... even on its own.

Final thoughts? The restaurant has great atmosphere; and the pizza shows promise, but poor crust and flavorless protein do not a great pizza make. Thinner crust and zestier sausage? Now we're talking an entirely different language. As is, it leans closer to American-style than Northern Italy. Perhaps I'll be singing another tune with Lasagna di Manzo (made with skirt steak and a housemade B├ęchamel sauce.) Lord knows, I'm already looking forward to it.

Atmosphere: B+ (This space has always been charming, and Coppi's adds even more of a buzz.)
Crust: D (Major shortcoming. Way too thick.)
Toppings: B (Take away the sausage, and it's an B+/A-)
Service: B+
Value: B (Saved $2... Very happy.)
Overall: B- (Average pizza, but worth another try.)