Friday, December 30, 2016

&Pizza Chinatown Food Review

Craft Your Own Pizza

&Pizza remains our favorite fast casual pizza in the DMV, with two stellar reviews (Dupont Circle, U Street) to its credit, and an ever-growing list of locations. I've been to most of them, and finally had a chance to stop by their new Chinatown location at 705 H Street, NW. The verdict? Mixed. Great pizza (still) but the atmosphere needs a lot of work.

Like most restaurants on the block, space is tight... especially on the lower level. Orders are taken immediately inside the door, underneath the loudest speaker I've ever had the displeasure to listen to. Luckily, the cashier (Sierra) was super nice, but ordering was incredibly difficult (given the noise level) and an inability to examine the available toppings. This absolutely has to change, if this location is going to succeed.

Order in hand (Craft Your Own Pizza, Pear & Fig Elixir) I went upstairs, where the space opened up. There are two dining rooms, separated by a fountain drink machine. Unfortunately, the music was just as loud as it was downstairs. Given the tight confines, why would anyone want to listen to rap music (King Los & Ty Dolla $ign) at top volume, during lunch (on a weekday?) I hate to sound like a broken record, but dining in was a terrible experience... so much so, I rushed through a delicious pizza, in order to get the heck out of there.

As for the pizza, what more can I say? It's (always) amazing. Unlimited toppings, including to-die-for Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, fresh Mozzarella, jalapeƱos, roasted red peppers and a basil finish. It's cooked perfectly every time, and takes less than five minutes to prepare. It's so good, there should be one on every other block in DC (especially mine, in Cleveland Park.) The Pear + Fig Elixir is one of six killer &sodas, second only (in taste) to their Ginger Berry Lemonade. Too bad I couldn't take my time and enjoy it. In fact, this is the first time I didn't finish an &pizza pie.

My visit took place a week ago, two days before Christmas. Perhaps (hopefully?) the staff was celebrating early, and had the music on louder than normal. Either way, it's an easy fix. How they address the ordering process, which doesn't include their normal assembly line, is a greater obstacle. Great pizza like this, deserves to be ordered and devoured in a comfortable space.