Saturday, April 29, 2017

Pidzza Food Review

Pidzza's Do It Yourself

You can't cross the street in Penn Quarter without running into a fast casual restaurant. Some are good. Some, not so good. And every now and then, you find one that's exemplary. Pidzza qualifies as the latter. Their pies are a tiny bit smaller and pricier ($9.55 vs. $9.32) than our perennial favorite &pizza, but tastewise... you'd be hard pressed to notice a difference. In fact, my first visit produced a pie so good, I Tweeted, "One of the best tasting pizzas I've ever had." I wasn't exaggerating.

Pidzza is relatively new (founded last year) but already has three DC locations (Chinatown, Ivy City and the U Street Corridor.) I stopped by their Chinatown digs late in the afternoon (just before 6 PM.) I was the only customer (a rare night off for next door Verizon Center) so I literally had the whole place to myself. Service was casual/friendly... the kind of place where the staff sings along with the music (N-Yo, Ray J) and you don't mind. Individual bathrooms too (score!) and very clean. I was in & out in under 20 minutes, and trust me... I savored every bite.

Ambiance: Like so many others, the design is barebones and industrial (AKA boring but functional.) There isn't much room for dining in, but it makes it a lot easier to line up and move around without stepping over (or on top of) a fellow guest. Pizza boxes are stacked high in the back, if you want to take some of your order back to the office. The aforementioned bathroom was particularly impressive, although I didn't see an automatic hand dryer (boy, am I spoiled or what?) One last caveat, there were no napkin dispensers at the front tables, so make sure to grab a lot from the sparkling clean soda fountain area.

Sweet Street Toffee Crunch Manifesto Blondie

Food: This is where Pidzza makes it stand. Their pizzas are amazing. Although gondola-shaped (not picturesque) the toppings are plentiful, and the crust... out-of-this-world. Quite possibly the best textured crust I've ever had, despite a lack of visible char on the bottom. Piping hot as well, with copious mounds of zesty Italian sausage. For the record, I had the original Pidzza dough with classic tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, jalapeƱos and red onions. Not the most daring, I know (Pidzza also offers chickpeas, shrimp and sucuk, not to mention local farm eggs!) but delicious all the same. Alter the shape just a tad, and we're talking sheer perfection.

I'm not keen on dessert pizzas/pidzzas (chocolate crust, Nutella spread, etc.) but don't leave without grabbing a Sweet Street Toffee Crunch Manifesto Blondie for $2.95. They're available at the cash register, and are almost worth a visit alone. They're prepackaged, but taste plenty fresh, with incredible crunch and flavor (butterscotch, chocolate and toffee.) Dynamite.

Service: I couldn't ask for more (off-hour, super friendly) save for a Pidzza location closer to where I live (cough... Cleveland Park... cough.) They were out of the mix for their speciality LMC (mildly disappointing) but that only motivates me to return sooner, to try it.

Overall: To even come close to &pizza is worthy praise indeed. Pidzza made a huge first impression... one that guarantees repeat visits, the kind of business that leads to further expansion (cough... Cleveland Park... cough.) Stay tuned for more.