Y&H Takes a Second Slice at a Few Local Pizzerias
The seriously creamy buffalo mozz at Pizze
Restaurants constantly evolve, which is why I try to revisit as many as possible in between checking out the new ones that come along. I particularly try to revisit the places that I have previously panned, like the trio of pizzerias below.
To be fair here, I didn't really pan any of them — save, perhaps, RedRocks in Columbia Heights. I think it would be more accurate to say that I expressed reservations about Pizze in Woodley Park and Pizzeria Paradiso near Dupont Circle.
So let me start with the best of the re-evals:
- My most recent pie at RedRocks was just last night, and the joint's Margherita was nearly perfect. The cornicione, or crust's edge, was puffy and charred, which are good signs of excellent dough-making and baking. Better yet, these crispy-chewy crusts were full-flavored, balancing salt and yeast with the unique bitter-sweet qualities of char. It was the best-tasting crust I've had since my visit to Lombardi's in NYC a month or so ago. The sauce itself mellowed out the tomato's more acidic qualities while maintaining its essential fruitiness. Only the buffalo mozzarella could be improved, I thought. I would have preferred a creamier version.
- The buffalo mozz at Pizze, however, was spectacular. It was rich and creamy and generously applied to my recent order of Margherita at the pizzeria below Petits Plats. In fact, I thought every single ingredient on this pie, from the sweet sauce to the flavorful crust, was far superior to the first time I tried this round. My lone complaint had to do with the baking time. The pizza-maker, clearly under pressure during a lunch-time rush, did not allow the pie to fully cook, which shortchanged his creation in terms of both texture and flavor.
- The crust on my Margherita at the new suds-drenched Paradiso off Dupont was more cracker-y than I remembered with previous pies at Ruth Gresser's place. It was also lighter in density and chew than I recall. But I discovered an interesting thing about Gresser's crusts: If you sprinkle them with just the smallest amount of olive oil, they are transformed into a full-bodied bite, as if they're thirsty for a little more moisture and fat. It's as if her crusts were made for dipping, like a good crusty Italian bread served with a plate of fruity, extra-virgin olive oil. Try it and see if you don't agree.