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2 Amys

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My wife and I had dinner last night at the newly opened 2 Amys in Cathedral Heights (that's right, Cathedral Heights - this is NOT Cleveland Park! Macomb just west of Wisconsin Avenue). We've been waiting patiently for them to open, and the wait was definitely worth it.

We shared two appetizers and a pizza. App #1: Potato frittata. Sliced like a piece of pie, about 1.5 inches high, and served at room temperature with a nice red pepper sauce. Very nice. App #2: Rappini(?) - think of a cross between spinach and broccoli, served at room temperature, marinated a bit in garlic and balsamic vinegar. I liked this a lot. Pizza: pancetta with garlic, basil, and a few spices: This was really great. If you like fresh thin crust pizza, GO NOW. Personally, I think they could have put anything at all on this pie and it would have been good; I just loved the crust. The big deal they've made over their oven etc. is totally legit.

2 apps, pizza, (yes this was ample food for two) two glasses of chianti, plus tip = $36 (no dessert this time, but will have some on next visit).

We arrived at about 7:45, the place was full and very lively.

I loved it. Anyone else been yet?

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  1. Yes, my family went last weekend. We are big fans of Obelisk, and of Pizzeria Paradiso. The ingredients at 2 Amys (including, e.g., greens, olives, tomatoes, cheeses, etc.) were, we found, very much up to Peter Pastan's very high standards.

    However, our pizzas arrived from the oven much doughier (is that a word?), chewier, and less crispy/crackly than at Paradiso, which, I must admit, disappointed us somewhat. Indeed, everything about the pizzas was just about "there," but not quite done. Frankly, the pizzas seemed undercooked. In light of our great anticipation and fondness for Paradiso, we were mildly disappointed.

    Our waitperson informed us that the consistency of the crust was intentionally different than at Paradiso, and more authentically Neopolitan. She told us that the pizzas (and the *very* heavily vinegared salad dressing) were great, but took some getting used to, especially for folks used to Paradiso standards.

    I was, and am, a bit skeptical. It seemed to me more a matter of rushing to get numerous pizzas out of the oven, before their time (which might be understandable in light of the long waits for tables that already are developing). Why make such a fuss about the quality of the oven -- around which, we were told, the entire restaurant was premised and built -- if there's only going to be the slightest hint, or tease, of said oven when one bites into the pie?

    I'm going to try it again on a weeknight to see if the crust consistency/doneness is different when the crowds are smaller.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Marty L.

      My spouse and I tried this place on Sunday evening and liked it a lot (though the service is still learning how to do their jobs). I agree that the pizza seemed a bit "undercooked" -- the cheese and other toppings (in our case olives, capers, and proscuitto (sp?)) had a tendency to slide off when you bit into the pie. But it was tasty. But even better was a dish I'd not seen anywhere before: hot, baked olives, right from the oven. They were served in olive oil and garlic and were really great! (Maybe this is a carryover dish from Obelisk; I haven't been there in 7 or 8 years.) On the service front, when the wine I ordered from the short, inexpensive list turned out not to be available, the manager recommended a less expensive bottle than the one I had selected. I appreciated that. (I think the wine was about $16.) Cheers.

    2. Thank you both for reviewing this restaurant. It was (and still is) high on my list to try, but definitely on a weeknight!

      1. We went last week, after eagerly awaiting the opening for months. As lovers of Pizzeria Paradiso's food but not its noise, we were anxious for an alternative that was closer to our house.

        It is a very attractive space with lots more room than Pizzeria Paradiso and more comfortable seating. The appetizer--suppli al telefono, deep-fried rice balls filled with mozzarella--was quite good, if slightly bland. The pizzas took a long time to arrive--it turned out that the cook had messed up my first pie--but there was no explanation as we watched people who had ordered after us getting served.

        We thought the pizzas were good but not up to what we love about the Pizzeria Paradiso standard. As mentioned in previous notes, the crust is breadier and less crisp and the toppings seem blander and, in my case--the meatball and cherry tomato version--very wet. Also the meatballs were served whole (rather than sliced) and were awkward to eat.

        We will give the place another chance but have to say that we were disappointed about our first experience.

        Jim Zurer
        Washington DC

        PS By the way, we are just back from Naples Italy and, in fact, prefer the Paradiso pizza to what we ate in Naples this time.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Jim Zurer

          If you think that Paradiso is better than Naples (and it may be) there are several to remember if you are ever near.
          Five years ago I talked several friends into driving from D. C. to New Haven, CT just to eat pizza. We arrived at Pepe's on Wooster St. at 4:00 and joined the line to get in. Several doors up Wooster St. is Sal's Apizza. Both of these (and a third place, "The Spot" which is the original Pepe's from the early 1920's) have coal oven pizzas. This means that coal actually burns in the oven with the pizza. The tomatoes are fresh San Marzano tomatoes, the mozzarella is made for them as are all of their toppings and they use a lot of olive oil. Sal's probably puts a 1/4 to 1/3 cup on each large pie.
          These ARE the best pizzas on earth. All of us agreed that it was actually worth the trip.
          Pepe's and Sal's are FAR superior to Pizzeria Paradiso.
          They have the best pizza crust on earth better than even New York's best, Patsy Grimaldi's, at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. We stopped at this on the way home the next day for lunch.
          To complete the sweep (a life's work of eating America's best pizza compressed into 26 hours!) we pulled into South Philly (after calling to "reserve a pie") and had "dinner" at Toccanelli's which is another coal oven pizzeria consistently cited as Philly's best. All four of these (actually five counting The Spot and, there's even another incredible New Haven pizzeria called Modern that's outstanding also) were superior to Pizzeria Paradiso. When I went back to Paradiso two weeks later it was a real disappointment. It just wasn't in league with the coal oven pies.
          Crust from a coal oven is simply the best on earth. It is thin, crisp, black flecked on the bottom-totally unlike anything south of Philadelphia. I believe there are only seven or eight coal ovens left in operation in America and they operate because of grandfather clauses since they all date to the '40's and earlier. New York has two more with Totonno's in Coney Island and John's in the Village (possibly another at Lombardy's but I've never been there).
          Some people go to New Haven for an education. I go for the pizza.

          1. re: Joe

            I agree with you 100% about New Haven pizza....I finally made it there during the summer of 2000 and I was blown away--we ate at Pepe's; it was the best I have ever had.

            I have had pizza at John's and Lombardi's (both good), but I prefer the pies at Patsy's on 1st Avenue in Harlem and, even better, the legendary pizza at DiFara's in Brooklyn.

            But since I can't drive to New Haven (or Brooklyn) everytime I have a yen for pizza, Pizzeria Paradiso is a pretty good substitute.

            Jim Zurer
            Washington DC

            1. re: Jim Zurer

              I haven't been to Patsy's in Harlem but somehow I seem to think that it is/was the original location of the same Patsy Grimaldi's which is two blocks or so up from the Brooklyn Bridge. That was a GREAT pizza. In fact if I had never been to New Haven that alone would have justified a trip.
              I've travelled about 125 days a year throughout the U. S. and Europe for almost twenty years and one of the few redeeming features of this kind of travel is searching out food and wine. If my wife is with me the trips are incredible. Without her I do the business and come home. Having dinner in D. C. on Monday and Bologna on Tuesday and Reston on Wednesday with about four hours of sleep for all of this gets old after a while. Smuggling Tuscan salami past the fat customs beagles at Dulles used to justify the trip for me but now even that gets old...as they just get a bit fatter.
              The Dulles beagles probably are fed better than any animal or human on earth. They can smell epousse at a distance of 50 yards!
              The trip for pizza was one of the few times that I haven't travelled for business. Still, it's one of the best trips I've ever had.

              1. re: Joe

                The Patsy name has proliferated all over New York--I once read it was a licensing deal gone bad. My experience is that Patsy's in Harlem is vastly superior to Patsy Grimaldi's....but you should check it out.

                Even though DiFara's is not coal oven pizza, you should definitely make a visit there, if you haven't already. My cousin in Brooklyn calls him "the zen master of pizza". I would be interested in your opinion. Also have you tried the pizza in the Belmont section of the Bronx? Erratic but sometimes terrific.

                I look forward with anticipation to my next New Haven visit...

                Jim Zurer
                Washington DC

            2. re: Joe

              There's another coal-fired pizzeria in Philadelphia downtown called Lombardi's that's quite good. The Lombardi's (not related I think) in NY's Little Italy is also coal-fired and claims to be the original NY pizzeria, founded around 1906. The NY Lombardi's pizza is tasty. YOu can go into the back of the NY Lombardi's and see the coal-fired oven, which they said is the original. I'm a Malnati's Chicago pan pizza fan myself (woe to the Boston corporation that ruined Uno's, which originated the style).

              1. re: elgreene

                I've never been to Malnati's. I've had a LOT of Chicago pizza ranging from the Home Run Inn to Uno's and Due to Nancy, Giordano's and Gino's East. But not Malnati's. I also agree about Uno's. The original is wonderful. Everything outside of Chicago is a prostitution of the original. (The same is true of Ledo's here. ONLY the original location on University Blvd. in Adelphi is really good; the rest merely prostitute the name.) I visit Chicago three or four times a year on business. Do you have its address? I WILL go.

                1. re: Joe

                  The Malnati's I go to is at 6649 N. Lincoln Avenue
                  Lincolnwood, IL (just outside the city limits on the North Side). It is the original. I often stop there on the way to the airport and pick up several frozen pizzas to take home. They make the trip in fine shape. Go to http://www.loutogo.com/ for a list of the other locations around Chicago. The legend is that Lou Malnati worked at the original Uno's downtown and started his own place in 1971.

                  Sounds like you've been to most of the top pizza places in Chicago. You will definitely want to try Malnati's. Another one to try sometime is Edwardo's.

                  Link: http://www.loutogo.com/

          2. I suppose if you compare the food at 2 Amys to Paradiso, you may not like it. It's completely different though. I ate at 2 Amys for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I absolutely loved it! Reading about it here made me want to go back tonight.

            We ate suppli (the deep fried rice and mozzarella balls), mixed greens, and a margherita pizza. Above all, everything was very authentic. I was with my best friend, who is Neopolitan Italian - born in Naples and lived there until age 15. He couldn't stop remarking about how authentic the food was. He even said the suppli was as good as his mother's.

            So, even if the food at 2 Amys doesn't suit your tastes, there's nothing to criticize about the authenticy of the Neopolitan food. I think it's delicious!