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Sep 4, 2010 02:16 PM

Non authentic pizza in dc

So I just moved back to DC with my girlfriend, who is from Vermont. She is looking for a pizza place that has the kind of pizza she liked back there, namely non authentic, american as hell, puffy crust, drenched in cheese goodness. And you know what? I'm starting to agree with her. To hell with this authentic margherita DOC approved pizza. I want some American pizza. Where in DC has some good pizza with puffy (not thick chicago or sicilian style) crust? None of this coal or wood fired charred crust pizza. I want massive amounts of shredded mozzerella and grease everywhere. Dominos and papa john's won't cut it. I tried ordering her angelicos and pizza movers. Both times she said not enough crust, not enough cheese.

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  1. Why can't you find that at Sbarro's? Ask for extra cheese or well done if the regular version doesn't provide enough of what you're looking for. Plus adding salt will give you that true greasy/salty/cheese-gum drippy quality you are looking for.

    Also, you can get some Penzy's Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle to add to any pizza at home for that spicy/cheesy/ salty kick.

    In Clarendon, there is a former Little Tavern called Goody's with a nice NY corner-slice pizza, but you still might have to ask for extra cheese.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      The fact that Sbarro and Jerry's are made with hobo piss notwithstanding, neither of them deliver. I know it doesn't sound like it, but I'm looking for something of decent quality, just not fancy italian style. I'm not looking for bad pizza, just not authentic pizza. Review sites don't really help because everything that gets good ratings is 2amys/red rocks/pizza paradiso style, which is awesome, just not what I'm looking for.

      Goody's sounds promising, but I'm in Columbia Heights, so it's a little far for a friday night carryout.

      1. re: TenleyExpat

        "hobo piss"

        I'm gonna steal that phrase FYI.

        1. re: TenleyExpat

          Goody's won't give you that. It's thin like NYC slice. What you're going for can be found at Famous Luigi's on 19th Street NW. Delicious and thick, but not pan or Chicago.

        1. Before I decided that eating pizza wasn't very good for me, I had settled on Vocelli's as the best of the Papa John's/Domino's kind of pie. You might give one a try.

          Also, what your friend describes sounds a good big like what Valentino's (between Annandale and Landmark in Alexandria) makes. You'd probably want to ask for extra cheese. I occasionally sneak in there for a slice when I'm feeling naughty or too healthy. ;)

          9 Replies
          1. re: MikeR

            Valentino's is more NY style than what it sounds like the OP wants.

            1. re: sweth

              Oh, not that old argument again. Someone recently described New Jersey style and it sounded to me a lot like Valentino's, which calls their pizza New York style. The's no pizza, barbecue, chili, mexican food, or even Chinese food here that's just like why you think you remember from some other city. Not gonna happen.

              "Grease everywhere" suggests sausage, though mozarella makes for an oily surface, but it's different from the boutique Neopolitan-crase pizzas that use a cheese that weeps more milky than oily. And there's puffy-at-the-edges (I think this is what he wants) which is different from puffy-everywhere Chicago style.

              There's good pizza to be had around here. We can make a good try at sending TenlyExpat off to try some pizzas that aren't what he says he isn't looking for and maybe he'll find something that appeals.

              1. re: MikeR

                ?? Not sure what your knickers are getting in a twist over, or what old argument you're referring to. Nor do I know what New Jersey pizza has to do with this discussion (or even what it is), or what a "puffy-everywhere Chicago style" would be (in my experience, Chicago-style usually means more biscuit-like than puffy).

                Regardless, to clarify my statement: the OP specifically asked for a puffy and not-charred crust, and complained that the ones they had tried had not enough crust; it sounds like what he's looking for is the soft-but-not-thick style of crust that places like Papa John's have, only with good quality rather than fast-food quality. And if that's the case, then I stand by my original statement: Valentino's crust tends to be more NY-style--relatively thin, a little charred on the bottom, and firm enough that you can fold a slice in half and the bottom of the crust will crack a little--and thus probably not exactly what he's looking for; he'd be better off finding a place that cooks the pizzas on pans/sheets rather than directly on the oven shelf as Valentino's does, as that's the key to that soft-all-over crust.

                (Tenley, if I'm misunderstanding what you're looking for, please clarify.)

                1. re: sweth

                  I've went to Valentino's for the first time recently. It's traditional NY/NJ pizza, and I think very good. I don't know "Vermont pizza" but I do know Boston suburbs Greek pizza, and this stands up very well to all of the above.

                  It also reminded me of Italian Store pizza of 2 or more years ago (which has been on a pizza nosedive recently). Valentino's also compares for taste but not substance (i.e., it's heavier than) Tony's New York Pizza in Fairfax, which is also good.

                  So all in all and not to be too snooty, Valentino's is a welcome alternative to the pompous and faddish DC Neopolitan, margherita, fresh moz, wood fired, and charred crust "pizza" that seems sophisticated here but is just plain weird to the rest of the world.

                  Italian Store
                  3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

                  New York Pizza
                  1401 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003

                  1. re: Geeyore

                    Just to add insult to injury, not only is the Italian Store pizza not quite as good as it used to be, it is also smaller now.
                    But back to the original posters question, maybe the original Ledo's. It isn't properly a pizza, it seems like it is more a sauce and cheese pie with sausage and that might just fit the prescription needed. But is the original still open? The other locations just don't measure up.

                    Italian Store
                    3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

                    Ledo Restaurant
                    4509 Knox Road, College Park, MD 20740

                    1. re: Ziv

                      The original Ledo's is moving from Langley to College Park, but I dont' think it fits the OP's description. Ledo's is a thin, crackery crust. Not chewy or puffy at all, although they're generous with the toppings. Maybe Bugsy's in Old Town? They serve mostly deep dish but they also have a thick, puffy crust and an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet, but that cheese coagulates pretty quick.

                      Ledo Restaurant
                      4509 Knox Road, College Park, MD 20740

                  2. re: sweth

                    Nope, that's exactly what I am looking for, I wanted to put it in pretty much the exact same words but I knew the charlatans would just say HUR HUR THEN GO TO PAPA JOHNS!

                    1. re: TenleyExpat

                      The replies (including mine) suggest that you won't find everything you want in any one pizza that people have experienced around here. I stand by my suggestion that you keep trying places that you haven't tried that exhibit some of the characteristics you're looking for and see if you can come up with one that you consistently like.

                      People's range and definition of parameters such as puffy, charred, thin, crisp vary a lot. Nor are there measurable standards for NY Pizza or any other regional style. I can remember pre-Internet when Armand's brought "Chicago" pizza to the area (followed shortly by Uno), other places that made just plain ol' pizza started making thick, buttery crust pizzas, mostly in square pans, that were similar in concept, taste, and feel to the Chicago pizzas making the rounds, and calling it "Neapolitan style" which, we've recently been taught is something completely different.

                      Hope you find a pizza you like. If not, look forward to one on a trip home.

              2. re: MikeR

                Love Valentino's -- best slice anywhere in DC metro - but I don't think that's what Ex-Pat's looking for.

              3. I really laughed when I read this as I lived in VT for several years before I moved here and I thought the "Greek pizza" found everywhere there was godawful. The one pizza place I found in VT that I adored was Wicked Good Pizza in Ludlow, but I digress.

                I hated PIzza Autentica here (on L St.) -- very greasy and drippy. I'm thinking she might really like it. I'm recommending it too because I have a friend here who thinks it's wonderful. It might be worth trying.

                2 Replies
                1. re: woodleyparkhound

                  Well if you have spent any time in Burlington, Big Daddy's there is what she is trying to emulate. I have never heard of Vermont Greek pizza, but when I lived there I pretty much stayed in Burlington. I had no idea Vermont even had its own style.

                  1. re: TenleyExpat

                    I never had pizza in Burlington; I lived four hours from there. I think of "Vermont PIzza" and "Greek pizza" as synonymous. I would go to a pizza place and think "this is horrible", then go to another and think "this is also horrible, and similar to the last one" etc. etc. etc. When I asked, I was told that everyone sold "Greek pizza". Mystery solved. Eventually I gave up on pizza until I discovered Wicked Good in Ludlow - I drove an hour plus for it when I had a strong pizza craving.

                2. angelos. a bunch of locations around nw dc