Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pizzeria Paradiso - Guest Post

B and J proudly present A Two DC production in association with Family-Visiting-From-Out-of-Town Studios: another guest blog post!

Pizzeria Paradiso
was packed. Pripsters (the awkward combo of prepsters and hipsters) in pirate-print pants snaked between students, parents, not-so-local locals, well-dressed security, and even a family or two in their quest for the door, dragging the strong smell of wood and basil out with them. The host, in a too-cool cap, quoted long waits to weary folks undeterred by the throng spilling into the small window seat. It seems only fitting that paradise would have a hellish waiting-room.

Sitting there, in my well-wrung seat in the window, after a brisk tour of the closing mall and surrounding stone-front shops, I realized that I really didn't know what to expect from a Georgetown pizzeria. Our waiting list pager spasmed to life and we pressed ourselves up to the host and followed diligently as a waitress, with dancing tatoos, encouraged us to squeeze past tables of pairs to reach our seat.

The beer list was certainly strong and inviting, New England and Western Europe in full force. I chose a medium bodied Belgian, which happily lasted me most of the meal. We dove into the garlic bread which arrived shortly, but I found it short of flavor and long of charcoal. Apparently wood isn't the only thing that burns in these ovens. There were moments when the sour dough was rich and flakey, but most of the time I felt the crust lacked in flavor and texture.

So what's the deal? Turns out its the toppings. I was the big winner, opting for their "Atomica" combination, whose sausage and pepper flakes kept my taste-buds at a sharp simmer for the duration of my meal. I wouldn't call it hot, but it did keep me returning to my beer. Others at my table were less fortunate, opting mostly for simpler pizzas which seemed bland by comparison.

For the most part, I was underwhelmed. The ambiance was hip, and the aromas and ales were enticing, but I have had pizzas that left me tasting them for days, and Paradiso was a distant memory by bedtime. Sorry Pripsters, not my style.

Second Thoughts from B and J

DC seems to have its fair share of really great pizzerias - 2 Amys, Matchbox, and Pete's, just to name a few - and most feature long waits that are worth it in the end. Despite several recommendations from fellow DCers, we found Pizzeria Paradiso to have that familar line but not the payoff at the end.

As mentioned, the scene was far more memorable than the pizza, and to be clear, "memorable" in this case is not a particularly good thing. The dough was bland and it unfortunately dominated these thick-crusted pies. Out of the four pizzas ordered that night, only one was "interesting" by our standards. However, that many people can't all be wrong, right? Maybe there is an appeal for less bold flavors and textures, but instead, I tend to think of an analogy that my father once told me about dog poop... "can 10,000 flies really be wrong?"
Pizzeria Paradiso (Georgetown) on Urbanspoon

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