While a lot of places get by on gimmicks, the pizza at Comet Ping Pong might make me return even if there weren't free ping pong tables.
We wanted pizza and chicken wings - and beer is the perfect sidekick for both. The only dilemma is that I'm not a big beer drinker and I usually only want about a dozen sips. Comet Ping Pong has the perfect solution for me: half pints of beer for $3! I loved my mini-sized Allagash White ale.
Pizza #1: “The Jimmy”: meatballs, tomato sauce, mozzarella & parmesan. This was a classic cheesy pizza with the added touch of homemade meatballs.
Pizza #2: “Yalie”: fresh clams, garlic, melted onions, thyme & parmesan. We originally ordered the "Softie" which features soft-shell crabs, but they'd run out of crab. Our waitress suggested the Yalie instead. It was deliciously heavy on the garlic and parmesan, but I kept wondering what we were missing by not getting to try the crab pizza. Maybe next time.
Pizza #3: "The Smoky”: smoky mushrooms, smoky gouda, smoky bacon, melted onions & garlic. I don't remember this one tasting particularly "smoky," but it was flavorful and the crust was cooked to a perfect bubbly crisp.
I thought the food was solid and the atmosphere was a ton of fun. It's not the "best" pizza in DC, but it probably wins for most unique experience. After dinner we headed to the back of the restaurant to challenge each other in ping pong. We had to wait a bit for a table but people were generally good natured and fun to watch.
Watching inebriated people play ping pong is highly entertaining but I'm getting ahead of myself. Comet Ping Pong's food stands on it's own, so that is where I should start.
The wings were absolutely unique as they were dominated by a salty rub with hints of smoky (paprika?) and sweet (cinnamon?). Yum... wait for it... mie. As for the pizza, the dough is thin and well done. By "well done" I mean still flavorful and light, rather than gum-cutting crunchy like other overcooked thin crusts. The Jimmy tasted like your mother's spaghetti and meatballs in pizza form, which is definitely a good thing. The other two were somewhat indistinguishable because they had similar savory flavors that were heavy on the sauteed onions and garlic. Both were good but we could have ordered better.
And now back to the ping pong... Lets just say that our friends in the back of Comet Ping Pong better resembled Lt. Dan after a handle of Jack than football star, war hero, and international diplomat PFC Forrest Gump. Regardless, game on!