Sunday, April 29, 2012
Washington, DC 20016
There's a wonderful old movie theater in the Cleveland Park area of Washington DC called the Uptown. It's a throwback theater with only one screen with usually a pretty big hit. I love the atmosphere and the nostalgia it it evokes. I went there to go see the Hunger Games (there's a theme here, folks) which was very good and as faithful as a movie can be to a book without running 4 hours long. While the Uptown has its own charm, Cleveland Park itself makes the image complete. I would compare it to a less dense Upper West Side complete with pockets of shops to browse and, of course, good restaurants.
Cactus Cantina which I remember to have some great Mexican food and even better cocktails from years ago. It looks like there is a ton of development going on in the neighborhood and it made me chuckle when there was a notice about parking on my table talking about the "Bethesdafication" of the area. I think that refers to the development of sterile, cookie-cutter neighborhood centers that lack character and are chock full of chain restaurants. I sure hope that's not the case here.
I consulted my new favorite app, Chef's Feed and it mentioned getting the Deviled Eggs and Vongole Pizza. The restaurant's website had a whole section on doughnuts that were only served at lunch during Saturdays and Sundays so I had to get that also (it was a Cinnamon one today). To start it off, I ordered a Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout. I expected it to be a dark heavy beer (which it was) with a touch of bitter finish (which it didn't have). It was filling, rich and almost a meal unto itself but much smoother than expected. The chocolate-y overtones blended in quite well with the roasted rich malt flavors and made me question why I don't drink stouts more often.
Like I mentioned with my post on the Lost Dog Cafe, my pizza tastes have migrated to preferring thin crust pizza with charred spots on the crust. When they placed the Vongole Pizza in front of me, it certainly passed the sniff and sight test for what I look for in a pizza these days. It did look like a very traditional Italian pizza and I did order another seafood pizza but I love Vongole as a pasta and besides, it was recommended. Putting fresh clams on top of the pizza (there were supposedly cockles also but I didn't taste them) allowed for their juices to blend in with the cheese and dough. The pizza definitely had the distinctive Vongole flavor I was looking for with the sweetness of the clams really coming through. The dough was flavorful and crusty with the right amount of charred/roasted spots to really give some crispiness. It did get somewhat tough to cut through in the middle where it absorbed the most juices. The one drawback of the dish was it was a little too liberal in its use of red chili flakes which is an important part of Vongole sauce but meant to give a subtle spicy kick to break up the singularity of the flavors. The flakes here were a touch overpowering and instead of enhancing some bites, it completely masked their flavors.
The food at 2Amys was clearly above your average neighborhood pizza parlor. But, what I think I loved most about the restaurant was that it had that neighborhood feel to it with the bustling conversation, myriad of families and lots of happy faces. The offering of little plates gave it more variety if you want more than just pizza but the pizza is absolutely spot on if you're a fan of thin crust, crispy just burnt, and flavorful pies.