RedRocks, Alexandria, VA

It has been far too long since I’ve been to the original RedRocks in Columbia Heights, and I finally made it for the first time to the Old Town location last night.

In December, I noticed an unusual number of bakeries I was frequenting; lately, I’ve had an inordinate amount of pizza. Granted, it’s been generally very good pizza, but it’s starting to get a bit old.

Let me start with the positive – the beers. RedRocks has a fine selection, both on draft and by the bottle, and I reveled in a perfect pint of Fullers ESB ($6). It’s a small, but well-chosen selection, and RedRocks deserves heaps of praise for listing the ABV content next to each beer.

Not so positive was a pizza Margherita ($12) which came beautifully charred from what was clearly a super-hot, wood-burning oven (note: I saw one other pizza go by with a charred “puff mark” the size of a human fist).

The tomato and basil were just fine, but the expensive glots of mozzarella di bufala just did not have the clean, fresh flavors I expect in this pizza, certainly not from the likes of RedRocks. I saved half the pizza for the next day so I could try it cool, and sure enough, there’s almost a bluish undertone to this cheese.

But the crust itself was the dealbreaker, a chewy, bready dough that reminded me of the problems that plagued Pizzeria Paradiso for so many years – it came across as more of a “dinner roll” than a pizza crust (granted, a very good dinner roll), and it was amplified because in these pizzas, there is over an inch of unadorned crust rounding the periphery.

Mind you, this pizza wasn’t bad at all, but it wasn’t the RedRocks that I knew and loved in Columbia Heights (which was absolutely one of the top handful of pizzas in the area when it first opened). So is this the way things are now, or did I catch them on an off night?

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