2 Amys, Cathedral Heights

(See the March 27, 2011 Review here.)

It was a looong wait for a patio table at 2 Amys – a four-top was lingering, and we were relegated to the bar while we waited for them to <Terminator>GET OUT</Terminator> (there are worse fates than being relegated to 2 Amys’ bar).

As we waited, a local culinary celebrity walked in from the patio. For privacy reasons, I won’t reveal his name here, but I will say that his initials are J.M., it was not John Malkovich, and his name rhymes with Bonnie Bonus.

“Did you order pizzas?”

<nods head>

“Any good?”

“Yep. Just make sure to ask for them well-done.”

That was good enough for me. We started with a bottle of great rosé, the 2009 Masciarelli Rosé d’Abruzzo (a gentle $24) which 2 Amys’ menu wryly describes as, “Bright, flashy, and so much fun, just like a cheap date. 100% Montepulciano grapes.” While this description is funny, I think this wine is better than that!

Potato and Prosciutto Croquettes ($5.95) are perfect for picky eaters, hungry children, and gourmets alike – other than vegetarians, there may not be anyone in the world who wouldn’t like these, and they went so well with the wine.

We quelled a hungry child on some Root Vegetable and Prosciutto Crostini ($3 each) at the bar, and it looked so good that we got two more for the table (it’s always, always a great idea to take a peek at the little snacks behind the bar before ordering – if something looks appealing, it’s a safe bet you’re going to like it). The root vegetable here was, if I’m not mistaken, primarily celeriac purée, and there was an ample amount of prosciutto, too.

The star of the night was the Radish, Celery, and Fennel Salad with Mustard Dressing and Hard-Cooked Egg ($6), an astonishing salad with the half-egg served on the side. It is imperative, repeat, imperative, to mash that egg up into the salad because an even distribution is what takes it from “great” to “earth-shattering.” This simple little salad was one of the great food items I’ve had in 2011.

The pizzas were indeed ordered “well done” (and I strongly urge everyone not to forget to do this), and my special Asparagus, Caramelized Onions, Anchovies, and Grana ($13.25) was the best pizza I’ve had at 2 Amys probably in years (I’ve come here many dozens of times over the past 15 years or so (can’t remember what year they opened)). Asparagus is in season, and this was a darned good use of it. The crust was beautifully cooked, with good char and good flavor – 2 Amys took a hiatus with their pizzas for a long time, but based on this evening? They’re back with a fury – still not quite what they were before, but better than they’ve been in a good while. Something has changed here (the dough? the pizzaiolo?), and 2 Amys now gets pushed back up to the pinnacle of pizzas in DC proper.

Back a couple days later, I wanted to see if the pizzas were really that good, or if it was just an “on” night. We snagged a deuce on the patio.

The same wonderful bottle of Rosé (please do get this), and another one of those titanic salads (actually not as amazing as the previous one, mainly due to sloppy dressing, but still squarely in the “great” category). We also ordered a 16-ounce bottle of Sprecher Root Beer which is one of the best root beers I’ve ever tasted. If you like root beer, get this.

My young dining companion got a Norcia ($12.95), as he often does, with tomato, salami grilled peppers, fresh mozzarella, and grana (he gets torn between the salami and the pepperoni). I got the Calabrese ($11.95) with tomato, onion, anchovy, fresh mozzarella, parsley, olives, and pecorino. Both were ordered well-done, and both were just as good as the pizzas from the other night.

They were good enough where we ordered a third pizza to go, a Two Amys ($8.95) with tomato and fresh mozzarella, which we enjoyed for breakfast the following morning – it was left out overnight at room temperature, and not reheated the next morning (this is my preferred way of eating well-made Neapolitan pizza as leftovers).

I have been somewhat critical of 2 Amys’ pizzas over recent years, but based on these two visits? I can’t get back here soon enough.

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