Pupatella, Arlington, VA

(See the June 21, 2011 Review here.)

Confession time. A few years ago, I had called Pupatella the new king of pizza in the DC area, having wrested that (unofficial, but correct) award away from Comet Ping Pong, which had previously wrested it away from the intractable 2 Amys – if it wasn’t for someone coming in and shaking things up a little bit, 2 Amys would still be cruising right along, widely considered the best pizza because it is still excellent (though since Edan Macquaid left, it has never been the same), but the reality is that it has been surpassed.

However, the last several times I had pizza at Pupatella, Pizzaiolo-Owner Enzo Algarme and GM-Owner Anastasia were absent (they are new parents), and the pizzas suffered because of it. Oh, they were still good pies, but they no longer deserved to be called “the best in DC.” I was going to make it official after this visit.

However, after this visit, I can safely say that when Enzo is manning the oven – and lo and behold – he was on this visit, they *are* the best pizzas in the DC area. So, if you walk in and see him there, you’re in for a real treat; if you walk in and he isn’t there, you’re in for merely a very good pizza, but not the best in town (in these situations, the award goes to Ghibellina in 14UP which, during happy hour, produces the single best value pizza in DC history – trust me and try it sometime, and you can write to thank me at donrockwell@dcdining.com). 🙂

To those who say “it doesn’t matter if the chef is in the kitchen,” you’re wrong. So just get some more experience dining out, and you’ll see for yourselves.

Pupatella was running a special wine deal – with the purchase of two pizzas, you got $15 off   a brand new Erbalino that I’d never seen before  – whatever Pupatella’s 2-pizza, $10-off wine happens to be, it’s a deal that you should always get. The wine is always good (both one white and one red to choose from), and it makes the price so, so much more gentle.

Two pizzas, a white and a red, and both given my highest recommendation:

The white: a Mimosa ($12) with Italian cream, roasted corn, prosciutto cotto, and fresh mozzarella

The red: a Capricciosa ($13), certainly one of my standing orders here, with Sauteéd mushrooms, marinated artichokes, Proscuitto cotto, and fresh mozzarella

Both pies complemented each other very well, and since the Capricciosa has ham and artichokes, it goes very well with a white wine. These are pizzas of Pupatella’s Halcyon Days, enjoy this great pizzeria now, before Enzo and Anastasia get so busy being parents that they’ll need to hire more help, expand, etc. It’s a beautiful moment in time that won’t last forever (it would be a lovely fantasy to think otherwise, but the odds are stacked against it).

You’re back, Pupatella, #1. Best Pizza in the DC area.

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