H &pizza on H Street NE
By Nevin Martell
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
When you walk into H &pizza on the main drag of the Atlas District, there’s a sense of deja vu. There are echoes of the classic pizzeria aesthetic, along with unique signature stylings. The exposed brick is painted white with black accents; a floor-to-ceiling tomato-red ampersand makes a statement on the left wall. There are picnic tables and benches. Historical black-and-white photographs of H Street hang along the right side.
You can watch your pie take shape; you’ll notice that it’s rectangular instead of round. The pizza is big enough to feed one hungry diner, though a trio could get away with ordering two. Co-owners Steve Salis, 28, and Michael Lastoria, 32, spent two years designing and testing; they are first-time restaurateurs who moved from New York to open H &pizza in mid-July.
Begin by choosing one of three crusts: a traditional white-flour crust that’s more Neapolitan than New York, a winning multigrain or a surprisingly top-notch whole-wheat. All three are resilient when loaded up, and survive a takeout box. If you craft a custom job ($6.82 to $8.64), you’ll next decide on one of several sauces. The best I tried was the spicy tomato, which started out smooth and ended with a swift kick. (The aromatic mushroom truffle was a close second.) However, the regular tomato sauce was underseasoned and crying out for a salt shaker. Your composition is baked via conveyor belt, and the whole process takes about five minutes.
H &pizza offers six cheeses, including a punchy provolone blend and a slightly stringy house-made mozzarella that possesses a nice, milky flavor. Standouts among the numerous toppings: a spot-on pepperoni, hearty hot sausage and a host of vegetables and finishing touches such as oregano oil and a pleasantly sweet fig marsala spread.
The house pies I tried are worth checking out. H &pizza’s bestseller is the Maverick ($8.64), a quadruple threat crowned with soppressata, sausage, pepperoni and bacon. The hands-down favorite was the breakfast-for-dinner Farmer’s Daughter ($8.64), which sports a pair of over-easy eggs, spicy tomato sauce, mozzarella, sausage, crisped spinach, a melted shower of Parmesan and a finishing drizzle of red pepper chili oil.
While you’re waiting, pick a drink. Options include sodas such as Foxon Park cherry ($2.73) and alcoholic beverages that can’t be carried out: several beers, such as DC Brau’s Citizen ($4.77), as well as wines ($5.45 a glass).