Potomac Pizza

$$$$ ($14 and under)

Editorial Review

Well, like every rule, except the golden one, there are exceptions, and here's one: good fat-free pizza. And pretty good "guilt-free" pizza. Let us give thanks for little miracles.

Okay, so it's not a cure for the common cold (although I'm not too sure about that, either), but decent fat-free pizza can lure you into feeling pretty comfortable about breaking your resolutions. Not that a small amount of ordinary pizza is particularly bad for you, as long as you don't pile on those fatty meats, but there's a nice sound to "free." We owe this minor indulgence to Potomac Pizza, a family-owned sub/spaghetti/pizza house.

Already a neighborhood family favorite, Potomac Pizza is part of a growing resistance against the big chains, which seem to be in competition to offer the most fattening additions and freebies, and is returning to pizza its good name.

Sure, you can get skim milk mozzarella at other places, and a lot of pizzerias make oil-free crusts. But not all come out as tasty and crisp as Potomac's. And you can layer on, as well: When the menu says fresh eggplant, it means it, honorably grilled (and the mushrooms, too, and peppers and so on). The good crust also carries the cheese-less "guilt-free" version, which could be pretty dull. But Potomac Pizza makes lactose-intolerant customers, and the increasing number of children who doctors think may be allergic, feel less like oddballs in the takeout queue. Adorned with fresh tomatoes, broccoli and mushrooms (before you add on), the pizza suggests an open-faced picnic focaccia.

It's nice to be able to report that the subs and sandwiches are equally generous and can be as "green" or low-fat as you like. The grilled tuna for example -- made, like the tuna salad, with "dolphin-safe white meat" -- comes on your choice of whole wheat, rye, pita, tortilla wrap, kaiser or toasted sub, and with its remoulade sauce on the side. There's typical antipasto, but there's also crudites; fried chicken and veal parmigiana but also veggie burgers and roast turkey. Even the frying is done in canola oil, which is about the best you can ask for. "Small" miracles, remember.

-- Eve Zibart (Aug. 25, 2006)