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Tom Sietsema Likes Three Neapolitan Newbies

Pupatella
Pupatella
Photo: Hue K./Yelp

In lieu of a traditional review, Tom Sietsema tours three newish Neapolitan pizza restaurants to see how they stack up. Are they authentic? Are they delicious? First stop is DC's Menomale. The critic is more impressed with the "pleasantly yeasty" pizzas than the large starters, but has particularly positive thoughts about the beverages.

You're missing half the fun if you don't imbibe or at least listen to Estes expound on his favorite subject. Smashed Blueberry, a hybrid between a porter and a Scotch ale, smells like a warm fruit pie...

He finds much to like in Pizza CS in Rockville's concise menu, too, such as the "beautifully charred Moto pizza" and the "simple, satisfying margherita." The final stop is the brick-and-mortar location of Pupatella in Arlington, where "No matter the topping, the crusts are the kind you could eat by themselves: a little smoky, fragrant with yeast, never soupy in the center.". [WaPo]

For his first bite, Del Ray Cafe in Alexandria is Sietsema's destination. The restaurant, from the same owners of Old Town's La Bergerie, makes a good pork chop and roast chicken, but the service is lacking.

I've never dropped by that an air of confusion doesn't cloud a meal. Water fails to appear, even after we ask for it. Servers forget orders. When I call to make a reservation, a cheerful receptionist tells me only parties of six or more can book a table, but if I call ahead as I'm leaving home, I can put my name on a wait list.

Don Rockwell visits two Arlington destinations. At Thai Noy, a perennial favorite, he finds the emerald curry with chicken and keng per yang "very good to excellent" and is equally pleased with two new-to-him dishes: shrimp chu chee and wild boar basil. The restaurant in a nutshell:

Always good, sometimes excellent, almost never anything more than that. It defines what a "neighborhood restaurant" is and should be.

At Retro Ray's, Rockwell decides to compare the cheapest steak on the menu to the most expensive. In the hanger vs. Delmonico faceoff, both fare favorably. "That hanger steak, at $16.99 (assuming you can get it for that) is one of the most amazing deals in town considering it comes with potatoes and spinach." [Don Rockwell]

THE BLOGS: At Mintwood Place, DMV Dining enjoys the "mammoth platter of sliced, succulent pork" that is the roasted pork for two. DC Wrapped Dates gives 4.5 out of 5 stars to Rappahannock Oyster Bar at Union Market. Capital Cooking goes for pretty much anything with eggs at Oyamel's brunch. Bitches Who Brunch are on the dinner beat at Southern Hospitality, where lobster ravioli and mussels are favorites.

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