"New York is the center of the country," Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney says like a true New Yorker. "It's the center of finance, Broadway, the arts–and pizza."
Maloney, who represents parts of Manhattan and Queens, is partial to the pies from Pintaile's on the Upper East Side and Alba's in Astoria, Queens. Despite her hometown allegiances, she agreed to compare slices of New York-style plain cheese pizza from Washington establishments and pick her three favorites.
New York pizza is characterized by a thin, chewy crust. While most Washington pizza shops claim to make New York-style pies, only a few taste authentic. To Maloney, the key is dough that has been hand-tossed and baked in a wood-burning oven.
Employing the New York "lift and fold" eating method while members of her staff waited their turn, Maloney admitted it was hard to pick a winner: "Pizza is always good. I could eat all of them."
1. Radius Pizza (3155 Mount Pleasant St., NW; 202-234-0808). This restaurant opened in May, and its pizza was Maloney's favorite: "It has such a gentle taste. A very good combination of cheese and ingredients." Large plain pie $16.95.
2. The Italian Store (3123 Lee Hwy., Arlington; 703-528-6266). Maloney thought this pie–a close second–was a bit heavy on cheese but it had "more zip than the others." Large pie $11.99.
3. Corner Slice (7901 Norfolk Ave., Bethesda; 301-907-7542). "Tasty," Maloney said, "with a light crust." Large pie $14.65.
Also-rans were the pies from Pumpernickel's Delicatessen (5504 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-244-9505), large pie $13, and Cappuccino's Pizza (1438 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-337-5115), large pie $12.76.
Washingtonian staffers contributing to this section were Cristina Abello, Susan Baer, Susan Davidson, Ken DeCell, Rebecca Dreilinger, Kim Isaac Eisler, Mary Clare Fleury, Kimberly Forrest, Brooke Lea Foster, Garrett M. Graff, Cynthia Hacinli, Thomas Head, Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Chad Lorenz, Leslie Milk, Aparna Nancherla, William O'Sullivan, Cindy Rich, and Chris Wilson. Also contributing were Cathy Alter, Ann Cochran, and Matthew Graham.