Cheap Eats 2007: Comet Ping Pong

Pizza, beer, and Ping-Pong come together in an arty dining room. Photograph by Sam Kittner.

DC’s pizza wars are heating up, thanks in part to the arrival of Buck’s Fishing & Camping chef Carole Greenwood’s hipster pizzeria, which embraces the New Haven school of pizza-making, sheet trays and all. There’s even a riff on the Wooster Street mecca Pepe’s most famous pie—a white pizza with fresh clams.

Comet Ping Pong is an enigmatic place—a cavernous space with steel booths in front and Ping-Pong tables in back—populated by distractable servers in scruffy clothes. Even the unmarked bathrooms, painted inside with Bruegel-meets-21st-century murals, have their mysteries—you have to push the right spot on the wall to find one.

When the misshapen little pies are as they should be—and they’re sometimes not—they’re wonderful, brittle and blistered in all the right places and topped with high-quality ingredients—tangy sauce made from locally grown tomatoes, mozzarella from the milk of Virginia buffalo. For a buck extra per topping, add smoked cremini mushrooms, melted onions, and merguez sausage.

Though the menu changes often, there’s little beyond the pizzas—overdressed and overpriced salads, maybe a bowl of minestrone or a plate of hot wings. Remember—you’re here for the pizza.

Open nightly except Monday for dinner.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.