100 Best Restaurants 2009: Comet Ping Pong

No. 81: Comet Ping Pong

Cuisine: Chef Carole Greenwood, a locavore before the term was trendy, embellishes her thin-crust, wood-fired pizzas with everything from soft-shell crabs to pepperoni.

Mood: Young parents, hipster yuppies, and Ping-Pong enthusiasts all flock to this witty riff on an old-time pizza parlor. The warehouse-chic decor is softened by reclaimed-wood benches, and cool light fixtures ramp up the funky atmosphere.

Best for: Parents who aren’t willing to trade in grown-up dining after Junior arrives as well as diners who see nothing blasphemous in washing a pie down with wine.

Best dishes: Spicy chickpea-and-green-bean salad with kaffir-lime leaves and lemon; spice-rubbed wings, sometimes hot, sometimes not; perfectly simple tomato-and-mozzarella pie; the Yalie, topped with clams, Parmesan, and an aromatic blend of fresh garlic, onion, and thyme; the Little Lamb, which brings together lamb sausage, potato slices, melted onions, sage, Gorgonzola, and dates.

Insider tips: Get there early and some dishes might not be made yet; get there late and you risk a lengthy wait. Bands occasionally play, and don’t forget the free table tennis in the back.

Service: ••

Open Monday through Friday for dinner, Saturday and Sunday for lunch and dinner. Inexpensive.

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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.