• #1 by Wallman on 18 Feb 2006
  • I had lunch at Matchbox in Washington DC yesterday.† Matchbox is a small 3 story restaurant that has gotten a lot of good press in the year or so itís been open.† Itís considered one of the better pizza places in town.† They do have a wood-fired brick oven for baking pizzas Ė it smelled like they were using hickory Ė the owners are trying to emulate a NY-style pizza place.

    Pies come in 10 or 14 inch sizes with a range of toppings.† The pies are made by a 4 man line station where one guy forms the dough, 2 men apply toppings, and the fourth puts them in the oven.† The line cook making the pies used a lot of bench flour and formed two skins at a time, something Iíve not seen before.† He also worked the dough pretty hard, occasionally pounding it a bit, but no tossing in the air (Matchbox is a pretty small space).† He then put the skins on cornmeal dusted peels.

    My baked pie was very thin without much cornicione. The style seemed more Neapolitan than NY, but the dough did have a decent taste and a nice char from the oven.† I would have preferred more puff on the outer rim of my crust.† The toppings were ok, but not truly great.† I regret ordering a Pizza Margherita in the winter since the plum tomatoes, while fresh, didnít have much flavor Ė perhaps because of the season.† They do have a regular and a spicy tomato sauce that Iíll have to try another time.† The cheese was sliced whole-milk mozzarella which was a little salty.† The basil did taste nice and fresh.† I asked the bartender what type of flour they use, but she didnít know.† The place was packed so I didnít get a chance to talk to the guys on the line making pizzas or the chef who was back in the kitchen.

    Matchbox does have a few interesting quirks.† Booze flies and pizza dough comes out of the ground. There is a dumbwaiter behind the first floor bar that is used to run drinks up to the second and third floor seating areas.† Dough from the ground you ask?† While I was eating at the bar, one of the pizza makers pulled open a trap door in the floor behind the bar and ran down a flight of stairs. A few minutes later, he returned with a bunch of dough. I guess they let it rise in the basement!

    Overall, the pizza was above average, but it was not outstanding.† Iíd certainly go again, but I think the Tom L. NY-style pizza I made at home last night was better.† †Iím going to 2 Amyís next weekend which is has DOC status and is rated very highly by most local food critics.
  • #2 by Fio on 19 Feb 2006
  • I heard about Matchbox, too.  I want to try it, as well as 2 Amys.

    Have you tried PieTanza?  They are on Lee Highway, between Arlington and Falls church.  They serve wood oven pizza and it's pretty good.
  • #3 by Wallman on 19 Feb 2006
  • I have not. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the tip. Matchbox is certainly a fun place to go. It is almost always packed.
  • #4 by Flagpull on 19 Feb 2006
  • My favorite place in the DC area has to be the Italian Store on Lee Highway...if you haven't been...why!?

  • #5 by Fio on 20 Feb 2006
  • My favorite place in the DC area has to be the Italian Store on Lee Highway...if you haven't been...why!?

    I lived near there when I was in law school.  I go there occasionally.  They seem like an all-around Italian store (pasta, subs, antipasto, wine) but I've never checked whether they have good mozz and tomatoes.  Do they?

    Their subs. . . best I've ever had.


     - Fio
  • #6 by JPY on 01 Mar 2006
  • They also did a Matchbox in Palm Springs, CA.  I hear good things about it too.