Saturday, February 8, 2014

Italian Pizza Kitchen

The Italian Pizza Kitchen is a casual restaurant serving Italian-American classics such as pasta, pizza, paninis, and calzones.  With a location in the U Street neighborhood and one in Woodley Park, we stopped by the Woodley Park spot for lunch one day after visiting the National Zoo.  Closest Metro is Woodley Park.

When Keith and I were first dating, we went to the National Zoo to see the newborn panda at the time, Tai Shan.  Now, after being married for 1000 days, we decided to recreate that date and returned to the zoo to see Tai Shan's new baby sister, Bao Bao.

First, we saw her father, Tian Tian, munching on bamboo in the yard.  Then we went inside to the Panda House where Bao Bao stays as she is too young to venture outside just yet.  Her mother, Mei Xiang, came over to nurse the baby, so we only got a sneak peek at the top of Bao Bao's head.  Nevertheless, it was such a sweet sight to see up close.  We also saw the Sumatran tiger twin cubs that are 6 months old now, the elephants, orangutans, and seals.  A baby gray seal was just born about 2 weeks ago, hence it was too soon to see her.  Many of the other animals were hiding inside to stay warm.  It was still fun to walk around the zoo.  Afterwards, we were hungry and looked for a place nearby to grab lunch and warm up a bit.

The dining room of the Italian Pizza Kitchen was nothing special, reminiscent of a sports bar with big screen TVs mounted on the wall and a bar towards the back.  It was empty inside, and we were the only patrons, so the bartender came over to us and took our drink order.  I was hoping for a wine special, but there was none and we settled on a $37 bottle of cheap Merlot from the limited menu.

For food we decided to share the La Don Giovanni pizza topped with fresh spinach, sausage, mozzarella, and smoked mozzarella with tomato sauce.  While the ingredients were fresh and the crust was chewy, this style of pizza was very "American" and reminded me of Pizza Hut-style pizza.  We also ordered the Napoletana calzone stuffed with ham, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, and tomato sauce.  It was served with parmesan cheese on top and an additional side of marinara sauce.  The calzone was quite large and unfortunately, under cooked in the very middle.  The cheese was not melted and cold, which kind of spoiled the whole dish for me.  However, it did have tasty ingredients and the crust was very crunchy and almost buttery with hints of garlic.

Overall, the food and wine we had at the Italian Pizza Kitchen was mediocre and average.  I appreciated the accessibility, since most other restaurants nearby were closed.  The food came relatively quick since the restaurant was not busy, but there was nothing special that would warrant my return.

Total Rating: 3.1
Food: 3, Price: 3, Service: 3, Ambience: 3, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:
La Don Giovanni
fresh spinach, sausage, mozzarella, smoked mozzarella with tomato sauce

ham, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese with tomato sauce

Italian Pizza Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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