Welcome to Food Court, a new, semi-regular peek at noteworthy restaurants in the Capitol Hill dining-verse.
First up on the docket: fledgling Atlas District pie-slinger H &Pizza.
The nearly month-old restaurant specializes in flatbread-style productions layered with a mix of house-made (spicy Italian sausage, stringy mozzarella, tangy preserved red onions) and meticulously sourced ingredients (San Marzano tomato-based sauce imported from the Campagna region in Italy, eggs from farms in Virginia’s Northern Neck region, Nueske’s applewood-smoked bacon).
The vegetarian-friendly Moonstruck struck me as rather elegant, marrying savory truffle cream sauce with dulcet fig marmalade, salty goat cheese and scintillating chili pepper oil. Some of my companions found the splash of fig overpowering, commenting that the entire endeavor should be relegated to the dessert side of the carte.
The Maverick turned out to be a consensus builder. Companions virtually inhaled the rectangular slabs of resiliently chewy crust decorated with crumbled Italian sausage (smacks of herbs and spices), ribbons of baked sopresatta (raises the heat index), sliced pepperoni (deliciously spicy) and matchsticks of smoky bacon (divine swine).
Though Salis confessed to being a fan of a certain ornery Arizonan, he stressed that the featured meat carnival is purely apolitical. “I actually like John McCain. But it wasn’t inspired by him,” Salis said of the Senator, explaining that “maverick” was on the short list of restaurant names, too.
According to Salis, business is booming. So much so, in fact, that he anticipates he’ll blow through 1,500 pounds of the specialty curd shipped in from Wisconsin to jumpstart their mozzarella within the next 30 days.
And while my office mates were put off by the one fruit-laced offering, Salis said he's seen enough folks weave a handful of specialty sauces — the aforementioned fig marsala, strawberry-infused balsamic vinegar and herbaceous salsa verde — into their own custom orders to warrant building the trio into future features.
H &Pizza: 1118 H St. NE, 202-733-1285. Open for lunch and dinner daily, late-night dining Friday and Saturday.