Jason

Comet Ping-Pong - GM James Alfantis' Pizza and Ping-Pong on Connecticut Avenue in Upper NW

315 posts in this topic

Hate to be negative about such a raved-about place, but it was a bit of a let-down. I might have a chance to go again around New Year's for lunch, so I'm willing to give them a second chance...but it's sort of a long haul to go for the off chance that they ease up on the salt. Has anyone had any success asking the kitchen to be easy on the salt?

Thank you for posting your honest experience. Sometimes, places just aren't to your liking, and people don't or are afraid to post that (see other thread). So kudos.

Funnily enough, I have only asked the kitchen at Chinese restaurants, and they do end up easing up on the salt. Asking never hurts, right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Went to Comet Ping Pong last night for the first time. I'd heard a LOT of good things about this place (plus having a Living Social coupon didn't hurt!). Comet was packed as expected, indoors and out, even on a Wednesday. My friend and I shared two apps and two pizzas, with a couple half carafes of red wine. First of all, their hot wings blew me away. I almost didn't order them, as I consider myself to be a bit of a buffalo wing snob (I've been to Anchor Bar multiple times and use Anchor Bar sauce at home). But the waitress highly recommended them, so I gave them a shot. The flavor was dark and smoky, unlike anything I'd ever had on a wing. They also came with a creamy horseradish dipping sauce which complemented them really well. I'd come back just for those! Our other app, the wood-roasted cauliflower, was surprisingly good as well. My first thought was "Who puts a cauliflower appetizer on the menu at a pizza place?" I'd recently discovered that roasting cauliflower is the only way I like it, and their cauliflower was the best I've ever had.

On to the pizza. My friend ordered the Stanley, and added garlic. I ordered a simple cheese and pepperoni pizza. At first glance, their pizzas don't look like much. They're smallish and have a kind of greasy appearance. But once you taste it, you finally realize that everything Don has been saying is true. Even my friend noted that my simpler pizza was better because it allowed the basic ingredients to shine. I don't think I've ever been this impressed by a pizza and wings combo. Not to mention that the place has more character than fifty other restaurants put together.

If I didn't live in old town Alexandria, I would come here all the time. Nevertheless, I will return as soon as possible.

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Comet Ping-Pong reminds me of a former straight-A honor student that has figured out exactly how much effort to put out in order to get "good" grades. I had a late lunch here yesterday, and ordered a bloody mary and The Smoky (smoked bacon, smoked mushrooms, melted onions, smoked mozz, garlic). This was a favorite once upon a time, but I wouldn't order it again based on yesterday's pie. Heavy toppings with thick doughy outer crust, stretched too thin in the middle and sodden with oil. The quality of the ingredients is still there, but the execution is lacking.

As my high-school guidance counselor used to say, "you're just not achieving to your potential."

(A downloadable PDF menu? I'm sorry, but that's going down on your permanent record.)

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Second Heather's assessment, based on dinner last week. The duck salami pizza was just ok, with that doughy outer crust, and covered with a mountain of greens.

The salad was nicely dressed, though, and the wings remain a standout. I'd go back for beer and wings, but the pizza is not worth the trip at this point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This piece, in a perfect world, would pay some deference to Comet Ping-Pong.

P.S. Still undefeated, with nary a challenger in view.

And still.

post-2-0-27517500-1419811779_thumb.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, ktmoomau said:

Aiming to go this Sunday or next and show support!

Don't worry about showing support; worry more about getting a seat.

I stopped into Comet Ping Pong last night, after two Tweets (made with the blessing of James Alefantis) which, for me, were a bit on the controversial side, thinking I'd be walking into an empty restaurant; I could not have been more wrong.

There was a gentleman working the front door who had been hired from a security agency, just to make his presence felt, but there were also some people eating outside on the patio, some others waiting at the door to get inside the full restaurant, and a completely full bar area, with several people (including me) standing against the wall waiting to get a seat - I probably waited at least twenty minutes for a single seat to open up, and another girl would have taken it if I didn't need it (I offered it to her repeatedly, but she said she had another friend coming, and that it was okay - if it wasn't difficult for me to stand right now, I would have never taken her up on it). 

Comet Ping Pong's bar was as busy at 6:30 PM on this Wednesday night as I've ever seen it during the week (they were, according to James, closed Monday, but apparently things went swimmingly last night). The bar offers 15 interesting beers in bottles and cans, in the $5-7 range with one outlier at $3 (PBR) and another at $8 (Victory Dirtwolf Double IPA), then four British pint drafts at $7, and several wines by the glass and bottle. I also counted 66 bottles of liquor on their two small mixed-drink shelves behind the small bar, but this is, for the most part, a place to have a hipster brew.

Comet Ping Pong's menu (that's a 180K .pdf file) is larger than I've ever seen it, I hadn't been in a long, long time, and I went back to an old favorite, the Comet Hot Wings w/ Dipping Sauce ($7). You get a plastic tray, lined with paper, with six, jerk-style wings in a thick, creamy, horseradish-based dipping sauce that's something like a pudding in texture. Even though the sauce provides some nasal-toned heat with the horseradish, its cool creaminess helps to neutralize the jerk-like heat generated by the chicken, which I suspect is due to Scotch Bonnet (Habanero) pepper used as part of the rub. These are really delicious wings, hot but not super-hot, and very different from what they once were under Carole Greenwood (but similar to how I remember them from a few years ago - they've been jerk-style wings for years now). The quality of the chicken itself was better under Greenwood, but this is still a quality product, and one which I would gladly get again, and am happy to recommend to you.

I hadn't eaten anything all day, but the wings curbed my hunger. I compromised by ordering a Chopped Salad ($9) with chopped romaine (that's the "chopped" part), chickpeas, radicchio, provolone, Savoy cabbage, no salami (which was optional), and oregano dressing. This was a diptych salad, with half on the left (the provolone, chick peas, et al), and most of the greens on the right - why they do this, I'm not sure, but it worked well enough - it was dressed reasonably well, and was a good combination of flavors. The chopped salad from Comet Ping Pong was better in the past, but there was nothing wrong with this, and I'm glad I got it, without feeling the need to urge others to do the same.

As part of the compromise, I ordered two Tomato Pies to go ($8.95 each) with Comet Tomato Sauce and Fresh Mozzarella. Comet used to bottle their own tomato sauce at Toigo Orchards, and they still may be - it was Carole Greenwood who started this (there are pictures of this on her chat), and they still may be using Toigo - I suspect they were using Toigo's surplus of non-perfect-looking tomatoes in order to make this wonderfully fresh sauce. I only ate two pieces while they were hot, and this is very good pizza, without hitting the heights that it hit under Greenwood's baton - my biggest problem is the outer periphery of crust, which is just too big for its own good, and the pizzas themselves seem to have gotten an inch or two smaller in diameter over the years - they're pretty small pies, definitely individual-sized (they've always been individual-sized, but now they're even smaller).

I had a really nice dinner at Comet Ping Pong (which included a few of their $5-7 beers - well-stored Great Lakes Beers are *always* welcome in my life). Most importantly, I'm happy to report that Comet Ping Pong was *rocking* last night - it was swamped with loyal customers, showing solidarity against terrorism, and proving that while there may not always be safety in numbers, there *is* confidence in numbers, and this was on full display last night - there wasn't a worry in the house, and I can assure businesses in the area who are worried about this, that you have nothing to worry about (other than competition from Comet Ping Pong). Folks, please don't forget that these other surrounding businesses took a hit as well - please throw your support their way if you're in the area; Comet is doing just fine!

17 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Comet used to bottle their own tomato sauce at Toigo Orchards, and they still may be - it was Carole Greenwood who started this (there are pictures of this on her chat), and they still may be using Toigo - I suspect they were using Toigo's surplus of non-perfect-looking tomatoes in order to make this wonderfully fresh sauce. . . Folks, please don't forget that these other surrounding businesses took a hit as well - please throw your support their way if you're in the area; Comet is doing just fine!

Little Red Fox next-door sells the Comet Ping Pong tomato sauce in glass jars, I am sure it is on the label . . . will check it out.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, DaveO said:

Big big crowd tonight.  Too crowded. Going elsewhere

This makes me happy - I'll join later as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, DaveO said:

Big big crowd tonight.  Too crowded. Going elsewhere

You unknowingly walked into a shitstorm - this weekend is #StandWithComet.

A lot of well-meaning folks (including me) may want to rush over to support Comet, but believe me, they don't need your support right now - they are *packed*. 

I think it would be better to support neighboring businesses who may still be hurting; Comet is busier now than I've ever seen it (and, to be perfectly honest, not as good as it was when Carole Greenwood was in charge of the food, although it's still good).

Better still would be to support businesses close to you who sit empty, night-after-night, even though they're putting out a good product.

"Patrons Use Dough To Back Pizza Place Targeted by Fake News" by Jessica Gresko on abcnews.go.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/8/2016 at 5:51 AM, DonRocks said:

Comet used to bottle their own tomato sauce at Toigo Orchards, and they still may be - it was Carole Greenwood who started this (there are pictures of this on her chat), and they still may be using Toigo - I suspect they were using Toigo's surplus of non-perfect-looking tomatoes in order to make this wonderfully fresh sauce. . . Folks, please don't forget that these other surrounding businesses took a hit as well - please throw your support their way if you're in the area; Comet is doing just fine!

The tomato sauce is still made with Toigo tomatoes, you can buy jars of the sauce at Little Red Fox, and perhaps at Comet directly.  

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, DonRocks said:

You unknowingly walked into a shitstorm - this weekend is #StandWithComet.

they are *packed*. 

They were the other night.  I just discovered the hashtag on SM today.

Hope the effort has staying power as I still find pizza gate fake news posts on SM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now