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2 Amys, Wisconsin Ave. and Macomb Street - Great Wine, Small Plates, Pizza, and Desserts - No Longer DOCG Pizza, but Who Cares?

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On 10/3/2018 at 2:27 PM, jca76 said:

glad to hear that they are ramping up a bit.  there were no hot specials as of sunday (when rick was there).  i don't know whether they lost staff during the closure, but jeffrey coincidentally left about a week before the flood, and i don't think they've replaced him with another chef yet.

I've been to 2 Amys 2-3 times since they reopened. A couple things I've noticed are:

* They now have two unisex restrooms

* The tables in the main dining room seem more bunched together (tonight, it was difficult to navigate from one side of the room to the other)

Neither of these is "good" or "bad" so much as they are observations, though I do miss the picture of Sophia Loren.

PS - Get a bottle of the "Carbonic Sangiovese" ($30) - it will come in a carafe, but I've had it each time I've recently been, and haven't regretted it. Think: Cru Beaujolais (Morgon or Moulin-a-Vent) in the best possible sense - this quality of wine would generally set you back 50% more in Restaurant World.

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I'm happy to say that 2Amys seems to be back at full strength.  There are now multiple special pizzas and hot kitchen specials every night. And the wine bar specials is back to its pre-flood length.  They've also added a champagne section to their wine list.  It's on the expensive side and doesn't seem to have the amazing low/no markup pricing that was sometimes on the old "reserve" list or that Etto had/has for champagne  But it's a nice addition.   

I haven't noticed a change in table spacing.  The unisex restrooms strike me as a good solution to the fact that one restroom typically had a wait while the other did not. But it does turn the stall + urinal men's room that accommodated two people into a restroom for one.  The former men's room, which still has a urinal and separate stall, now has a sign telling people to lock the door behind them.  I gather that people wouldn't be comfortable with using it as a unisex restroom for two, i.e., with a urinal outside of a unisex stall?  But that would increase the number of people who could use the restrooms at a time.   

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It was good to be back at the bar at 2 Amy's.  It was somewhat quieter last night, perhaps people were suffering from election hangovers?

***Porchetta Alert*** 2 Amy's was not serving the traditional porchetta last night, which pre-flood was a Wednesday night fixture.  They indicated they are still not up to speed yet, so be warned if you are looking for a Porchetta Wednesday fix, it might be worth checking in with 2 Amy's first.

That said, still some delicious eating to be had.

Rabbit en porchetta with pickled cabbage ($12) this was the traditional porchetta stand in, really good and I'm not a big rabbit fan.

Pickled sardine and roasted pepper crostino ($8) whatever crostino they are serving is pretty much a must order, and this did not disappoint

Sicilian anchovies with bread and butter ($7) no meal is complete without these tasty fishies

Braised Artichokes with olives and aged goat cheese ($10) an excellent vegetable course

Salt cod croquettes (7.95) these make a regular appearance in our ordering

Caponata (6.95) I felt this could have been a bit more punchier

Citrus marinated beets with sardinian sheep's milk ricotta and vincotto ($10) the beets were good, the ricotta was amazing

Fancy Greek bottarga with toasty bread, butter, lemon and sicilian evoo ($14) its tough to  beat bottarga on toast points

Piggy, pistachio and prune terrine with the appropriate condiments ($10) a good dish, but probably wouldn't have ordered if the traditional porchetta was available

Chocolate mousse and Wild honey ice cream...because after all of that, why not get two desserts.  😀

Rabbit, Terrine, Anchovies

2 amys rabbit DR.jpg

2 amys terrine DR.jpg

2 Amys anchovies DR.jpg

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Went for lunch twice in the past two weeks. Both times had the Etna 2.0 which is really good. I always liked when they had special pizzas with fried eggplant slices and now happy to have a regular pizza on the menu - it is good and smoky from the oven and the smoked mozzarella. The old Etna's eggplant was kind of hidden in the sauce and not so great - the new version is much better. My companions' pizzas were good too. The only thing that was a shame was the salt cod croquettes which were overly salty on one visit. We get this dish 75% of the time and always love it. I like the new addition of the lemon aioli instead of only the fresh lemon slice for variety (still better with fresh squeezed lemon IMHO), but the salt just killed the dish. I'm not sure if they didn't rinse the salt cod enough or what. Hopefully they'll get back to their usual stride next time. 

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Interesting, per the 2 Amy's website:

No longer DOC

When 2amys opened in 2001, it was a very different time in the pizza world.  We were excited to be a part of what we saw as an inclusive and dedicated group of restaurants trying in their own way to preserve the legacy of Neapolitan Pizza.  

At that time, there were only a small handful of restaurants in the States involved, and we felt it was an important story to tell.  In the past 17 years, the rules regulating production have been changed, amended, and adapted (apparently you can now cook in a gas oven if regulations don't allow wood), and 2amys has been cited for improper peel usage, among other serious violations.  Although peel usage is not well defined in the dissaplinare, we have decided to move on and are no longer a member of the VPN.  We wish them the best of luck in continuing to redefine the history of pizza.  

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2 hours ago, Tweaked said:

We wish them the best of luck in continuing to redefine the history of pizza

That sounds very Taylor Swift/Katy Perry-type snarky.  But I kind of like it too!

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After a long drive home on Boxing Day (3 hours from Richmond to DC...ugh) I went to 2 Amy's for dinner.  The place was slammed, the entire back bar area filled with people waiting on tables.  I guess people were tired of being at home with relatives!

Fortunately, few people were actually eating at the bar, and I was able to snag a seat at the end. Miguel and Tammy took good care of me.

Highlights included:

Sicilian Anchovies with bread and butter - A must order

Roasted Eggplant with cherry tomatoes, almonds, smoked paprika, and sheep's milk ricotta - This was a log of roasted eggplant sitting in a pool of cherry tomato sauce and a wedge of the always excellent ricotta (apparently sourced from Sardinia)

Butternut Squash and farro salad with vincotto and tardivo radicchio - a great winter salad, the vincotto adding complexity to farro and squash.

Photo:  eggplant and ricotta

2 amys eggplant.jpg

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On 12/10/2018 at 4:06 PM, dpamlin said:

That sounds very Taylor Swift/Katy Perry-type snarky.  But I kind of like it too!

If you like VPN snark, you should check out the pizza episode of Ugly Delicious on Netflix. 

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An early dinner at 2 Amys last night featured the restaurant in high gear, at its most ambitious and creative self; still, it was slightly different than any of the many dozens of meals I've had here in the past.

With only a couple of tables left, 2 Amys was kind enough to seat us near the window, where a friend could stretch out a recently strained knee. 200 ml bottles of San Pellegrino Aranciata ($2.50) got us through the entire meal.

I'd gone to wash my hands, and on the way back, glanced at the bar to my left - on it sat something that was the length of a loaf of bread, but the circumference of a basketball, and I knew it was in my immediate future.

Sometimes, 2 Amys puts exclamation points on their daily-specials menu, and last night was no exception.

2 Amys Daily Specials 2.jpg

The Roman Artichoke !! (Carciofi alla Romana, $8) was a capitulation to the kitchen, as there was no description for it, but with two exclamation points, it must be good, right? It was. A single, majestic artichoke, presented on a plate with some olive oil, like a gigantic Hershey's Kiss, gave no indication of its stuffed, inner self. The bottom half was stuffed with a green, pesto-ish hash of what seemed to be parsley, lemon, and possibly mentuccia. Beautiful in its simplicity, this extremely mild dish allowed nature's basic ingredients to take the bow, and served as a much-needed counterpoint to its partner dish.

Roman Artichoke.jpg

Porchetta with Farro and Green Sauce !!!!! ($17) was a five-exclamation point dish, both in name, and in ambition. This was that huge, basketball-thick roulade I saw when I glanced over towards the bar, and was the result of a cook's psychedelic fantasies on steroids. The rolled-up pork monster was multi-layered, with some of the layers being nearly lard, and this was the richest dish I've had in recent memory - two of us could only finish half of it; if we'd gone any further, any hope of enjoying our pizzas would have been lost. I'll be cursed (literally, cursed, and cursed *at*) for saying this, but my endless respect for this porchetta, and the creative energy and labor that went into making it, mostly ended on the plate - it was so rich that actually eating it became an exercise in theory, and I felt guilty for taking the portion from whichever hungry NFL linebacker missed out on it later in the evening. The spicing was subtle and suave with whispers of clove and vanilla, the little rectangles of skin, tooth-breaking, the "green sauce" something like a pesto (slightly darker, and with a bit more verve than what was in the Roman artichoke), and the farro, curious. I had some for lunch today, and I'll have some for dinner tonight (simmered down in a previously vegan, homemade blistered-red pepper soup (*)) - bravo to 2 Amys for offering this dish, and for having taken the time and effort to make it: There's nothing else like this being offered in the DC area.

Porchetta 1.jpg

As many times as I've been here, over the course of what must be close to 25 years, I don't ever remember having ordered the Pozzuoli Pizza ($14.45) before. I forgot to order the pizzas "well-done," and I'm curious to see what they'll be like if I do. Remember, 2 Amys is no longer DOCG-certified, and that may have shown last night in the pizzas - they were unlike any I've had here in the past: not better, not necessarily worse; just different, very thin in the center, with a thicker crust at the periphery, blistered and charred, with a fine flavor, but also markedly more bready in the interior of the rim. The Pozzuoli was made with tomato, Fontina, 2Amys sausage (!!!!!), grilled peppers, "hotties" (only in appearance), and parsley. I wish I could purchase this sausage in bulk - to have with breakfast, to freeze, to put aside for the nuclear winter: It was as good as sausage can possibly be; the Fontina was somewhat assertive and rind-y: a slightly riper version than I was expecting, but not at all overripe - although this isn't a spicy pizza, the ingredients aren't shy, and it seemed wise to use a cheese on that half of the spectrum. I look forward to getting this again (note: We asked for the pizzas to be sliced).

 Pozzuoli.jpgScreenshot 2019-02-17 at 21.36.08.png

The second pizza was a daily special: Burrata di Bufala, Squash Blossoms, Tomato Purée, Cherry Tomatoes, and Parsley ($16.45). Served with a half-orb of Burrata in the middle of the pizza, this was a self-service spread-around - necessary to prevent the pizza from becoming soggy (as it was today for lunch). If you're familiar with 2 Amys' pizza, and can picture how the crust was different on this evening, then you know exactly how this pizza was - the tomato purée was sweet and terrific, the Burrata making it milky and homey, and this was a fine foil for the Pozzuoli.

Burrata di Bufala 2.jpg

Yet another "imperfect, but perfect" showing at this monument to rustic Italian dining.

---

(*) ETA - It was *magnificent* in the soup, both the meat and the farro.

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16 hours ago, DonRocks said:

The second pizza was a daily special: Burrata di Bufala, Squash Blossoms, Tomato Purée, Cherry Tomatoes, and Parsley ($16.45). Served with a half-orb of Burrata in the middle of the pizza, this was a self-service spread-around - necessary to prevent the pizza from becoming soggy (as it was today for lunch). If you're familiar with 2 Amys' pizza, and can picture how the crust was different on this evening, then you know exactly how this pizza was - the tomato purée was sweet and terrific, the Burrata making it milky and homey, and this was a fine foil for the Pozzuoli.

Burrata di Bufala 2.jpg

This was wonderful last night, too, so delicious yet lighter than you could ever imagine a pizza with burrata could be.  The cool burrata added not only richness but also a delightful textural and temperature contrast.  I loved the thinner interior, and the delicate layer of tomato puree was just right.  A brilliant invention.

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26 minutes ago, Simon said:

This was wonderful last night, too, so delicious yet lighter than you could ever imagine a pizza with burrata could be.  The cool burrata added not only richness but also a delightful textural and temperature contrast.  I loved the thinner interior, and the delicate layer of tomato puree was just right.  A brilliant invention.

Curious: Did you spread the Burrata around, or did you use it as a focal point, and fork it (or dip the crust)? I think it would be good as a dip for the cornicione <--- yes, he just used that term.

Did you notice a difference in the crust? Good? Bad? Neither?

Say hi next time!

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12 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Curious: Did you spread the Burrata around, or did you use it as a focal point, and fork it (or dip the crust)? I think it would be good as a dip for the cornicione <--- yes, he just used that term.

Did you notice a difference in the crust? Good? Bad? Neither?

Say hi next time!

Spread!  And I loved the new crust, though mine wasn't nearly as blistered as yours in the pictures.

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3 minutes ago, Simon said:

Spread!  And I loved the new crust, though mine wasn't nearly as blistered as yours in the pictures.

It wasn't that easy because of the rind - in retrospect, I should have started around the outside, and worked my way in (like a vortex); I worked my way out, and it acted as a centrifuge for the other toppings. Although I ended up knifing-and-forking, lifting, cutting, and redistributing as I went.

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On 2/18/2019 at 10:19 AM, DonRocks said:

It wasn't that easy because of the rind - in retrospect, I should have started around the outside, and worked my way in (like a vortex); I worked my way out, and it acted as a centrifuge for the other toppings. Although I ended up knifing-and-forking, lifting, cutting, and redistributing as I went.

Regarding the crust, two thirds of the pizza was among the tastiest crust I've ever had if you picture the remaining  one third as the inner circle of the middle of the pizza.  That crust was so thin as to be annoying when trying to eat it with the toppings. And I did order it well done to try to get it a bit sturdier.

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The bad news:  Porchetta Wednesday is no more. If you need a porchetta fix go on Saturday nights.

The good news:  The rest of the stuff is as tasty as ever.  Plus Miguel and Tammy working the back bar. 

Sicilian Anchovies + Bread & Butter:  An always order

Braised Radicchio and Artichoke Tart:  Super rich with ricotta cheese from Sardinia

Pickled Sardines with Cara Cara orange, fennel, mint: Perhaps the dish of the night

Tardivo Radicchio alla Romana: A pile of tardivo dressed with an anchovy sauce

Marinated Carrots with Sheep's Milk Ricotta: One of the dishes sitting on the wine bar, looked unassuming, but those carrots were super sweet and carrot-y.  Tossed with a little bit of cumin and topped with the ricotta from Sardinia.

2 Amys Sardines.jpg

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23 hours ago, Tweaked said:

The bad news:  Porchetta Wednesday is no more. If you need a porchetta fix go on Saturday nights.

The good news:  The rest of the stuff is as tasty as ever.  Plus Miguel and Tammy working the back bar. 

And just take a look at this, which I'm told was, not surprisingly, sold out by 6:00 or so. 

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