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I live around the corner, so I went last night with my girlfriend and was very, very impressed.  We got there at 7 and waited 15 minutes.  I waited with a  perfect negroni with green hat gin ($11) from the bar.   The space inside is welcoming, with worn-in looking subway tiles and an open kitchen.  It's not huge, so tables are somewhat close together, but it was way less noisy than Espita next door.  

Once seated, my girlfriend and I split the classic caesar salad ($9 i believe), the eggplant parm ($11)and the a pizza called the ferrara (I believe), which was $17.

Our waitress was attentive and friendly.  When we asked if we had ordered enough food, she nicely told us that the eggplant parm was pretty substantial, so we should be okay.  I think staff at most new restaurants would have taken the chance to boost the check (and tip), so I appreciated that.  

The ceasar salad was a good one--crispy romaine and not drowning in dressing.  A classic done right.

The waitress was spot on about the eggplant parm: it was big.  FIve pieces of thick eggplant circles, covered in mozzarella and marinara and cooked perfectly.  Again, a classic comfort food priced fairly. 

 The pizza rivaled anything I've had from RedRocks.  It was a personal-sized (but I doubt most people would be able to eat the whole thing with an appetizer) white pizza with ramps, garlic, artichokes and some other goodness.  The dough was chewy and flavorful without being overpowering--almost like a light wheat bread if that makes sense.  We finished every bite and left full, something I've never said about All Purpose's nearby neighbor, The Dabney.  And considering that 3 tacos at Espita can run you $22, we are likely going to walk right by Espita on our way to All Purpose more often than not.  Our bill, including a drink each, was $70 + tip...downright cheap these days and we left more than sated.

We both agreed that DC needs more places like this.  Kudos to the whole team for running on all cylinders opening night. 

PS our waitress said she thinks they're going to do takeout eventually, but not immediately.  My waistline is in danger.

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Decided to try All Purpose tonight. Arrived a little after 6:30 and was quoted an hour to an hour and a half wait for a party of two. However we got a drink at the bar and were able to snag two seats there after about 15 minutes or so. This is a more crowded bar with less space to eat than, say, the one at Red Hen (which I find very comfortable and enjoyable - maybe even better than a table for two people), but no complaints (we avoided a lengthy wait after all).

We each ordered a beer, and then started with the oven-roasted clams. This was very good -- clams in a rich white broth served with toast topped with a cured Italian meat sliced thin and a few extra pieces of bread. We then went with the Sorrento and the Ferraro pizzas. As mentioned previously, these were very filling with a chewy, wheaty crust. The Sorrento was topped with excellent prosciutto, arugula, and had fennel and nice hints of gruyere, while the Ferraro had chunks of artichoke with finely chopped ramps, stinging nettles, and a pistachio pesto. Would recommend both. Overall this is a very different kind of pizza than say, a Pupatella -- a bit heavier with more elaborate toppings -- but definitely enjoyed it. It will do very well here, not that that's news.

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Adding on to the positive reviews so far for All Purpose. Went Wednesday 2/18 night. About a 15 minute wait for a table for two around 8:30. Grabbed a drink at the bar and was at a table after two sips.  We split everything and loved all of it - olives, fried baby artichokes (savory and smoky), the eggplant parm (which, as mentioned above, was enough for a meal for one person) and a pizza (Duke #7).  Service was outstanding and the meal was paced well.

My wife went up to Mike Friedman at the end of the meal and told him how much we enjoyed the meal and that he did a great job on Channel 4 that morning. He couldn't have been more gracious and talked to her for a minute even in the middle of a busy dinner service. We'll be going back regularly.

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The Duke #7 is one of the more creative pizzas I have had recently.  It felt more like something you would see on a sandwich (nduja, giardiniera, sweet red peppers) but it really worked in this context, with the brine of the pickled vegetables nicely balancing the richness of the scarmorza and nduja.  The beer list was also right up my alley, with both On The Wings of Armageddon and Ways and Means both on tap, fresh, and fantastic last night.

Congrats to Sebastian, Mike, and the guys from Boundary Stone, all indications given the area surrounding and the quality coming out of the kitchen that this will be a mainstay for years to come.

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Three stars from the Post, which seems very generous to me given my two dinners here.  (I've much preferred The Dabney or Tail Up Goat of late, both of which only got 2.5 stars.)  My expectations were high given how much I love Red Hen, maybe too high.  I'm not sure if my experiences were different than those above, or I just have different pizza preferences. 

Our first trip, shortly after they opened, left a general impression of "eh, it was okay, but I expected more."  Our second trip, this past Saturday, left me unenthused to return for the pizza.  The antipasti were generally very good.  The cherry tomato crostini that Sietsema loved was still delicious (and vegetarian) with the whipped lardo omitted.  Creamy straciatella was nicely punctuated with charred corn and spicy chili, although I personally would have preferred slightly thicker slices of bread to give a bit of chew rather than just crunch.  Very much enjoyed the romesco and nicely browned fried cauliflower, but the few, large broccoli florets were inexplicably and rather doughily battered.  My real complaint was the pizza dough.  The toppings themselves were good -- I particularly liked the Seaside's clam and corn combination, even sans guanciale -- but the crust was . . . not.  On all three pies, we found it flavorless (would never have guessed it was fermented) and thickly crunchy without any balancing chew.  I find the 2 Amys Neopolitan-style crust a bit soupy at times (especially on tomato-based pies), but this was way too far in the other direction.  I'd much prefer going to Timber, Ghibellina, Etto, or 2 Amys for pizza.  Although we enjoyed a reasonably priced, nicely dry Lambrusco, I'd hoped for some more interesting wine options (another expectation raised by Red Hen).  In fairness, the wine menu online bills itself as "approachable," so I guess it was a conscious choice.   

It didn't help that things had started off on a frustrating note.  We showed up at 6:00 on Saturday night and were quoted an hour to an hour fifteen for a table for four plus highchair, which seemed within the margin of tolerable for the toddler in tow.  (Luckily, the Columbia Room Punch Garden wasn't crowded and Adriana could not have been nicer about our underage tag-along, to whom she immediately brought a child-pleasing assortment of fruit garnishes and pointed out the ladybugs crawling on the herb garden.)  At around 6:55, I called the restaurant to check in, and was told it was looking like another twenty minutes.  No problem.  We decided to pay our Columbia Room bill and amble back around the corner so that we'd be on site when the table was ready.  Unfortunately, we didn't actually get seated until around 7:50, right as the parents were debating whether the kiddo could make it through dinner before melting down.  (She fortunately did, but it didn't leave them a margin of error for dessert or even packing up leftover pizza.)  Given that long waits are such a feature of the hottest restaurants in town, accurately predicting the length of the wait -- or at minimum providing reasonable updates -- can really influence the service experience.  Better to overestimate than underestimate, especially by such an almost 50% margin.  Once seated, our table server was very friendly and efficient.  

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On 9/7/2016 at 5:47 PM, jca76 said:

Three stars from the Post, which seems very generous to me given my two dinners here.  (I've much preferred The Dabney or Tail Up Goat of late, both of which only got 2.5 stars.)  My expectations were high given how much I love Red Hen, maybe too high.  I'm not sure if my experiences were different than those above, or I just have different pizza preferences. 

I concur.  I only went once and it was . . . fine, but overpriced, and nothing that would beckon me back.  I'm sure it can turn out very good dishes, considering who's involved, but it's not even the sort of place that's aiming for three stars; and it doesn't come close to, say, Tail Up Goat (or, at this price-point, Thip Khao, where I've had three spectacular meals in the past ten days).

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Friday night All Purpose was humming.  Mostly full, people waiting, birthdays being celebrated.  The restaurant has a nice open kitchen and a good looking bar.  I like the design of the restaurant's somewhat rustic feel, charming compared to the monolithic Convention Center across the street. 

We enjoyed the Straciatella Bruschetta, despite it not being a bruschetta, but a bowl of the straciatella cheese topped with corn, fresno chili, cilantro and chopped bread and butter pickles.  It was served with rock hard slices of toasted bread, which I'm assuming were actually the crostini.  Seriously, at one point I thought I had dislodged a crown.  The same rock hard slices of bread accompanied the excellent Sicilian tuna mousse, which was nicely served in a glass ramekin.  Both dishes were really good appetizers but they need to re-think the bread.

We then moved on to two pizzas, the Cossimo (roasted mushrooms, tallegio, scallions, preserved truffle sauce and grana) and the Buona (tomato, pepperoni, mozzarella, chili honey, basil, grana).  Both pizzas tasted excellent, great topping combos. It's tough to go wrong with mushrooms and tallegio and the honey worked well with the pepperoni.  Several of us weren't wowed by the crust, and there is far too much outer ring of crust (is there a proper term for the outer ring of crust?).  While they were both tasty pies, the execution isn't quite there yet.   

We all agreed that it was good introduction to All-Purpose, and we would like to go back and craft a meal from the Antipasti selections.  But I would agree with above, I'm not really getting the 3 star love from Sietsema.    

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1 hour ago, Tweaked said:

Several of us weren't wowed by the crust, and there is far too much outer ring of crust (is there a proper term for the outer ring of crust?).  While they were both tasty pies, the execution isn't quite there yet.   

We all agreed that it was good introduction to All-Purpose, and we would like to go back and craft a meal from the Antipasti selections.  But I would agree with above, I'm not really getting the 3 star love from Sietsema.    

Cornicione.

http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2011/01/how-to-pronounce-cornicione.html

and their crust needs some work. after visiting all purpose several times, along with pizzeria vetri and timber pizza, and knowing a thing or two about good pizza crusts myself, I think Timber Pizza has the best pizzas of any of the new establishments in the city. 

Just one guys .02 cents.

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Not that he needs my approval--but I agree with Jonathan whole-heartedly.  Timber has the best pizza of the newcomers and I would put the pizza up with the rest of the top group.  Good char on the crust but still tender inside.  More surprising is how consistently good it is.  I will admit being a bit biased as we had them cater our party a year ago with the portable oven--but even then the pizzas were excellent and consistent.  

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We went last night, arriving around 7 pm. The place was busy, but we were able to grab seats at the bar after about a five minute wait (and the people who arrived just after us were able to grab two seats after about 15 minutes). I completely agree on the Seafood Misto, it was fantastic, in particular the snapper crudo. The Crispy Fried Mushrooms might have been our favorite thing, however. For lack of a better description, they just tasted extremely mushroomy, and the avocado ranch sauce was fantastic with them. For larger dishes, we got the Eggplant Parm, which was very good, although also really a lot of cheese for just two people. I'd order it again in a heartbeat if I were there with a group of four or more. The Pan-Seared Beef Short Rib was also wonderful, served with cucumber, onion and filet beans. 

I wish this place was in my neighborhood. 

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Man. I feel like I'm the one kid who's noticing the emperor has no clothes....

I love Red Hen like an illegitimate son that I pay happily pay child support for and take to ball games a few times a summer, but this place blew my mind in a very negative way. 

Walked in at about 6, asked if there was a happy hour special, was very brusquely told no. And that's fine in a world where Ghibbelina was tragically engulfed in a tectonic plate shift of the earth and ceased to exist. So, that's okay, me and friend went to Lost & Found, and got a few drinks. They have an enchanting draft list, definitely visit.

Afterward went back to All Purpose. Much busier now and nowhere to sit except bar (turns out, my preference!). We were hungry and thirsty. Got a 3 Stars sour and we ordered seafood misto, one salumi (genoa salami, highly recommended by server), and a Point Pleasant pizza (essentially Hawaiian style). 

Service was good, misto was good but a bit smaller than hoped for and VERY heavy on octopus at expense of other mentioned items. And I like the 'pus. $20. Salumi was a very fair amount and delicious but not a whole lot better than grocery store pepperoni sliced thin (not a bad comparison, also delicious). But the pizza... this is what killed me. Was fine, crust was fine, toppings fine, and cheese fine ... $18 to 20 for almost all pizzas? 11-12 inches? Are you kidding me? I just looked at Amy's - almost all $13.95. What about Jonathan's old place? Ghibellina is about $15-18, but $10 at happy hour. And these are arguably the best in the city. And bigger.

And you can say what you want about ingredients or rents or etc... here is the difference that galls me most. Ghibellina and many others have these fired ovens. Much more intensive and difficult and challenging to master. Not that it's my favorite. I'm a deck oven guy, being from Detroit, but I respect that they are different in style and technique. However, Jonathan, correct me if I'm wrong but deck ovens are no harder than the fire ovens seen at Neapolitan or Neapolitan-like pizza places out there, but possibly easier and possibly a bit more forgiving. 

We spent a $120 with tax and tip (2 drinks each, one pizza, one seafood misto, one salumi).

No way would I choose here over Ghibellina's. 

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52 minutes ago, Simul Parikh said:

Man. I feel like I'm the one kid who's noticing the emperor has no clothes....

...

No way would I choose here over Ghibellina's. 

But do you see TheGut's picture of that Seafood Misto? Boy, that looks awfully good.

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18 hours ago, Simul Parikh said:

Man. I feel like I'm the one kid who's noticing the emperor has no clothes....

And you can say what you want about ingredients or rents or etc... here is the difference that galls me most. Ghibellina and many others have these fired ovens. Much more intensive and difficult and challenging to master. Not that it's my favorite. I'm a deck oven guy, being from Detroit, but I respect that they are different in style and technique. However, Jonathan, correct me if I'm wrong but deck ovens are no harder than the fire ovens seen at Neapolitan or Neapolitan-like pizza places out there, but possibly easier and possibly a bit more forgiving. 

Pizza preference is obviously subjective. And most of us have had great pizza out of deck ovens and terrible pizza out of deck ovens. We have also most likely had great pizza out of wood-fired ovens and terrible pizza out of them too. And as the adage goes, even bad pizza is good.

The deal with gas deck ovens is that, unlike coal or wood-fired ovens, they can only get as high as 650 degrees. As a result, they take longer to cook. And because of this longer bake time, oils and sugars are typically added to the dough to make them more tender, to help caramelize, and to add flavor that would otherwise be gained by the high temperatures and resulting maillard reactions. In a coal or wood fired oven reaching 900-1000 degrees the high temperature cooking, leads to a shorter cook time allowing the dough to crisp on the outside quickly and have the inside remain pillowy and soft. The end product, whether it be coal fired from Frank Pepe or gas oven from Pizzeria Beddia or wood-fired from Pizzeria Bianco or for that matter deck oven, in a pan, like Buddy's, will all have their fans and detractors, and be cause for great arguments.

All that aside, I certainly had the most fun of my cooking career while manning the 900-1000 degree, wood-only, oven at the original Franny's on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. My buddy/mentor, Mike Conlon (now manning the pits at Hometown BBQ in Red Hook) and I used to always joke how we were the #1a and #1b pizzaiolo in South Brooklyn when we were on top of our game. No small feat considering the great pizzas in that part of the world. Cooking with fire, and at those high temperatures, is certainly more difficult and requires a greater skill than manning a gas oven or gas deck oven or conveyor belt oven.

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I live right around the corner, so I've been to AP a few times.  I thought it was fantastic opening night and my second visit; less so in my recent visits.  I also had what was definitely the worst negroni of my life here: really, really sweet somehow.  It was described as a "perfect negroni" on the menu...is that a variation on the negroni or just a superlative?

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5 hours ago, DonRocks said:

The cornicione, or "periphery of the crust," badly needs work: It's way too big - an inch long, and about a half-inch thick, and is dense and has a flavor not much better than a decent cracker. If you don't mind spending $18 on a pizza, only to ignore the end crust, you may well like these pizzas; for me, the crust is an integral part.

this was exactly our (disappointing) experience, which was so far from sietsema's raves that i'd been wondering since whether we hit a totally off night.  seems like not.  

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So glad to read this chain. I thought I was going crazy after reading all the praise heaped on AP's pizza in other forums. Here's my pizza, half of which is the massive outside crust virtually devoid of toppings. I almost always finish what's put in front of me, but those bread bombs were too much to choke down. I also wasn't crazy about the addition of honey to this particular pie -- the combination of honey and tomato sauce was a dead ringer for the Spaghetti-Os of my youth.

IMG_2302

All this earned AP's pizza the title of "most disappointing pizza in DC" in my round-up of DC pizza places.  You can find the entire list here:

"Best Pizza in DC: 2016" by Rick Chessen on rickeatsdc.com

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Don - after reading your review I'm surprised you gave it an "Italics" rating.  There seemed to be more bad than good in it.

Anyhow, what was the four syllable word you uttered regarding the pizza.  I'm not even sure if it was a good word or bad word.

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17 minutes ago, Bart said:

Don - after reading your review I'm surprised you gave it an "Italics" rating.  There seemed to be more bad than good in it.

Anyhow, what was the four syllable word you uttered regarding the pizza.  I'm not even sure if it was a good word or bad word.

I thought about it for a few minutes - being in Italics pretty much breaks down, statistically, as being in the top 20% of all independent restaurants, and I think All Purpose certainly is - the basic concepts behind each dish were sound; the execution needed tweaking. The beer list is truly special, although not huge, there are smart wines available by the bottle for $35, and Kyle was the x-factor - on two occasions, I began noticing that something was taking too long to arrive, and then five minutes passed *after* that - right at those moments, he walked over and topped off my wine and apologized for the delay - that's the type of service All Purpose should be proud of. I understand the kitchen may have been backed up, but he knew it as well, and that really impressed me. Those two top-offs saved me from purchasing an extra glass of wine, which I would have done. Kyle also knew, very well, the ingredients in each dish, which is often not the case with bartenders - you'd be *amazed* at how many bartenders don't even know who the chef is.

I can't think of too many four-syllable words, but this one ended in an "r," indicated some disappointment with the crust, and probably shouldn't be repeated. I really liked the center of my pizza, however.

Both the tuna mousse and the fried mushrooms were one thing away (over-oiling and lack of seasoning in the batter, respectively) from being excellent dishes (btw, the toast that came with my tuna mousse was just right, so maybe they read the above posts, and corrected whatever problem there was).

Stating the obvious, I suspect that when All Purpose opened, Mike Friedman himself was manning the kitchen for awhile; a person can't be in two places at once.

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2 hours ago, Pork Belly said:

So glad to read this chain. I thought I was going crazy after reading all the praise heaped on AP's pizza in other forums. Here's my pizza, half of which is the massive outside crust virtually devoid of toppings. I almost always finish what's put in front of me, but those bread bombs were too much to choke down. I also wasn't crazy about the addition of honey to this particular pie -- the combination of honey and tomato sauce was a dead ringer for the Spaghetti-Os of my youth.

IMG_2302

All this earned AP's pizza the title of "most disappointing pizza in DC" in my round-up of DC pizza places.  You can find the entire list here:

"Best Pizza in DC: 2016" by Rick Chessen on rickeatsdc.com

This looks so far removed from what I expect when I order pizza anywhere, that it's just shocking to me that it was just named the #1 restaurant in Washington, DC by Tom. 

While I applaud the team there for wanting to do something a bit different from Neapolitan pizza, the end product still needs to be good. Different for different's sake doesn't do it for me.

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3 hours ago, DonRocks said:

I can't think of too many four-syllable words, but this one ended in an "r," indicated some disappointment with the crust, and probably shouldn't be repeated. I really liked the center of my pizza, however.

It's funny, I had it figured out before this little hint after knowing you (virtually) all these years.

I'll give another one; the word rhymes with "Smothertrucker".

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On October 27, 2016 at 7:04 AM, DonRocks said:

I went to All Purpose this weekend at around 7 PM - the restaurant was fairly full, but with no wait, and there were seats open at the bar.

Let me start out by giving the highest possible praise to my *wonderful* bartender Kyle, who raised the quality of my dinner all by himself - he noticed when things were going wrong before I said anything, and proactively took action to make them right. He knew the ingredients in the dishes, and was just one of the best top-to-bottom bartenders I've encountered in quite awhile - he was great.

I wanted to begin my meal with a cocktail, so I asked which Gins they had, and they only had three: Beefeater, Green Hat, and Catoctin Creek - one of which is mass-produced and innocuous; the other two of which are almost undrinkable in my experience. Nevertheless, I ordered a Gimlet with Green Hat ($8 + $2 supplement for something) because I've only had it a couple of times; unfortunately, I didn't notice which of the five stripes it was (Green Hat makes five gins, each one having a different colored stripe). I like Gimlets - which are essentially Gin and Lime - because they allow the Gin to shine through. Unfortunately, this must have been the Navy Strength Green Hat because it was overwhelmingly strong. The lime juice appeared to be squeezed in-house, but was done so earlier, poured from a plastic container, and a deeply macerated cherry was curiously added on top, which I've never before seen in a Gimlet - it was a pretty lousy drink, all things considered, but it was mostly my mistake for not sticking with Beefeater. Like Bombay (regular Bombay; not Sapphire), Beefeater is an industrial, but perfectly inoffensive and decent Gin that I usually get when regular Bombay isn't available, and I want something neutral - this drink was mostly my fault, but I'm not happy with All Purpose's selection of Gins.

After my cocktail, I switched to a white wine which took care of me all the way through my meal: a 2015 DeAngelis Trebbiano Blend ($9) from the Le Marche region - this medium-bodied, dry white has a fine supporting backbone of acidity (albeit very high-toned acidity) that was more than enough to stand up to all my courses. I should add that awhile before I went, I asked someone deep on the inside of this restaurant what dishes they were most proud of, and ordered exclusively from the list I got in return. All Purpose has a mostly Italian, very workable wine list, with almost 50 wines by the bottle, ranging from $35-70, seemingly averaging in the $45-50 range; you can expect to pay about $10-12 for pleasant, drinkable wines by the glass, and $7-$11 for each beer on their medium-sized, well-chosen list, with 4 luxury beers priced well into the double-digits.

I began my meal with a nearly delightful Sicilian Tuna Mousse ($10), served in a bocal with salsa verde, (pickled) baby celery, and four thin slices of well-toasted bread for spreading - just enough bread to provide for a liberal spreading of the mousse. This was a very good dish, and would have been excellent had it not been doused with finishing oil - I suspect the mousse is made earlier in the day, and finished a la minute with the salsa verde - something very much like a nutless pesto - and the oil, which (combined with the upcoming courses) contributed to making this meal heavier than it should have been.

Spaghetti Squash "Aglio e Olio" ($12), a large platter of shredded spaghetti squash with brown butter, lemon, herb-roasted ricotta, and breadcrumbs that drew questions from both sides of me ("What is that?"). This was an oily plate of food, and lacked seasoning - "Aglio e Olio" means "garlic and oil," and while I got a lot of oil, I got virtually no garlic. However, in one bite, I took what I thought to be a quarter-sized wheat crisp - lo, it turned out to be a piece of crisped garlic, so there it was after all. The highlight of this dish - by far - was the herb-roasted ricotta, which had the same look and texture as thinly sliced vanilla meringue, and I mean that as the highest of compliments - this was wonderful, sheep's-milk (possibly goat's-milk) cheese presented in a novel fashion, and saved the dish from failing - I took about half of it home, having it the next day, and since it theoretically had lemon in it already, I added a few much-needed grounds of lemon sea salt, making it a much better plate of food. Although I reheated it in my microwave, it was actually much better on day two because it was simply too hot when it was served, and the oil in the dish retained the heat throughout the meal - it was markedly better at a slightly cooler temperature, and certainly with the added seasoning - I didn't enjoy it at the restaurant; I enjoyed it at home. 

With my Squash, I had the Crispy Fried Mushrooms ($14), an intricate dish of four sliced, cremini mushrooms with smoked mozzarella stuffing, and chives, sitting atop a puréed avocado ranch "dressing." I say "intricate" because the insides of this mushroom would fool most people, as it fooled me, into thinking there was some veal in it, but it was a vegetarian dish; the only problem was the breading which was bland and desperately needed some seasoning - the same problem which plagued the accompanying squash. More "interesting" than "good," I would consider getting this again if the batter changes, and if I had a second person to split it with - as it stands, it's priced out at $3.50 per fried mushroom - not unreasonable for what you get, but also not something one person wants to stuff himself on.

After these three courses, I was pretty well stuffed, so I got half of my Spaghetti Squash to go, and ordered a Buona Pizza ($18), with tomato, huge slices of pepperoni, mozzarella, chili honey, basil, and grana - also to go. I paid my bill, walked back to my car, opened the pizza box, took one bite of the cornicione, whispered a four-syllable word, and headed home. Over the next 24 hours - including that same evening - I played around with the pizza, and have several conclusions:

1) The cornicione, or "periphery of the crust," badly needs work: It's way too big - an inch long, and about a half-inch thick, and is dense and has a flavor not much better than a decent cracker. If you don't mind spending $18 on a pizza, only to ignore the end crust, you may well like these pizzas; for me, the crust is an integral part.

2) The honey in this particular pizza conglomerated around the rim of the crust - I don't know if someone used a squirt bottle in a circular motion, and the centrifugal force forced it outwards, or if it just crept towards the end in the oven, but there it seemed to be conglomerated.

3) The toppings were busy, but excellent, and the middle part of the pizza was delicious - even better at room temperature than it was when hot, because you could taste the honey; at full heat (or close to it), the cheese tended to overpower the more nuanced toppings. 

I've officially initialized coverage of All Purpose in Italic in the Dining Guide, and have it currently ranked as one of the Top Five restaurants in Shaw. This will undoubtedly change in the future, but for now, I can't rave about All Purpose, which is trying to be "Etto-ish" in nature, but not pulling it off quite as well. Still, All Purpose is a good, 2 Amys-style restaurant that can improve if the kitchen stays focused; the service I had was top notch, so there isn't much room for improvement there. The wine list (by the bottle) is quite good, but the bar needs work.

I have to say, this doesn't sound like an Italics review.  It's a wonderful, evocative review, but it makes me want to steer clear of All-Purpose far more than to go there.  I feel like I could pretty easily name ten better restaurants in Shaw, if my experience there were to be comparable to Don's.

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45 minutes ago, Gadarene said:

I have to say, this doesn't sound like an Italics review.  It's a wonderful, evocative review, but it makes me want to steer clear of All-Purpose far more than to go there.  I feel like I could pretty easily name ten better restaurants in Shaw, if my experience there were to be comparable to Don's.

*But*, if that experience had been tweaked just 10% in the kitchen - something very easy to do - things would have been different - that's why it's in Italics even though this one meal might have fallen somewhere short of that. Don't try and see things in black and white; there are many shades of gray - I upgrade and downgrade restaurants all the time while not even setting foot in the door, based on what I hear and read from trusted diners.

Please do not look at me as some kind of king, waving my hand and casting Final Judgment on a restaurant after a single visit - the rankings are just as important as the ratings, but both are a *rough guide* for those seeking guidance.

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36 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

*But*, if that experience had been tweaked just 10% in the kitchen - something very easy to do - things would have been different - that's why it's in Italics even though this one meal might have fallen somewhere short of that. Don't try and see things in black and white; there are many shades of gray - I upgrade and downgrade restaurants all the time while not even setting foot in the door, based on what I hear and read from trusted diners.

Please do not look at me as some kind of king, waving my hand and casting Final Judgment on a restaurant after a single visit - the rankings are just as important as the ratings, but both are a *rough guide* for those seeking guidance.

Devil's advocate: it's being able to do that 10 percent consistently that separates great restaurants -- or at least restaurants that are a cut above, which is how I've always interpreted the Italics -- from mediocre or even good restaurants.

Knowing that I could have an experience like yours doesn't make me want to go there, particularly at that price point...and ESPECIALLY if you only ordered the dishes that you had reason to believe the kitchen was proudest of, since those should, theoretically, be the ones in which you can have the most confidence from night to night as a diner.

And that pizza looks frightening.

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36 minutes ago, Gadarene said:

Devil's advocate: it's being able to do that 10 percent consistently that separates great restaurants -- or at least restaurants that are a cut above, which is how I've always interpreted the Italics -- from mediocre or even good restaurants.

Fair enough.

Now I'll play Devil's advocate: I have All Purpose ranked #5 in Shaw right now - are you sure you're criticizing the right person?

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32 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Fair enough.

Now I'll play Devil's advocate: I have All Purpose ranked #5 in Shaw right now - are you sure you're criticizing the right person?

I don't mean to be seen as criticizing, and I apologize if it came across that way.  Your review was exceptionally well-written and immensely helpful in allowing me to make a decision about whether or not I'll be trying the restaurant in the near future, far more than any ranking, italics or otherwise, would have.

As I said, I think I could easily name many more than 5 restaurants in the Shaw area that I think I'd have a more consistently better experience, based on your review, but that's subjective quibbling.  We both agree that Sietsema ranking it as the #1 restaurant in DC seems like stark insanity, and that's the important thing!

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4 minutes ago, Gadarene said:

I don't mean to be seen as criticizing, and I apologize if it came across that way.  Your review was exceptionally well-written and immensely helpful in allowing me to make a decision about whether or not I'll be trying the restaurant in the near future, far more than any ranking, italics or otherwise, would have.

As I said, I think I could easily name many more than 5 restaurants in the Shaw area that I think I'd have a more consistently better experience, based on your review, but that's subjective quibbling.  We both agree that Sietsema ranking it as the #1 restaurant in DC seems like stark insanity, and that's the important thing!

I didn't mean to sound defensive; I was just trying to defend myself. :lol:

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46 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Fair enough.

Now I'll play Devil's advocate: I have All Purpose ranked #5 in Shaw right now - are you sure you're criticizing the right person?

To be fair to Don, in the Guide he calls it "very overrated," which ought to be deterrent enough.  Off the top of my head, Haikan, Hazel and Smoked & Stacked should be above it.  
 

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5 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Oh darn, now I'm not even a restaurant critic even though I spend 2,000++ hours a year doing this.

I'm almost certain you're not counting on eater.com to validate you as a respected critic. You and your site are an incredible resource. 

While I haven't eaten at All Purpose, I'd be disappointed with a pizza that resembled the one in the photos.

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I'm happy to say that either someone is reading some of the negative comments that I've seen online the last couple months or whatever was going wrong in the kitchen has been sorted out, because based on my visit last Friday, All Purpose is still putting out solid NE USA-style Italian food.

We were out with my daughter, so we ordered a bit more cautiously than we may have otherwise if it was just my wife and I.  We opted for 3 appetizers to start, the Garlic Knots, the Sicilian Tuna Mousse, and the Fried Brussel Sprouts.  I found the garlic knots to be as good of a version of a dish that I've enjoyed since my childhood. These were bigger than what I'm used to, as the garlic knots of PA/NJ are typically slightly larger than golf balls, whereas these were more similar to a cinnamon bun in both size and appearance.  Another key difference was the replacement of the traditional marinara dipping sauce with a very nice parmesan fonduta, acting as both a nice lubricant and a fragrant complement to the rather rich knots.  My daughter loved the very soft inside dipped in the fonduta, eating the majority of it of each while my wife and I focused on the delicious, crunchy outside.  We wound up ordering a lot of food, and this was the only thing that we finished completely between the 3 of us, for perspective.

The tuna mousse was a last second order when we saw it travelling to another table, and I'm really glad that we did. This was a fresh, aromatic version of a dish that can be heavy and clunky in the wrong hands.  The mousse came in a small mason jar topped with a salsa verde and finely chopped pieces of baby celery to be spread over the accompanying warm toast.  This was just fishy enough, just creamy enough, and very well seasoned.  I can't imagine not getting both this and the garlic knots when we return.

The brussel sprouts are pretty much the same version that they serve at Red Hen, except I noticed that the price has really crept up at both places as they grew in popularity ($14!).  I always love this dish, but it was the one thing all night that my daughter wouldn't go for at all and my wife thought that they were a bit too sour, but I wouldn't hesitate to get this again.

For our larger dishes, we got the Eleven Layer Lasagna and the pizza that we always get here, the Duke #7. The lasagna was nice, definitely my daughter's favorite thing of the night, and I was happy to feed most of it to her as we were already pretty full after the apps. This was a nice white version of lasagna, with more subtle flavors coming from the veal ragu and pretty generous shavings of black truffle that adorned the side of the plate.  This was the least aggressively seasoned dish of the night, and perhaps my palette was thrown off a bit from the other courses because I thought that this could have used a bit more salt and some herbs to kick it up to the next level.  

The Duke #7 is still in my eyes the best non-traditional pizza that you can get in DC.  The larger crust issues experienced by others in this thread were not an issue here, as we had only about an inch of crust to trim off of the outside to give to my daughter (the parts with the gnuda seemed to get too spicy for her after a few bites, as she started to cough a little bit). We were stuffed to the gills by this point, so we only had a piece each, but I really love the bite of the pickled veggies when paired with the gnuda on this pizza.  This also reheated well with a few minutes at 350 in my oven the next day, the crust sturdy enough not to get dried out and too crispy.

I'm all for Don keeping this in Italics in the Dining Guide, this isn't haute cuisine or traditional neapolitan style pizza, but that's OK because it doesn't have to be.  I'll take all of the food listed above and a couple of really good beers for under $100 any day of the week.

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We had a nice meal there a couple months ago that I forgot to write up. I'm not sure I understand the dislike of the place that is evident in the thread above, but maybe they've listened to online critiques and, by the time I went, had improved it? I think that Tom's ranking of it was far too high--I wouldn't even put it in the top ten in dc--and the prices on everything could be a $1-2 less. but it was a solid meal. My cossimo pizza was packed with mushroomy, cheesy goodness, and while it's crust was wider than I would have liked it was significantly narrower than those shown above. and the Brussels sprouts, while pricey at $14, were at least a huge portion, and while it's not a revolutionary treatment--so many places fry Brussels--it was well done, and both the horseradish cream and togarashi spice were delicious with the sprouts. I had been very excited about the rainbow cake, as I love rainbow cookies. I enjoyed the cake, but I think it could have had a bit more almond flavor, and the texture was a bit firm. the orange cheesecake was wonderful though, and our service was good. For example, our waiter noticed that we were running low on crostini for the straticella bruchetta (which was fine, not exceptional) he brought us more, unasked.

I'd be happy to go there again.

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On 10/28/2016 at 9:20 AM, Pork Belly said:

So glad to read this chain. I thought I was going crazy after reading all the praise heaped on AP's pizza in other forums. Here's my pizza, half of which is the massive outside crust virtually devoid of toppings. I almost always finish what's put in front of me, but those bread bombs were too much to choke down. I also wasn't crazy about the addition of honey to this particular pie -- the combination of honey and tomato sauce was a dead ringer for the Spaghetti-Os of my youth.

IMG_2302

All this earned AP's pizza the title of "most disappointing pizza in DC" in my round-up of DC pizza places.  You can find the entire list here:

"Best Pizza in DC: 2016" by Rick Chessen on rickeatsdc.com

That looks nothing like the Bayside pizza (tomato, mozzarella, Sicilian oregano, basil) we had today.  We also enjoyed the Egg Salad Crostino (housemade sourdough, whipped ricotta, prosciutto, capers, green salad) and Beet & Orange Salad (fried cheese, candy onion, radicchio, spinach, orange vinaigrette), either of which was ample enough to be a full meal by itself.  The fried cheese seemed superfluous in the salad.

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Went for second time, as we were interviewing yet another candidate.

I do not get this place. No way is this the best pizza in the region. Maybe not the best within 1 square mile. Too much crust. Not charred enough. My pizza I asked for with the addition of mozarella, and they forgot the cheese and gave it to me with just sauce and toppings. They re-made it and it came several minutes after the others started eating. The broccoli appetizer was good. Arancini was okay, had a little funny after taste. 

This place is overhyped and based on pictures and personal experience, far too spotty to be ranked so highly by critics. I guess just one major critic. I don't think I want to go back. 

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I know it just opened, but has anybody tried brunch at the ballpark location?  Planning on going there in a few weeks and the only menu they have online is for dinner. I'm curious as to whether they have any different items for brunch (though the dinner menu looks great).

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04.15.2018

Super delicious evening at All-Purpose Shaw! We begin with NV Cleto Chiarli LAMBRUSCO, Emilia-Romagna, Italy!  The SICILIAN MARINARA {tomato, anchovy, caper, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, parsley} is one of my top favorite pizzas in the city!  The BURRATA ‘FARINATA’ {english peas, fava beans, marcona almonds, ginger, lemon} inspires Spring.  The composition and execution is exquisite!  And the CACIO E PEPE SUPPLI {black pepper, pecorino, spinach, pickled garlic } is pure joy!

While my go-to pizza is a Neapolitan-style pizza, I especially enjoy Mike Friedman’s pies when perfectly executed. There is no margin for error to execute the perfect crust…from dough to oven to pass to table.  All-Purpose signature crust can offer the right balance of both crisp and chew.  I love alternating bites for optimal enjoyment!  The evening of April 15, 2018 was so enjoyable! I almost teared up like the ending of the movie Cinema Paradiso, there were moments in succession that triggered fond food memories both as a child and adult. 

_burrata copy.jpg

_pizza copy.jpg

_fried copy.jpg

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3 hours ago, Simul Parikh said:

Pizza is 1. Crust 2. Cheese 3. Sauce and least importantly 4. toppings. If you bungle one of top 3 components, you're not making a top pizza and that's that.

Translation: If it doesn't conform to what my idea of what a pizza is, no one should be able to enjoy it.

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[I was going to delete these last two posts, but Simul handled the meta-comment with such grace, that I think I'll leave them instead as a model for people to follow (I was actually going to suggest you reverse #2 and #3, but then started thinking about white pizza).]

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