I’m just going to come out and say it, I have a chip on my shoulder about New York pizza snobs. If you’re one of the 280 million Americans who does not live in the New York City area, you’ve probably heard a friend from New York, New Jersey, or–the worst–Long Island complain that “You can’t get good pizza outside of the city”
I have several friends who do this, but the worst, is from Long Island…we’ll call him Scott K. Well Scott, you can now get good pizza outside of “the city”.
I recently visited a modest pizzeria in Arlington, VA called Pupatella. It had been recommended by another Long Island native who admitted that he was pleasantly surprised to find that this was the real deal. Real deal indeed! Signs in the restaurant and a page on their website boast of being members of the “Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana“. This association inspects the methods and equipment at a pizzeria before allowing them to use the stamp of “true Neapolitan pizza”. According to the website they regulate everything from the type of flour used to the methods of proofing the dough and the toppings.
The place has an unmistakable Soup Nazi vibe. You walk into a narrow aisle where there is a low glass window, behind which guys are making the pizza. On the glass is a sign that says, “No stopping or standing, keep line moving!” It’s as if watching them make the pizza might make one of them yell out, “No pizza for you, one year!” As you get your plates and napkins there’s another sign that reads, “Help keep costs low, bus your own table!”
Once you get that pizza however, this place sets itself apart from most of the pizza in the DC area. The crust! The crust is a work of art, thin and light but not crispy or cracker-like. It is puffy and almost doughy on the edges but paper thin in the center. This pizza folds easily! I tried the Margherita pizza, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil. Spectacular! Because it’s so thin, you can eat more than normal so I also tried one with prosciutto, arugula and shaved Parmesan cheese. This too was worth side-stepping past the glass without stopping to watch.
The decor is edgy and contemporary with a projector facing one wall playing a variety of things, and random artwork or posters. It has a comfortable urban feel. This is interesting because not only is this place not in downtown DC, it’s not even in one of the busier sections of Arlington!
They serve a local beer on draft and several others in bottles. Their menu lists a variety of non-pizza items but for me this was all about the pie.
I have had pizza in New York and it is indeed extraordinary. I will no doubt take a lot of crap about this posting from my New York friends. If they wish to discuss their pizza arrogance, I suggest we do it at Pupatella!