Thick and thin, Neapolitan and New York—here’s a rundown of some very good pizzas to recently debut in Bethesda.
By Carole Sugarman
Don’t let the suburban shopping strip fool you. Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana, which opened in October 2015, has a decidedly downtown sensibility. Owner Tony Conte, former executive chef at the Oval Room in D.C., graces his thin, blistered Neapolitan pies with nonpedestrian toppings such as garlic confit and n’duja (a spicy spreadable salami). But even simple adornments such as sausage and zucchini shine.
Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana, 12207 Darnestown Road, Darnestown, 301-963-0115, www.inferno-pizzeria.com
Best New York-Style
With the May 2016 arrival of VÜK, Woodmont Triangle welcomed a game changer—a combination pizza and pinball parlor. While the shop’s pie may not be a dead ringer for Joe’s in Greenwich Village, it’s appropriately thin-crusted and foldable, and a much better rendition than you’d expect at a pinball arcade. Ditto for the quality of the sausage. After a slice and a beer, you’ll be ready for a replay.
VÜK, 4924 St. Elmo Ave., Bethesda, 301-652-8000, www.vukpinball.com.
When it comes to deep-dish pizza, Pi Pizzeria did the math. The St. Louis-based chain, which opened its first Maryland location in Bethesda in April 2016, figured on a lightly textured cornmeal crust to form the edge of the pie, while layering cheese, veggies or meat, then a robust tomato sauce on top. The sum result has a good ratio of ingredients and isn’t too heavy. This pizza gets an A.
Pi Pizzeria, 7137 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, 240-800-3822, www.pi-pizza.com.
Best Gluten-Free Crust
Made with shredded cauliflower, Parmesan and eggs, the gluten-free crust at Gusto really works. Introduced this past August, the browned, flattened foundation looks and tastes like cauliflower au gratin hit by a steamroller; topped with tomato sauce and veggies, the oblong-shaped pie becomes a forkless casserole. It’s a novel alternative, with broad appeal.
Gusto, 4733 Elm St., Bethesda, 240-396-6398; 8512 Fenton St., Silver Spring, 301-565-2800, www.eatgusto.com