I have lived in the Northwest part of Washington, D.C., most of the last 14 years, so perhaps I have a bias toward that section of the city.
Especially Upper Northwest, and Glover Park--the area feels kind of suburban, and yet still connected to the city.
Now I live in Northeast D.C. on Capitol Hill, with Liza, and it's a wonderful life.
Every now and then, I find myself yearning for the days where I would wander to the Zebra Lounge (now it's a wine bar) for a caffe mocha in the morning, read the newspaper from front to back, do some quick grocery shopping at the local Giant, stop in Potomac Video (now out of business) for a classic foreign film, jog through the hills of the neighborhood, hang out at the National Cathedral's Bishop Garden and read books, watch a high school baseball game at St. Alban's, stop in at 2 Amy's for pizza or Cactus Cantina for some Mexican grub, and just enjoy the day.
Life changes, though.
Speaking of change...Liza and I recently reviewed Faccia Luna in Alexandria. Well, up until 2004, Faccia Luna also had a branch of its restaurant chain in Glover Park right on Wisconsin Avenue. It was reborn as Kavanaugh's Pizza Pub. Apparently, the new owners of the establishment--a husband and wife team--previously worked at Faccia Luna and decided to buy the restaurant.
A pizza place with an Irish surname attached to it? I'm Irish and all, but count me as skeptical.
Liza and I arrived on a Friday evening hungry for some pizza. Inside, we noticed a lengthy bar along one side of the restaurant, with men kicking back enjoying their ales. Looked like a decent place to unwind with a quick beer, watch some ESPN2, grumble about the Redskins and Nats, and wait for "Norm!" to arrive.
Liza and I decided to enjoy the spring evening and we grabbed a table outside. There were some families, with their little ones running around, crawling underneath plastic tables and chairs and crying at the injustice of being so young.
I suddenly had visions of Chuck E. Cheese, and I grew scared. Very scared.
Honestly, this didn't seem like a place for quality pizza. I was actually a little surprised to see quite a few people leave with pizza for takeout.
We ordered a half-carafe of red wine and a Caesar Salad to start. We were mildly impressed with Kavanaugh's menu, which included a good measure of appetizers, fresh salads, burgers and cheesesteak sandwiches and pasta entrees.
For the main course, we decided to split a pizza. Kavanaugh's offers "wood-fired pizza," and all of the traditional offerings were available: Margherita, Pomodoro, Primavera, Florentine, Roma, Genoa.
Kavanaugh's also offers you the chance to "Make Your Own Pizza!" Fine with us. They offered 27 different toppings, but we kept it simple and added toppings of spinach and mushrooms. We chose the 12-inch pie, but you can also get a 10-incher and 14-incher.
The pie arrived split into eight slices. The toppings were spread generously. Looked very appetizing.
Liza and I were immediately taken with the sauce on the pie. It had a sweet flavor that mixed well with the mozzarella cheese, spinach and mushrooms. Bite after bite, taste after taste, and the pie surprised in its flavor. The crust was cooked perfectly, making the last bites of a slice as enjoyable as the first.
What a surprise. Liza and I were expecting run-of-the-mill grub from Kavanaugh's, not top-notch pizza.
Admittedly, I was more enthralled with the pizza than Liza. She wasn't as thrilled with the cheese, and she suggested that buffalo mozzarella cheese would have given the pizza a fresher taste.
But Liza also raved about the crust and the sauce: "It was sweet, but not too sugary."
All in all, Kavanaugh's is just another reason to spend more time in Northwest D.C. (Hint, hint.)
Gary's Rating: 4 Stars!
Liza's Rating: 3.5 Stars