So Liza, Molly and I took a quick trip to Alexandria to meet up with Molly's uncle (and Liza's older brother) Tim and his family. They're in town this week because Tim's daughter Nicole is in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Go Nicole!
Can I just say that 30 years ago or so I was a pretty good speller. In my school's spelling bee, I was super confident I was going to go on to regionals. I'm a word man, you see. And then...on my very second word of the school's competition, I messed up: "Separate." A simple word, really. I think I was overconfident. I blurted out "S-E-P-E-R-A-T-E" without even thinking, without even hesitating.
WRONG! Gary, you're out. Auf Wiedersehen.
So we chatted with Uncle Tim and his family for a while in Alexandria, and then we dropped them off at the ferry in Old Town so that they could go back to National Harbor, Md., where they were staying for the bee. Liza and I were hungry afterwards and we saw some pizza joints on King Street. We headed for Bugsy's Pizza Restaurant and Sports Bar.
Inside, we were quickly seated, with Molly in a high chair. Molly wanted to eat everything that was placed on our table, including a lemon slice that was so bitter it made her wince every time she put it in her mouth. We have video of this, perhaps I can convince Liza to put it on our official Facebook page.
On to Bugsy's and their pizza...
Unbenownst to us, Bugsy's is owned by Bryan Wilson, a long-time NHL player who was a standout for the Detroit Red Wings, Liza's favorite team. Wilson played for the Red Wings in 1965-67 -- he was the league's MVP in the 1967-68 season -- and again from 1973-77 before he was traded to Washington and the Caps. Unfortunately, Liza had never heard of him. Sorry, Bugsy -- but Liza was 5 years old when you last played for Detroit.
Wilson opened Bugsy's in 1983. (Bugsy is apparently Wilson's nickname.) It's a combo pizza restaurant and sports bar, boasting plenty of sports memorabilia on the walls. (The sports bar is upstairs. A lot of the memorabilia is hockey related, so if you're a Caps fan, this could be the place to watch the Caps seemingly choke every spring in the Stanley Cup playoffs.)
But how is the pizza, you ask?
Well, Bugsy's web site boasts that it was voted "Northern Virginia's Best Pizza," although it doesn't say who actually voted. (Could have been Bugsy himself.) The restaurant uses only the "highest quality, freshest ingredients for every dish guaranteeing delicious and unique pizzas." (Now who would actually claim they use poor quality, two-week-old ingredients to guarantee mediocre, run-of-the-mill pizzas?)
I was mildly impressed with Bugsy's pizza offerings, which included a Taco Pizza, a Chicken Fiesta Pizza and a Zorba the Greek pizza. (Shout out to a classic film "Zorba the Greek," great movie starring Anthony Quinn. It's a must-see and a life-changer, folks!)
Liza and I settled on (what else?) the Margherita with thin crust. The menu says it has "fresh ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese and Mozarella cheese all cooked to perfection!"
Perfection? Whoa, easy there, Bugsy.
The pizza arrived and the chefs were generous with their toppings of Mozarella cheese, basil and tomatoes. Even the waiter mentioned the overabundance of cheese when he served us each a slice from the pie. The cheese dripped and drooped all over our plate.
Now when dining out, you don't often see a Margherita with tomatoes chopped up into tiny squares and sprinkled atop the cheese. It looked, well, kind of amateurish. Sorry, Bugsy.
The crust was sturdy enough, but it tasted like cardboard. (I know, I know, who has actually eaten cardboard? Not me. My point is that it was bland. Really bland. It might be the worst crust we've had.) The edge of the crust was a little crunchy after the pizza sat a while. Sorry, Bugsy.
The sauce was a little too sweet for our tastes. Liza says the pizza reminded her of "kid's pizza," the kind you get at Chuck E. Cheese. (I've never been to Chuck E. Cheese, so I'll take her word for it.)
This pizza's final grade is not a good one, regrettably. Sorry, Bugsy.
Gary's Rating: 1.5 stars
Liza's Rating: 2 stars
Molly's Rating: 0 stars for the lemon slice -- it was really bitter