Comet Ping Pong
 Washington D.C.    Date of Visit  08/05/12

We are in Washington D.C. for the serious business of remembering the many debts we owe for all we have and to remember one in particular in 1st Lieutenant Neil Keltner, recipient of The Distinguished Service Cross and two Purple Hearts, as he is laid to rest in the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery. While this little project is all about food it would be remiss and disingenuous to not realize or mention how insignificant this all is compared to the sacrifices represented by the monuments in our Nation’s Capitol. Think what you want of war, or politics past and present; walk past the names on the Viet Nam Wall, the fountains and stars of the World War II Memorial, the Tomb of the Unknowns or any of the other touchstones and you realize how often and selflessly our fellow citizens have put boots to ground to allow our lives to include things like this silly website. To those who have served, my sincere gratitude. There, I feel better.




Our first eats in D.C. were first seen on an episode of Diners, Drive-ins & Dives. The aptly but half named Comet Ping Pong has a tiny frontage on Connecticut Avenue. Walking in the door you are met by an arty industrial starkness with mostly bare walls and angular metal sculptures hanging from the ceiling. The harshness of the space allows for quite the buzz walking in the door but after a few minutes of not being able to hear without shouting I started wishing for something softer that might dampen the din.

The part of the buzz that I found more than pleasurable comes from the reason behind the name…the ping pong. The restaurant tables are ping pong tables and they have two rooms of full tables set up which were constantly in action our entire stay. Games of widely varied skill as a participant or spectator provide entertainment while awaiting your meal.

Another Destination From Triple D

Waiting For Diner Is Actually Fun Here

Great House Made Ranch And Boring Breadsticks

Meatballs And Sauce Are Fabulous

The most disappointing aspect of our visit was our server who was certainly friendly but didn’t seem to understand that his job entailed more that saying welcome with a smile. The kitchen appeared to be on the ball and we had to save most of the ping pong for after dinner as it was quickly on the table, delivered by someone other than our server BTW.

Comet ping pong has made a name from their house made and locally sourced pizzas. We ordered bread sticks, meatballs, and three pizzas…a tomato pie, a time-out and the drive. The breadsticks weren’t anything to write about thin and crunchy without any flavor to make them stand out, they were aided by the house made ranch dressing which was thick and flavorful and would have been a boon to better bread sticks. The meatballs were another story. Comet has a local butcher who prepares all of their meats and the meatballs were a refreshing surprise of meattasticness. A punch of sage wafted through a serious and delicious meat concoction. These wonderful tiny nuggets were also the first introduction to the Comet red sauce. I loved their sauce. The first bite and those following seem to progress through every iteration of what you might look for in any sauce, sweet, tangy, acidic, spice and herb all take the front of the stage without completely eclipsing the others. The definition of balance. It was also the reason for my favorite pizza, much to my surprise.


Simple Genius, Scrumptious Genius

Best By A Mile, Surprise

The Drive With Spicy Broccoli Rabe

And Salty Prosciutto

While I like lots of odd things on pizza or otherwise the best we had, in my opinion, was the tomato pie with a thin crust, Comet sauce and fresh Mozzarella. I don’t always agree with other folks when they preach the simple is better approach to pizza. Sometimes interesting or loads of ingredients make for a better slice. In this case they are spot on. The brilliance of the sauce would only be obscured on our other options. The Time-Out pizza featured Stan the butcher’s Merguez Sausage, parsley, melted onions, potato, garlic and Gorgonzola. The sausage like the meatballs was unique and tasty and paired well with the onion and garlic. For some reason the potato was distracting and the cheese never made an appearance. Not a bad pizza but I wouldn’t order it again. The Drive was a little better with broccoli rabe, garlic, a sunny side up egg, melted onion, and Pecorino Romano cheese. We also added the upcharge crispy prosciutto. While far outclassed by the much more simple tomato or Scott Conant’s DOCG pizza it was interesting. The rabe had a surprising kick of spice that kept the whole thing from bogging down…and who doesn’t like crispy prosciutto. All in all the pies were fair with many more untried.

The Time Out Featured Great Sausage

But Wasn't Great Overall

All Things Ping Pong

Can You Find The Restroom? No One Can Without A Map & Secret Knock

After his sabbatical, our server wanted to know if we wanted to up his tip by ordering dessert. Fortunately for him the desserts sounded better than his lack of function didn’t. There were a few desserts but for some reason two of them had superlatives attached to them unlike the rest. This is what the menu said…

Ice Cream


The BEST Tiramisu EVER

B- E -A-Utiful

Like The Red Sauce Some Items Are Perfectly Balanced Like The "Tear-a-My-Briefs"

Whoever is writing the menu is apparently also eating desserts. Both of these were fantastic. The ice cream was exactly as promised, smooth with crunchy praline nuggets and just enough salt in the thickly sweetened caramel I think we regretted the single scoop. The only problem with the tiramisu was if two people are cutting spoonfuls off of opposite corners it ends up looking like underwear. That was all that could be critiqued. Much like the red sauce the balance was exceptional. Sweetness hugged the bitterness of coffee resulting in a singular blend of downright magnificent.

Comet Ping Pong is loud, fun and delivers pretty well to the table if you don’t count on the person doing the delivery. With so many pizzas to try I’m certain repeat business will keep them going strong, even if not every pie is a homerun.




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