When I tell people I love New Haven pizza, I’m usually met with a blank stare, followed by, “What’s New Haven pizza?” There are imitators, but to understand what the big deal is, you really have to go to New Haven, CT. The big deal is that blistered crust… and the clam pie.
Comet Ping Pong does their own version of the New Haven clam pie with the Yalie (Get it — Yalie? New Haven?), but it falls far short of the original.
I’d say I was a little let down by Comet in general. A recent Friday night resulted in over an hour wait. The pizzas are also rather small — maybe 10″-12″ in diameter? For $11-$15 a pop, that’s not a whole lot of pie.
The pies we ordered were generally solid — especially the toppings, like the fennel sausage and roasted peppers.
Nice fresh ricotta, spinach and olives here.
I believe this was our favorite, with potato, spinach and feta.
Surprisingly, the crusts look better than they tasted. Not as chewy or crispy as I was expecting. The toppings overly weighted towards the center probably had something to do with that — when the balance is off, the middle can get soggy.
The Yalie is modeled after the famous clam pies of New Haven. Fresh clams, garlic, thyme, parmesan and lemon. When it works, the combo is a marvel. Not as successful here. The clams were severely overcooked; they should have been tender, not tough and chewy. Disappointing, considering this is the pie I was most excited to try.
Overall, Comet’s doing decent pizza, but there’s large room for improvement, and the Yalie was a definite letdown. I’d like to try Haven Pizzeria in Bethesda as a comparison. Or maybe I’ll just have to swing by New Haven for the real deal.
Comet Ping Pong
5037 Connecticut Ave. NW