On an impromptu evening, the two BOOF buddies that have known me the longest, Mo and LB, and I ventured to Chinatown/Penn Quarter to use one of my livingsocial deals to Ella's Pizza. there are about a billion and one reasons that I am sad to be leaving DC this year, but one of them is definitely because LB just moved into town and it's been about 9years since we were in the same city together. sad face. nevertheless, both Mo and I bought the livingsocial deal because it is one of the few DC pizza locations that offer Gluten-Free Pizza.
Ella's Pizza has a really nice warm vibe to it and it sits right on the line of Chinatown/Penn Quarter (which I really don't understand that whole stupid distinction). It is dimly lit and almost has four different sections but all with the same casual hang out vibe. however, you definitely notice the distinction as one section has the power red walls, one section has a calmer sea blue wall, another section has a standard eggshell white wall and then there is the large bar spanning a large part of the left side of the restaurant (upon entering). although the restaurant was in my opinion good for a few friends, rather then an intimate date, I found myself wanting to have a little bit more harmony in the decor theme. but that's just an opinion. we didn't make it to dinner until much later but they also apparently have a really nice happy hour featuring $5.00 7inch Pizzas, $1.00 off American Draughts, and 3.50/16.00 (glass/carafe) of sangria(which is good). I think that happy hour is the only time I would probably go back to Ella's. More on that.
Mo ordered the Gluten-Free Napoletana which has tomato sauce, capers, anchovies, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella. For Mo, it is all about grading the crust and for her, it was a well-done Gluten-Free crust. It had a good crisp to it but the only really good thing about the whole pizza was the crust. The anchovies, basil and mozzarella were all very fresh but there was no seasoning on the pizza and the sauce was extremely bland. This is something that we would all criticize in our pizzas.
LB ordered the Melanzane which was topped with a tomato sauce, red onions, olives, yellow peppers, eggplant and goat cheese. I also eyed this pizza on the menu but once again, we were underwhelmed by their "Wood Fired" pizza. The ingredients were great but there was little to no seasoning on the pizza. Mo made an accurate comment that if you have to put red-pepper flakes, pepper, and salt on you pizza, then there is something wrong with the pizza.
I ordered the wild mushroom with spinach, tomato sauce and mild goat cheese and it was more of the same. Good ingredients, poor outcome. I love me some goat cheese so I tend to think that is an automatic winner but the spinach and mushrooms lacked any flavorful depth that really could make this pizza sing.
After having good pizza at il Canale, 2 Amys, Liberty Tree, and even Vapianos, I guess I would at least expect a nice tomato sauce. I clearly think that the Tomato sauce was the downfall of the pizza. Well, under-seasoning all around. The combinations that they have on their menu are really great and the ingredients are good, but those factors are unable to outweigh the lack of flavor. The crust on the non-gluten free pizza was fine but nothing to call home about. Ella's just get a different sauce (I mean, even TJ's Tomato Basil Marinara has better flavor) and get a little heavier handed on your seasoning, and you'll be fine.