Best New Pizza

Il Canale
1063 31st St. NW; (202) 337-4444
Of all the new pizzerias that have popped up in the area, only Il Canale has the potential to one day unseat 2Amys as the pie supreme. The rounds at this new Italian outpost in Georgetown are not there yet, but you can practically taste the ambition in every slice. At the very least, Il Canale has the equipment and talent to compete with the best. Its wood-fired oven has been imported from Italy, which wouldn’t mean jack (Giacomo?) without pizzaiolo Enrico Sautto’s expertise in handling the heat-intensive unit. His pizzas arrive from the oven with perfect—and I mean perfect—corniciones or outer crusts. These corniciones are so beautifully uniform in puffiness, all the way around the pie, they look as if Sautto inflated them, like inner tubes. Aesthetics, of course, only go so far. Sautto’s crusts are aggressively salted, impossibly thin, and appropriately chewy, though a tad flaccid. They may be even better the following day, when reheated on a stone and crisped to a harder edge. Sautto’s main problem is sauce—not its flavor, which is as fresh and sweet as tomatoes ripe from the garden, but its application. His crusts drown in the stuff. That’s an easy fix, though, particularly for a fifth-generation pizzamaker who knows that the sauce is always secondary to the crust.

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