Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Comet Appears

You don’t have to know a lot about the game of table tennis to feel at home at Comet Ping Pong in Connecticut Heights. It’s not necessary to know the difference between a chop and a block and a lob. All you really need is a craving for good pizza in a relaxed environment.

The décor leaves much to be desired, especially when you are sitting on the metal benches. Yet, you aren’t here to curl up in a booth, and that’s more than ok with the waiters and waitresses who look like they would be more at home in the hipster kingdom of Brooklyn. Yet, it’s easy to see that the peeling paint, exposed brick and abstract steel sculptures mimic the laid back attitude that is Comet Ping Pong. In fact, the place is so laid back that they hid their restrooms behind an unmarked door and there is a mint green Vespa hanging from the ceiling.

Without a doubt the star of the show at Comet is the pizza. This isn’t a place to pussyfoot around and try to remain “healthy” (especially if you are on a date). I can tell you from experience that whatever calories are hidden in the hand-formed pies are worth it. We were able to try 3 different pizzas while sitting at our table (which looked like a mini ping pong table) and all of them were deserving of being in the winner’s circle. Elliot and I opted to share The Smoky, while our friends tried the Steel Wills and The Dive. Our pizza lived up to its name with layers of gooey smoked mozzarella, sweet onions and mushrooms (we opted to skip the bacon). We were afraid that the single pizza with our side of meatballs (more on them later) wouldn’t be enough food for the two of us. Luckily the close-to-excessive amounts of cheese on the pizza prevented that from occurring.

The other big winner of the afternoon, the Steel Wills looked (and tasted) even better than when it was featured on Food Network’s Triple D. The house-made ricotta lived up to all my expectations and made me wish I knew how to make it myself. And you can’t forget The Dive. I am a sucker for egg on a pizza, but unfortunately this one fell a little flat. The yolk was a tad overcooked, resulting in a less than ideal yolk to crust ratio.
In addition, we opted to try and order of the Curtain Lady’s Special (aka meatballs).
I’m normally not a huge fan of this particular Italian specialty, but the combination of the veal meat, flavor-packed tomato sauce and the salty Parmesan made it a perfect starter to our meal.

Even though there are plenty of more metro-accessible pizza joints, this one is a “can’t miss.” Make the trek up Connecticut Ave for a date or go out with a group of friends. The restaurant is extremely proud of the fact that they have offered free ping pong in the back room for over two years and they have live music a handful of times each month. In addition, they have a well-crafted beer menu that features beers from some great breweries including Bells and Great Lakes. All of these things make for a relaxed environment that one expects from a great pizza joint, and the best part is - it can all be had for a great price.


  1. Unfortunately, I have to disagree with you on this one! And I say unfortunately because the restaurant is literally a stone's throw from my apartment. We picked up from there and were pretty disappointed. We ordered a Jimmy with mushrooms (which they apparently interpreted to mean no meatballs!) and a Greek Salad. The pizza was lackluster and small with not very much cheese, definitely not gooey like the one you describe, and the Greek Salad was pretty typical. Not sure I'll go back there again!

  2. @rachel - I think that you always have to give a place another try when you carry out. Frequently items are left to sit under heat lamps where they can become soggy and loose flavor. Since it is so close I would suggest that you go grab a pint, play some ping pong and try again.