Piccante Pizza

As an immigrant, opening an ethnic restaurant might be a rewarding way to introduce Americans to your native land's flavors, but then again, all you've got to do is look out the window to realize, "Damn, these TV-addicted lardos sure love pizza!" Giving their new countrymen what they want, the family behind Piccante. Just-opened in the heart of Adams-Morgan by a Turkish man and his son & daughter, Piccante serves up dine-in/take-out Italian fare in a bright red basement galley that, with its modern, curved, flip-down-TV-festooned ceiling, looks a lot like a futuristic airplane cabin, optimistically assuming that in the future we'll still have airlines. Pizza comes any way you like it, or go for gourmet preset pies like the chicken/bacon/spinach/garlic "Alfredo", the spicy pepper sauce/red onion "Spicy Chicken", or the onions/green peppers/garlic herb sauce "Steak", the most seamless integration of American favorites since Slamball(!). Other crowd-pleasing fare includes hot sandwiches (from the garlic sauce/onion/tomato aioli "Portabella Mushroom" to an old-fashioned chicken parm), pastas (baked beef ravioli to fettuccine alfredo) and a slew of calzones -- the choicest location for competitive toppings, because who doesn't want to be in the 'zone?

The fam gets back to Turkish roots on the sweets front, with their cinnamon, walnut, and vanilla "Piccante's Special-Semolina Dessert" -- which you're pretty sure you saw someone making on a cooking show, right before passing out from fatness.