Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo’s homage to the neighborhood pizza joint is an in-demand reservation because it’s so darned good, not because the two guys are stars. At breakfast an unshaven father shares his kid’s Nutella toast; at dinner friends slide into booths in the white-oak dining room, with its cranking wood oven and grill. The Italian canon is rendered with the gusto Shook and Dotolo specialize in, but there’s also a more rarely seen delicateness. For a salad, raw zucchini curls beneath flakes of pepato, a peppercorn-studded sheep milk cheese; an eggplant slice dipped in egg wash and carefully fried ensures that this parmigiana showcases stewed San Marzano tomatoes instead of oil. As the chefs expand their mini empire, the vision connecting their restaurants becomes clearer. Theirs is a new form of comfort. You may have to wait on the sidewalk for your table, but it’s hard to resent diners for lingering over their Barbera.
The Vibe: It’s everything you think of when you think of the new Fairfax: young, very hip, edgy, approachable, across from a Jewish deli.
The Crowd: The question isn’t who’s here—fans of Jon & Vinny, fans of Italian food, lucky tykes, people in really awesome sneakers, your mom (really, she’d probably love it)—it’s who isn’t.
The Must-Have Dishes: Meatballs, cacio e pepe, “Little Nat’s” pepperoni pizza
The Drinks: Helen’s wine shop is right in back, and it showcases some of the scrumptious, eclectic offerings you can sip alongside your ‘za.
Getting a Table: People don’t seem to realize they take reservations here, but they do. And they’re popular, especially on weekends. Plan head, otherwise you are guaranteed a wait. Breakfast is the most mellow meal, though. If you have a sudden hankering for Nutella toast, come on by.
Insider Tip: They offer a few different dips for your pizza crust, including ranch, which we support 100 percent. They also deliver—that includes bottles from the petite wine shop in back, Helen’s. – Lesley Bargar Suter
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