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Thursday, March 10, 2016

First Look: Declaration

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: U Street/Shaw

The Setup

Nursing a hangover, Official Cousin of DCWD Morton needed something delicious and filling. This seemed like a perfect opportunity then for Official Co-Writer/Wife of DCWD Texas and I to try out newcomer Declaration for some carryout.

The Vibe
Think a high-speed collision between some of the Americana kitsch around places like Occidental, or The Hamilton, or old America Eats Tavern and the glassy shiny openness of DBGB. Open space that feels like it's half plate glass and half wood-paneling, and which seems to have only counter-top or bar-height seating (in truth, there is more traditional seating, but it seems to be restricted to the margins). Or, if simpler, you could just compare it to its brethren, Lincoln and Teddy and the Bully Bar. Similar buzz, similar theme.

The Food

We order three pizzas from the list of 13. You have to give it to Presidential Restaurant Group - they really commit to their theme. Each pizza here draws inspiration and pricing from one of the original colonies - so thanks to Virginia's 1607 founding, you'll pay less for it than the corresponding Delaware pie. Sometimes the connection is strong: a cheesesteak pizza for PA, barbecue for NC, clams for MA. Sometimes... it's a Thanksgiving-inspired pizza for NH or a squash-sage pizza for MD. Do with that information what you will.

For our purposes, we order three (pricy as they are, you still only get a foot-wide pizza, which in our household, passes for personal size). We stick with simple: a Thomas McKean from Delaware, which nets you a fairly straightforward ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella, and sausage pizza with the addition of Idiazabal cheese and Brussels sprouts; an even more straightforward RI Roger Sherman - meatballs, ricotta, tomatoes, roasted peppers; and a Thomas Jefferson from VA - ham, arugala, tomatoes, olive oil. Nothing you probably couldn't find somewhere else.

That being said, there are some decidedly joyous moments here. The Roger Sherman meatballs are a delight, meaty and tender and perfectly salted and herbed. That pizza is the first one to go and by far the favorite of the night. Perhaps the only true downside is the crust, a little thin to the point of flimsiness; most slices flop over without two hands. Still, all the combinations are enjoyable and balanced, with the strong caveat that we picked the safest slices on the menu.

The Verdict

A little expensive, but a decent pizza.

Food Rating: ***
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 3 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Bar Rating:
 (out of 5) ($25-$50 for two)

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