It takes a lot to get me to the suburbs. Having heard about and read about Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana for months though I decided to go ahead venture out to Gaithersburg and see what all the hype was about. And when I arrived and saw the LINE out front, I knew no one was exaggerating: I was in for a treat.
Chef and owner Tony Comte opened up Inferno about two years ago; it’s a modest, 39 seat pizzeria with a wood fire oven and sweet high school students as servers. Families are clearly coming from near and far for delicious pizzas and wine by the carafe. I was intrigued by the sporadic five course pasta dinners held at the venue; Chef’s background includes stints at Oval Room and Jean Georges so I know he knows his way around a kitchen.
When I went for dinner I was lucky enough to sample both his classic pizza as well as some of the more delicate dishes that he serves at the pasta dinners. Here is a play-by-play: first, an elegant beet salad that was sweet and hearty, crowned with succulent chopped tomatoes. Then, a cloud of burrata, swimming in a pool of olive oil and adorned with watermelon. The third course, tomatoes served in a bed of tangy yogurt, drizzled in a tart pickled vinaigrette was light and refreshing.
Next up was gnocchi: fluffy potato dumplings, tender and perfect. Shards of black truffle, flecks of Parmesan cheese, crunchy hazelnuts and a buttery sauce. At this point, I was full. Until I saw the pizza that is. The doughy pizza came smothered in a duo of sauces: sweet tomato and meaty mushroom Bolognese. Puddles of melted cheese and a handful of basil leaves completed the dish. I ate every last bite.
And then, dessert. Everyone knows the way to my heart is a classic American dessert. Peanut butter cookies come warm and gooey and literally perfect. The creamiest of vanilla soft serve arrives in a jar, piled high with warm apple compote.
The menu changes periodically: expect root vegetables on the menu this fall; along with apples, beets and Brussel sprouts. Prices are unbelievably reasonable, with pizzas as low as $10 and desserts for just $5! You can walk away with a dinner for two, with drinks, for less than $50. If you can walk… I pretty much had to roll myself out of there.
I highly recommend venturing out to the burbs for this gem. Just remember to wear your stretchy pants.