Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema Gives Red Rocks A Paltry 1 1/2 Stars

Sietsema concludes: “RedRocks has some details to fine-tune. Pacing is one of them. Chances are high that you’ll be eating your appetizer when your entree appears. Variety — easy on the carbs, please — is another issue. On the other hand, pizza is the purpose, and RedRocks, with a tweak here and a more generous hand there, could well become a destination for other than just its neighbors.”

Read the full article here.

20 Comment

  • 1 1/2 stars isn’t so bad, especially for a neighborhood joint. Tom is kind of stingy with the stars, and it’s actually his text that is more interesting and telling. I think what’s dinging Red Rocks from his perspective is inconsistency — that certainly seems to match what I’ve read here.

  • After reading the review a couple of times, it seems the 1 1/2 stars was a bit low compared to the description in the text. He seems to genuinely like the place, and the main attraction, the pizza. His quibbles seem to mainly be about the appetizers and side dishes. I do worry about their capacity in the winter, when the patio aill be closed, but who knows, if this mild weather continues…

  • I went again the other day, and I must say was extremely worried by the fact that the pizza was not crispy at all anymore.. sort of vobly and chewy.. is that the experience everyone has now, or did I just happen to get an undercooked one or something?

  • I too have found the RR pizza a bit flaccid, though I haven’t been in a while… Have to say, we had Moroni’s tonight and it was perfect.

  • Moronis is just better. I plan on giving red rocks another try soon, but comparing the sort of soggy pizza with raw sausage I had there to the consistent awesomeness of moronis is…no comparison.

  • I like Red Rocks and will continue to go there, but the quality IS inconsistent. I brought a friend Saturday and neither of our pizzas were covered with sauce and cheese–large parts of both pies had been missed. Again, I really like the place and will support it, but the food quality is spotty.

  • Well, I love this place. This is just yet another reason not to trust the post on local recommendations.

  • Never trust a critic who uses adjectives like “zesty” too much….

  • I wouldn’t worry about 1 1/2 stars. Tom Sietsema said recently on one of his chats that “the quality of the food accounts for about 50 percent of any restaurant rating; service and ambience account for about 25 percent each.” A restaurant that is just a neighborhood spot is not going to get 3 or 4 stars generally. 2Amys, probably recognized as the best pizza spot in DC got 3 stars in the Washington Post Dining Guide, that points out the 50 best bet restaurants. Of these 50 there are 2, 3, and 4 star restaurants. I really like Red Rocks though I agree that Moroni & Bros. has much better pizza. Red Rocks wins out sometimes though for nice atmosphere and a great patio…but they do have some room to improve on service and food (the tasty yet strangely soggy pizza).

  • I went there for the second time (the first time was right after opening) a week or two ago. They are definitely a little better organized now, but I had a lot of the same thoughts Tom had. The pizza was ok if a little soggy still, but the appetizers are really starch based, which is too bad. We tried to get the burrata but they were out (they were out of that, a few other things, and almost every red wine they had on the list that wasn’t a Cabernet or Meritage type blend). They missed a delivery, I guess, which sucks and I don’t blame them for that since it sounded like it was not their fault, but I got conflicting info from the bartender and the waitress about what wines they did have which was a little confusing.

    We did get the potato/aioli appetizer since we were hungry and desperate for something to munch on, and I guess Tom didn’t get that because it was not aioli with those poor potatoes, I think it was crushed raw garlic. It was so strong it made your mouth tingle/burn. And even though I went and got gum afterwards and chewed three pieces (we were headed out or I would have brushed my teeth immediately) and brushed my teeth when I got home, I woke up with the taste still in my mouth the next morning! So be warned. I like garlic but it was way way too much!

    That said, I think they are still working out some kinks and it is a pleasant place to eat. I think his review is pretty spot on from what I have experienced. Maybe the inconsistency is a common pizza problem…even Comet, which some people love, has been accused of inconsistency with the pies.

    (I do admit I have had about 20 pies from Moroni’s thus far and they have yet to disappoint.)

  • I’ve been there a couple of times and the first was great, close to Two Amys, the second not so good, very soggy and oversauced. I e-mailed them about it but never heard a response. I really want the place to do well and I’ll be back; however, got some pies from Moroni’s last week and they rocked even though one was the wrong type b/c the person answering the phone didn’t have great English!

  • “This is just yet another reason not to trust the post on local recommendations.”

    Richard–which part of Tom’s review did you disagree with? I’d concur with those who think the 1-1/2 star rating was a bit low (2 seems reasonable to me), but beyond that it seemed quite fair and straightforward. What are you taking issue with?

  • I have to agree with his review. I’ve been three times now. The first time, I think they honestly forgot to put cheese on my pizza. I was shocked at how much of the crust was completely exposed with no cheese at all. (And yes, I’ve been to Italy and know what a real Italian pizza looks and tastes like. But even in Italy, there’s at least a basic layer of cheese). The second time, my pizza was awesome. The third, somewhere in between. I’ll continue to support the joint, but I’m not a fan of the “wonder if my meal will be good today” guessing game when I go to eat somewhere.
    Personally, I think there’s a lot of potential there, but I also think some of the rave reviews are more about our desperate need for good eateries in the area.

  • I think 1 and a half stars is fair. It’s a pizza place and he wasn’t awed with the pizza. Even if their appetizers were great, which they’re not, Red Rocks is a pizza place and should have perfected that item. The quality of the crust is very inconsistent and they are very stingy with toppings.

  • I think it is a little overpriced for what you get. I have always been hungry an hour after eating there. Beer selection is above average.

  • Oh, man. Moroni and brothers tonight with pine nuts, mushrooms and spinach. Why go anywhere else? Amy who? Red rocks what? It’s awesome and I don’t have to cross Georgia to get it. Viva Petworth! Columbia Heights Delenda Est!

  • Unless you like soggy crust and terrible service, then you probably shouldn’t eat here. 1 and ½ stars is generous in my opinion.

  • I’ve been to red rocks a lot, and haven’t experienced anything but good service since the first month or so they were open.

    I will agree that consistency is occasionally a problem, but not nearly to the degree it was. Reading the comments here feels like reading the same comments people had in the first weeks they were open. But a lot has changed. I can’t help but wonder from among all the downers here, who’s actually been there in the last few months?

  • I appreciate the gumption of anyone who opens a true restaurant in the neighborhood, so Props to RR and its owners and staff. But I question the wisdom of turning a row house on a residential block into a restaurant, especially when dilapidated structures emblazoned with “FOR LEASE” signs sit directly across the street. Seeing people perched precariously on mini-terraces backed by that homely stockade-style privacy fence is an eyesore. Does anyone know if there was ever an attempt to locate this restaurant in the Bi-Rite building? I understand Warehouse is considering it now, but it’s clear that RR would have been a perfect in that location, allowing their present structure to be solely residential.

  • I feel that the pizza is over priced. They do offer half priced cheese pizzas during happy hour, but you have to order in. No takeout. I am rather new to the area, so I will continue trying different places.

Comments are closed.