Read Queenedix’s previous food truck reviews here.
Pizza is, most often, a food produced for mass consumption and not maximum enjoyment. Great local options aside, most people think Papa John’s when imagining pizza, not Paradiso. Within the last week, somewhere in America, a group of college students celebrated the end of their term by purchasing several 18-packs of reduced-calorie pale lager, ignoring the concept of moderation, blasting top-40 hits on Spotify, and, inevitably, ordering some quantity of low-quality pizza from a national chain pizza restaurant. Because it lacks flavor anyway, it will be dunked in “garlic sauce” and ranch dressing, serving mostly as an alcohol absorbent and not an enjoyable meal. Pizza is a food that can become sublime, even gourmet (Graffiato’s Countryman pizza springs to mind), and yet most pizzas are made as cheaply and quickly as possible—a reality that made me extremely skeptical of DC Slices, one of the oldest food trucks in the city. Perhaps I should blame months of hearing about Herman Cain and Godfather’s Pizza for subliminally instigating my pizza cravings, but I finally ignored my fear of disappointment and dove into the DC Slices menu.
Pizza: 3 Seconds
Tater Tots: 4.5 Seconds
There are a few things you might hear at a food truck that immediately reassure you of your lunchtime decision. “Would you like fresh basil on your pizza?” and “Your food might take a few minutes, we cook to order,” are two such comments. DC Slices is a solid, reliable, affordable lunch option that might not compete with the specialty restaurants around town, but firmly rests many levels above your average chain or lunch-takeout pizza joint. At $4 a slice, or $5 combined with a soda, it is the best lunch deal I’ve found so far. Their tomato sauce is homemade and well-seasoned, the dough is soft enough to fold your slice but still has a good chewiness, and your pizza is served melty-hot out of the oven. The cheese and pepperoni options were solid; their version of my personal favorite combo, sausage and onion, was tasty but not terribly exciting—the flavors of sausage and onion didn’t stand out on their own from the sauce either time I sampled it.
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The best slice, in my opinion, is the veggie slice. There are no small, wilted, flavorless veggies here. This slice is loaded with big pieces of mushroom, red and green peppers, onion, and basil, the flavors of which all stand out. There’s something very satisfying (and, when it comes to pizza, surprising) about tasting individual vegetables in each bite. The buffalo chicken pizza, however, just wasn’t as good as I had hoped for. As a buffalo wing fanatic, I can appreciate some Texas Pete sprinkled on almost anything. However, this slice was topped with tomato sauce, cheese, roasted chicken, and jalapenos, and then absolutely doused in hot sauce—to the point that I couldn’t taste anything else. The chicken pieces I pulled off and sampled were great—juicy and flavorful and not at all dried out from cooking, but I think they need a lighter hand when adding the buffalo sauce. Even the added dressing (I chose ranch, but blue cheese is an option) was completely lost, overwhelmed by spicy/hot/tangy.
Now, ignore everything I’ve written up until this point and listen closely: Go to DC Slices as soon as possible. Order the tater tots. The soggy lunch food we used to revile in middle school has reappeared in recent years at bars and restaurants all over town as a trendy side or bar snack, and DC Slices’ versions are exactly what tater tots should be. Cooked to order and served hot, incredibly crispy, and soft in the middle, a $3 order brightens a gloomy afternoon (and also comes with Cajun or Old Bay seasoning). But why play it safe when living dangerously is so much better? Load up the tots with pizza sauce and cheese, bacon and shredded cheddar, or chili and cheddar. I promise you will not regret this decision. Their mozzarella and tomato sauce loaded on tots is delicious—the sauce is savory, cheese salty, and tots hot and crispy. Bacon and cheddar is also great, reminiscent of bite-sized potato skins. The chili they serve is meaty and rich, with good spiced flavor and pieces of green pepper and onion adding some light crunch. My only tot-related criticism: the black beans in the chili. Anyone from Texas, or who watches Top Chef, knows beans have no place in real chili, and they are not only unnecessary here, but are extremely likely to fall off your tot and into your lap. DC Slices may not compete with upscale chains, but they make a solid pie, have great service, and understand how to treat a tater tot. Don’t be afraid to check them out for lunch sometime soon—you might even feel like you’re in college again.