Chefs in striped gondolier shirts maneuver around two 100,000-pound ovens at Bethesda's Haven Pizzeria Napoletana.
The "Haven" in the name refers to New Haven-style pies, blistered in coal-burning 12-by-12-foot ovens roomy enough to fire 100 pizzas at once.
Naturally, it's wise to focus on dishes that clock time in the 2,200-degree fire. Green zucchini and salty prosciutto ($5) are rolled, baked and dressed with fresh basil. Tomatoes and red peppers ($5) are topped with fresh mozzarella, basil and olive-oil vinaigrette, then quickly charred. The Haven Potato Chip ($5) is a fluffed herb focaccia that is brushed with garlic, olive oil and Pecorino and baked into a crisp, cheesy hunk.
Pies start with a 300-year-old Italian yeast culture, and bake into the New Haven ideal of crisp-but-chewy crusts. The clam pie ($14 for an 11-inch pie) is Haven's most popular, the pie topped with olive oil, oregano and garlic. The tangy tomato pie with creamy Italian mozzarella ($9) uses juicy plum tomatoes to add more texture than standard red sauce.
House-made chocolate, vanilla and strawberry gelato ($4) make for thick, frothy shakes ($6) to end the feast.
Haven Pizzeria Napoletana, 7137 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda; 301-664-9412 or havenpizzeria.com