Helpful ReplyHot!So Much Pizza in Connecticut

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TnTinCT
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/05/03 17:12:45 (permalink)
Nice pics, Ketteract. It's been a few years since we went to the Colony; I did love that neighborhood bar kind of feel, and the pizza itself was a unique experience. They tried opening one nearer to me in Avon, Ct, it closed before I had a chance to try it - I don't think it was open much longer than 6 months.
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/05/03 17:22:48 (permalink)
What I read about the former Avon location was that locals just didn't know what to expect, and weren't used to the style.  I drove by that location on my first trek out there, and was excited upon seeing the sign, then deflated when I saw it was closed.
 
I actually just finished the leftovers tonight.  Not all pizzas are good two days afterward, but this was!
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TnTinCT
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/05/17 07:02:22 (permalink)
We took a road trip to Roseland Apizza in Derby, CT with some friends. It's another of the "been around since 1935" places and this is near-ish to New Haven so the pizza style is similar, thin crust and charred. Unlike many of the New Haven greats, Roseland offers lots of things other than pizza. But pizza is why we came.
 
The restaurant sits in the middle of a neighborhood, and when we arrived at 530p on a Saturday there was already a line, with the parking lot full and cars parked on medians and side streets. You go in and put your name on a piece of paper, and wait. But while you wait, if there is room in the little lobby area, you can stare at the specials board, which has no less than 15 special pizzas, 8-10 apps, and 8-10 entrees in addition to the regular menu. (Can you say homemade lobster ravioli?). Don't expect anything fancy - the plates, silverware, and glasses don't match - but you won't notice once the food arrives.
 
We started off with some house salads, and I completely forgot to take pics - some nice fresh greens, a few olives, cherry tomatoes, and two cones of salami/provolone with the house italian dressing. A really decent salad. They bring out bread for the table, 6 or 7 giant slices of bread. We ordered garlic bread with cheese, so not much of the house bread got eaten when this arrived at the table. Delicious!
 

 
We went with friends, so Tim was happy to be able to order a special shrimp casino pizza - it's way to much for one person, and I don't eat shrimp. The board notes it as "market price" - in this case $41.50. There were 25 large shrimp on the pie (we counted) - 3 large shrimp on each slice, with bacon, peppers, onions, and garlic, and a little "muzz" (as the menu notes) with a beautiful roasted lemon in the center.

 
A nice close up -
 

 
We also ordered a sausage, pepperoni, and onion pie.
 


The sausage is a coarse grind, and I enjoyed it - but not as much as Zuppardi's, or Sorellos. It didn't have the depth of flavor or the spicing of those other two of my favorites. The crust is thin, and slightly crispy, more so as you get to the edges. It seemed a bit more bread-like and was missing a bit of chew for my preference, and once I ate through to the crust I wasn't interested in finishing the "pizza bones".  It's still to heavy to pick up a slice without folding or eating some with a knife and fork first - you'd end up with all the toppings in your lap.
That being said - this was really good pizza.
 
A friend in our party ordered ziti with sausage - and they brought him meatballs by mistake. Since it was busy, they asked if they could just bring out the sausage on the side - this looked amazing. The close up pic doesn't do it justice - mostly because it's a bad picture, but I thought I'd include it. They don't put their sausage in a casing - just roll in into log shapes and fry it up. He said it was some of the best sausage he'd ever had.
 

 

 
We took home so much food - the pizza is on the pricey side (especially the seafood pies), but there is no skimping on the ingredients, or the quality. There's a roadfood review of this place on the site, if you'd like to see more pictures. Another winner in Connecticut.
 
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Ketteract
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/05/19 08:10:36 (permalink)
So was the sausage that your friend got on the side different from what was on the pizza, or was it just that big of a difference in opinion?  
 
Roseland seems to be one of the few really notable pizzerias in CT that I've left to try ("B-list", if you will; I'd guess that Randy's Wooster St. Pizza is also in that category).  However, if I'm already in the New Haven area, it would take no small effort of will to tear myself away from the A-list places...
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TnTinCT
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/05/20 12:51:19 (permalink)
There was definitely a textural difference in the two sausages, with that nice crispy outside on the piece he had, vs. on top of the pizza, and in combination with a pasta dish vs. other pizza toppings. In hindsight, I should have stolen a bite of his for comparison! There's the subjective view, of course, on what you personally find appealing.
Speaking of Randy's - that will be on the list soon; they just offered a groupon. We haven't been in years, it used to be my go-to place on the way home from Boston (in Manchester) before Pepe's opened.
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/06/01 14:35:11 (permalink)
A friend from Germany was visiting this weekend, and we took a road trip to - you guessed it - New Haven. He loves seafood, so Pepe's original clam pie was the goal. On a slightly overcast Saturday, we got in line around 1230p and made it to our table in about 20 minutes; not bad!

 
The clam pie was gorgeous - and my friend loved it. Thin crust, nice char, excellent chew, plenty of garlic and fresh clams.
 

And the required close up -
 

 
For our second pizza, we went with a Ketteract recommendation - bacon and onions. Not a combination usually in our rotation, but it certainly will be now. Smoky bacon, sweet onions, and a little extra sprinkling of parm from the table container was a winner. These were both "perfect" examples of what Pepe's is, and why it remains on the top lists for pizza in the US.

 

 
My friend left with this comment - "I will need to wait several weeks before I eat pizza once I go home - as nothing can compare". He also left with a few bottles of Foxon Park cream soda - also a new favorite. As a side note - both of these pizzas were notably better than what we've had at the Manchester location. I was happy to see the original location still has this quality, and will have to drop a note to Pepe's again that their Manchester location just isn't up to snuff.
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/06/01 15:58:38 (permalink)
TTCT
Now yer talkin'!!!!  The picture of the clam pie is making me drool.  After eating apizza at Pepe's I said the same thing as your friend.  That was last June.  The next time I ate pizza after that was last month at Burt's on the Chicago tour. 
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/06/01 16:33:29 (permalink)
TnTinCT
For our second pizza, we went with a Ketteract recommendation - bacon and onions. Not a combination usually in our rotation, but it certainly will be now. Smoky bacon, sweet onions, and a little extra sprinkling of parm from the table container was a winner.

 
Excellent! The bacon and onion combo was recommended to me by a friend who stated that the way Pepe did it was somehow different than, and head and shoulders above, anywhere else. When I had it, I was indeed supremely impressed. The bacon itself was, notably, not just your run-of-the-mill bacon (and even run-of-the-mill bacon tastes good). Glad you liked it. I've had it at Zuppardi's, too, which was good, but not as good as Pepe's; sausage is really the thing to get there of course. I still need to do B&O at Sally's, Modern, and BAR.
 
TnTinCT
As a side note - both of these pizzas were notably better than what we've had at the Manchester location. I was happy to see the original location still has this quality, and will have to drop a note to Pepe's again that their Manchester location just isn't up to snuff.

 
Isn't Pepe's expanding into Massachusetts now, too? I hate to think of them diluting their name with subpar quality at other locations. I guess I don't care too much as long as the original New Haven location stays true, except that a badly-conducted expansion could have financial consequences for the company.
post edited by Ketteract - 2015/06/01 16:35:07
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/06/10 13:11:55 (permalink)
Speaking of Pepe's...
 
http://www.eater.com/2015/6/10/8752911/frank-pepe-pizzeria-new-haven-expansion-apizza#4763684
 
Looking to expand to 20-30 stores in the Northeast.
post edited by WarToad - 2015/06/10 14:32:21
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/06/10 14:19:37 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby wingmanBBF 2015/06/10 22:48:30
The words "Massive Expansion" scare me.  Please, please, let the clam pie in New Haven stay the same!
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/06/10 22:45:48 (permalink)
I just ate at the casino location tonight, (sorry...no pics) for the third time and I was impressed...the white clam was perfect as was the double sausage with Muzzi..
It appears they've really cleaned up the location and management, and they are truly coming close to the original in taste, char, and moistness....
We all had a long discussion about the New haven location and never being able to truly recreate it as the chain expands.......Discussion ended abruptly with a great point made by a buddy......"So, let's say the satellite locations will only be 80% as good as new Haven....That 80% Pepe's will still blow away any other pizza  in the local market by 50%......"
Good point.
post edited by wingmanBBF - 2015/06/10 22:50:26
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/06/11 00:03:07 (permalink)
WarToad
Speaking of Pepe's...
 
http://www.eater.com/2015/6/10/8752911/frank-pepe-pizzeria-new-haven-expansion-apizza#4763684
 
Looking to expand to 20-30 stores in the Northeast.

I sense a brand rename to "Pepe's Hut".
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/06/13 14:08:22 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby ThanksfortheCrepes 2015/06/14 06:14:34
Lunched at Modern today! I actually felt more like Sally's, but they don't open until 3 pm on Saturdays and I wasn't willing to wait that long for lunch.
 
I began with the requisite Foxon Park beverage.
 

 
This was only the second time I'd been to Modern, and for this visit, I ordered what has become one of my standard topping tests: half bacon and onion, half sausage and peppers. Although for this one, I chose pickled cherry peppers instead of regular bell peppers, because unlike Zuppardi's, Modern doesn't classify cherry peppers as a "premium" topping. It's the same price as all the rest. This was welcome.
 

 
The bacon was extremely salty, even for bacon - almost salty enough to be off-putting. You can barely make out the strands of onion. Not that you need a lot of onion for it to make itself known, but against this particular bacon, it didn't speak up much.
 

 
Still good, don't get me wrong, but not nearly as good as Pepe's bacon and onion, which has both better bacon and better balance.
 
The other half fared better!
 

 
I would rate the sausage at about the same quality as BAR, so better than Pepe's or Sally's, but still below Zuppardi's. I imagine that if you like pickled peppers in general, you'll love these, although this was my first time ordering that particular topping and it turns out my personal preference is non-pickled.
 

 
Here are a couple of crust close-ups. Modern still does my favorite crust out of the New Haven area pizzerias. I can certainly do the traditional heavy charring of Pepe's or Sally's, but I have to be in the mood for it. On any ol' day of the week, I'll probably pick Modern's crust instead.
 

 

 
I managed to decimate about half the pie ...
 

 
... and the rest went into their attractive box.  I liked the font they used on it - it's one that used to be very common in books (maybe it still is).  Rather appropriate for an establishment close to Yale.
 

 
I have to say that, overall, I preferred the first pizza I had at Modern, which was half plain (without cheese) with garlic, and half mozz, spinach, and garlic.
 

 
Their tomato sauce is excellent, really singing on its own and not, strictly speaking, needing cheese. The sausage was the best thing that I took from my latest order; I could certainly see having it again.
post edited by Ketteract - 2015/06/13 14:15:26
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/06/13 14:22:31 (permalink)
Such decisions, I pity you.  "Should I go for the crust at Modern, the sausage at Zuppardi's or the bacon and onion at Pepe's, or just maybe go to Sally's or BAR."
 
I hope you know you're killin' us poor folk that live in Central-apizza-deprived-Ohio!!!!  (As I am eating low-fat cottage cheese for lunch and wishing I had just one slice of CT pie!!)
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/06/13 14:30:37 (permalink)
From what I've seen, Ohio's not quite a pizza wasteland - there have been pies from the Columbus and Cleveland areas that made me sit up and take notice.  When I initially moved from Kansas City to Connecticut, I stopped at Columbus on the way and had some very, very good pizza at Hounddog's.
 
I still need to revisit Sally's. Their hours and cash-only policy annoy me, but so far I've only ever had a (superlative) sausage pie from them, and I owe them more extensive... research.
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/06/13 14:34:58 (permalink)
Columbus to New Haven - 9 h 39 min (623.0 mi)
 
You're both retired, right? 
 
Head out after breakfast and you can be there by dinnertime
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/06/13 14:53:11 (permalink)
Ketteract
Compared to CT pizza, Ohio is a barren wilderness!  Yes, we have some OK, somewhat edible pizza, but nothing like New Haven!!!
 
TJ
Don't laugh but MH did that once.  I think he left in the middle of the night, had a Pepe's plain pie, then drove back.  If I was going to drive over 1,000 miles for apizza, you had better put a topping on it!  Make mine a clam pie! 
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TnTinCT
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/06/13 15:25:52 (permalink)
Pizza roadtrips - the best!! We once planned an entire roadtrip around buffalo wings - about a 6 hour drive. Totally worth it. 9 hours for pizza doesn't seem that bad - especially New Haven pizza!
I don't know if I've had bacon on a Modern pizza - we tend to stick with a sausage / onion, or a pepperoni there. The crust is less crispy towards the middle than Pepe's and I find that the heavier toppings don't do as well on the Modern pie. They are famous for their "Italian Bomb" but I'm just not a fan - way too many toppings for me.
Re the cherry peppers - I wonder if the ones at Zuppardi's are pickled - I usually wouldn't order them, but we had them with sausage during one of the Roadfood gatherings there and it was great.
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Ketteract
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/06/13 16:02:41 (permalink)
TnTinCT
I don't know if I've had bacon on a Modern pizza - we tend to stick with a sausage / onion, or a pepperoni there. The crust is less crispy towards the middle than Pepe's and I find that the heavier toppings don't do as well on the Modern pie. They are famous for their "Italian Bomb" but I'm just not a fan - way too many toppings for me.

 
I wouldn't do the "Italian Bomb" either - that many toppings would be too much even on a sturdier crust.
 
The crust getting flimsy towards the middle is just part of the New Haven style, I've found - every single place I've been to is like that.  Of course, some get flimsier than others.  
 
TnTinCT
Re the cherry peppers - I wonder if the ones at Zuppardi's are pickled - I usually wouldn't order them, but we had them with sausage during one of the Roadfood gatherings there and it was great.



Welllllll... I'd think it would be pretty obvious whether they were pickled or not...    Thinking about it a little more, I could see pickled peppers working well with a strongly flavored meat, like pepperoni or some other kind of spicy sausage.  But the sausage at these pizzerias tends to be a milder variety, and I don't usually order pepperoni (Colony Grill's pepperoni looks interesting, though).  
post edited by Ketteract - 2015/06/13 16:04:19
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/06/13 16:57:32 (permalink)
TJ Jackson
Columbus to New Haven - 9 h 39 min (623.0 mi)
 
You're both retired, right? 
 
Head out after breakfast and you can be there by dinnertime


I have driven to New Haven for a plain pie at Pepe's, and then I turned around and drove back to Ohio. Retired? What's that?
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/06/14 12:28:38 (permalink)
Oh, also, there was a guy standing in front of a nearby table giving what appeared to be a comprehensive history of New Haven pizza, plus extensive information on Modern's preparation and ingredients, and recommendations on what to order.  He was addressing a group of maybe 7-8 people ... and he went on for quite some time.  Like, 20 minutes or so, perhaps more.  The group asked him several questions and he never seemed to tire of it.  Pretty neat, though if I'd been in that party, I'd have wanted to get the order suggestions out of the way first and then listened to the rest while my pizza was cooking.
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/06/30 12:41:22 (permalink)
Curious to know - has anyone here been to The Spot in New Haven?
 
The Pepe's we all know is at 157 Wooster St., but there's also the original location, "The Spot" (which left and then came back into their hands) at 163 Wooster St.  
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/06/30 12:59:28 (permalink)
I used to go to The Spot all the time. You had to walk down an alley to get to it then. Pepe's parking lot replaced the building that formed the wall lining the alley.
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/06/30 16:41:30 (permalink)
I forgot they existed until I ran across an article about them today.  They are now my next pizza destination.  I'm curious to see how they compare with Pepe's.  They do use a different oven.
 
https://offthebroiler.wor...pepe-pizza-napoletana/
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/06/30 16:44:24 (permalink)
When it was the old Spot I preferred it to Pepe's.
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/06/30 20:19:08 (permalink)
Ketteract
TnTinCT
I don't know if I've had bacon on a Modern pizza - we tend to stick with a sausage / onion, or a pepperoni there. The crust is less crispy towards the middle than Pepe's and I find that the heavier toppings don't do as well on the Modern pie. They are famous for their "Italian Bomb" but I'm just not a fan - way too many toppings for me.

 
I wouldn't do the "Italian Bomb" either - that many toppings would be too much even on a sturdier crust.
 
The crust getting flimsy towards the middle is just part of the New Haven style, I've found - every single place I've been to is like that.  Of course, some get flimsier than others.  
 
TnTinCT
Re the cherry peppers - I wonder if the ones at Zuppardi's are pickled - I usually wouldn't order them, but we had them with sausage during one of the Roadfood gatherings there and it was great.



Welllllll... I'd think it would be pretty obvious whether they were pickled or not...    Thinking about it a little more, I could see pickled peppers working well with a strongly flavored meat, like pepperoni or some other kind of spicy sausage.  But the sausage at these pizzerias tends to be a milder variety, and I don't usually order pepperoni (Colony Grill's pepperoni looks interesting, though).  




 
Ketteract, I am sooooo loving this thread.  I hope to get up to the New Haven area later this summer as I really want to try Sally's and Modern!  I too love the font on the Modern box.  Comforting, in a way.  As a proofreader, I love text that is clean, crisp and easy to read.  Putting it on an angle without being too cutesy about the font just makes it stand out more.  
 
TnTinCT, those peppers on the sausage and cherry pepper pie last October were definitely pickled.  I asked at the front counter before leaving and the woman said they drain them before applying them to the pie but they still retain some of that great pickly flavor.  I really loved it!  

post edited by billyboy - 2015/07/01 12:28:13
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TnTinCT
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/07/01 12:23:42 (permalink)
Ketteract
Curious to know - has anyone here been to The Spot in New Haven?



We were fortunate on the "official" Roadfood tour in Connecticut (3 years ago?) that the Spot was opened solely for our group. We got to see the oven - the original Pepe's bread bakery oven - and heard about the history from the grandson of Pepe himself. There was a spread of pies along the wall, and if you didn't see a combination or specific pizza you were looking for, or just wanted to try a particular type, they would toss it in the oven for you - all you can eat. What a great way to end the day. Haven't been there during "regular" business hours.
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/07/02 12:05:48 (permalink)
Went back to an old standy-by last night - Randy's Wooster St Pizza. This location is in Manchester, CT, and used to be a regular stop for me on the way home from Boston (before Pepe's came to town). Based on his website, Randy worked under the classic Wooster St (unnamed) pizza makers before opening his own place, and brought his knowledge, quality ingredients, and brick oven to the north.  Randy also has a thing for matchbox cars, and brought this theme to the restaurant.

 

 
Back in the day, little kids would get a free matchbox car with their meal, and judging from the zooming sounds and occasional bump on the back of my head from the party in the next booth, they still do. Be prepared for lots of kids, and noise.
 
Randy's offers a lot of "other than pizza" food - apps that are mostly fried things, a few salads, some pasta entrees, and grinders. I've never had anything here other than the pizza, and maybe a salad. We split a tossed salad (missed the pic opportunity) - lots of iceberg with a handful of other green lettuce, some nice fresh cukes/peppers, and a good peppery balsamic. There are also some interesting predefined pizza options (well, for the peanut butter pizza I'd probably choose a different word), both red and white. The pizza is very good, but there is just something missing that puts it behind the New Haven greats. Our usual order appears here - pepperoni, sausage and onions.
 

 
Singularly none of the individual toppings stand out. The pepperoni is ok, a bit bland, the sausage is ok, a bit bland, and the sauce is fresh and tomato-y. The crust has a nice char, not as heavy as New Haven pizza, and is for me the best part of this pizza.  The crust is very nice, with a bit of chew, and good air pockets - forgive my teeth marks on this one -
 

 

 

 
If you are in the neighborhood, it's a fun stop, especially for kids. With Pepe's just around the corner, this is a good option if you are with folks that maybe want something other than pizza - you can have your brick oven pie, and they can get... fried pickle chips and a sandwich.
post edited by TnTinCT - 2015/07/02 12:12:33
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/07/20 12:30:51 (permalink)
This past week we visited da Capo Restaurant in Avon, CT, right on Rt 44. We've been once or twice in the past, and they also have another restaurant in Litchfield, CT, that shares a menu. It's a big space, 2 dining rooms, the one with the bar also includes the brick ovens (gas fired), where the breads and pizzas are made.  There are lots of pastas and other assorted Italian items on the menu in addition to pizza. We started by sharing a Caesar salad -
 

 
It's been a while since we've been here - I have fond memories of their zesty, tear-inducing Caesar dressing, and it just wasn't there this time  The dressing had no zip, no zing, but the croutons were nice and garlicky. The salad is a good share for two - this is part of it I moved to a bread plate.
We split a large pepperoni pizza - the menu states it as "Authentic New York Thin Crust Style".
 

 
It's a pretty good pizza - it is nicely thin crusted, the sauce is fresh tomatoes, lightly applied, and they use fresh mozzarella. They add some nice basil after it's cooked. The pepperoni is flavorful, with a bit of spice and heat.
 

 
One thing I didn't really care for was the over-abundance of corn meal. You can see it on the crust here - it wasn't just on the bottom of the pizza to help it slide, it was across all of the exposed crust - it added an odd grainy texture, and I didn't finish all of the crust pieces - and they build it so there is a quite a bit of untopped crust area.
 

 
It's a decent pizza, and certainly for those areas of the country that live in a pizza desert (hello, my poor sister in Alabama), this would be a great choice. It's a good pizza, just not a great one.
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kaszeta
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/07/20 12:48:41 (permalink)
Had a nice visit to Modern last night, we were on our way back to NH from NYC.
 
Like is often the case with these drive-by visits to New Haven, we ended up doing Modern.  As I, many years ago, explained Modern to my girlfriend: Well, the pizza is about 90% as good as Pepe's... but with only 25% of the lines.  6pm on a Sunday?  I'd be waiting a while at Pepe's, or at least trying my "make-a-friend deal"[1].  The Modern?  5 minutes wait, quick, awesome, pizza, and we were on our way.
 
[1] Seating for 4 moves much, much quicker at Pepe's than seating for 2.  So you find another group of 2 and merge to make a group of 4.
#90
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