Although the week between Christmas and New Year's is pretty quiet, there was a full house last Tuesday night at Coalhouse Pizza. Coalhouse is the newest addition to Bull's Head Shopping Center on High Ridge Road. I went along with the author of the Streets of Stamford blog and the guys behind the Stamford Pizza Tour, so I was among true pizza connoisseurs. Although my grading system is quite a bit more informal than theirs, I can still cook up an opinion or two.
Altogether, I really enjoyed Coalhouse. The atmosphere was fun and festive, with jazz icons featured on the table and walls. Cigar box guitars hung on the wall over a bustling room full of happy customers. The service was solid. Our table was wet, and our waitress efficiently found and replaced the cracked glass that was the culprit. When I wasn't a huge fan of my first wine selection (one of many by-the-glass offerings), she replaced it with a smile. She even helped me look for a lost pen top (which is still jostling around on the floor somewhere...oh well).
Of course, the main attraction is the pizza. I'm big on sauce, and theirs was savory and fresh. They avoided the cardinal sin of excessive sweetness. We were not particularly adventurous with our topping selection, but the sausage and red peppers were flavorful. The red peppers were left with just enough crunch intact. I'd heard other folks say the crust has been charred black on prior visits, but ours was simply kissed with char - just what you'd want. I quite enjoyed the sprinkling of fresh herbs. I prefer a bit more cheese on my pizza, but reasonable palates could differ.
The menu is impressive, boasting 18 pizza varieties with jazz-themed names and ingredients that are refreshingly outside the norm. For instance, the Minnie the Moocher features "homemade eggplant croutons" and the Lucille features "drizzled white truffle oil." There are small plate selections of veggies, pasta and pork. There are also plenty of alternative entrees, such as salads, ribs and wings.
One more charming and noteworthy addition is the bright neon exterior Take Out window. It's a fun place to dine inside, but nice to know you can take it with you. Either eat in or take out, I'm sure I'll return soon.
(photo from jdn, flickr.com)
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