COALHOUSE: 85 HIGH RIDGE ROAD, STAMFORD
ABOVE: A 12″ pie with bacon at Coalhouse.
A NOTE FROM THE LBC: In light of the Advocate’s review of Coalhouse which is up today, I am bumping this post up. I have been back to Coalhouse since my visit on opening day and still find the crust to be seriously lacking. A lot of folks disagree with me on this, but I just don’t get it…
There has been a lot of speculation about what the new Coalhouse Pizza is going to contribute to the Stamford pizza scene. With its prominent neon sign on High Ridge road, it has created a little buzz in the months since the Stamford Pizza Tour declared its list of winners.
I was hopeful: the addition of a coal-fired brick oven in Stamford couldn’t possibly be bad.
For a week or so, it appeared to be ready to open, but the “coming soon” sign was still in the window. Until yesterday.
I dropped in on their soft opening with a couple of friends and the first thing I noticed was the decor, which has a blues theme maybe more suitable for a barbecue joint. My table was plastered with photos of R.L. Burnside, an ornery S.O.B. of a delta bluesman who recorded the greatest song even written about a murderous, foul-mouthed drunken monkey. Even the menu items are named after blues songs. Though, I am fairly certain Muddy Waters probably wouldn’t eat the baby yellow squash on his namesake Hoochie-Coochie Man pizza at Coalhouse, he was a meat a potatoes kind of guy.
The pizzas come in both 12 and 16-inch sizes and with a variety of toppings ranging from standard to a little more exotic (poblano peppers, shitake mushrooms, even kimchi).
We ordered a standard margherita-type pie and a similar pie with bacon and peppers, both very reasonably priced at $7.75. I would actually prefer a heftier pie for a little more money, but then again, this gives you the opportunity to order a salad first instead of gorging on pizza, which I am known to do (and for well under $15).
I was surprised at how thin the crust is, thinner than any other pizza I have ever had. Ever.
In order to fire a pie in just a couple of minutes at 700-800 degrees, it has to be thin, but I’m not sure this is the pie for me. However, the menu is well thought out and I will be back to try some of them like the Shake Your Money Maker (my favorite Elmore James cut) with cherry-stone clams, roasted garlic and bacon.
The macaroni and cheese, which at $4.75 is also a great deal, comes hot from the oven with a crispy panko bread crumb crust. My only objection is that it could use a touch of cream or a little more cheese, but it’s pretty good.
A panko crust is also employed on the chicken wings which were not only well-seasoned and very tender but won the approval of the Advocate’s resident – yet anonymous – Buffalo wing connoisseur. Coalhouse offers about 15 different sauces for the wings and are either served with a traditional blue cheese or cucumber dill sauce. I’m definitely trying the spiced Manchego sauce next time.
From the bar, Coalhouse has a reasonably decent beer list with Stone IPA on tap and a well-curated but not excessively large list of bottled beers (Dale’s Pale Ale, Lagunitas IPA, Allagash, etc.)
I totally see what Coalhouse is trying to do here and I’m glad they are trying to set themselves apart, but the crust might be a deal breaker for me. We’ll see, I’m more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, particularly if that means eating more pizza.
BELOW: The macaroni and cheese.