ANTHONY’S COAL FIRED PIZZA: 319 POST ROAD, DARIEN
The first time I went to Anthony’s, shortly after they opened their doors in February, Chuck Locke, director of operations for the chain, told me I could take as many photos as I wanted, as long as I didn’t photograph the oven.
That’s too bad, because the thing is a beast. From what I can tell, there’s basically a gigantic lazy Susan rotating around the hot coals. Pizza goes in one side as dough and comes out the other as crust.
Speaking of the crust, let’s cut to the chase. It’s a chewy, charred, thin crust. That sounds like something you’d get in New Haven, but it’s not. It’s more dense and has less flavor. In the crust arena, the big selling point for this kind of pizza, New Haven still very much wins. Even the Behind the Net snack bar in the Darien Ice Rink, just half a mile away, outshines the crust here (to be fair, Behind the Net, sometimes called Zamboni’s, is much better than ice rink snack bar pizza has any right to be). That’s not to say the crust is bad, it’s just up against some stiff competition.
The most interesting pie at Anthony’s is a cauliflower number (see below) with garlic, romano, mozzarella, and a noticeable kick from red pepper flakes. Even the small version of this is daunting in size, but totally delicious. I thought the cauliflower might be too tough, but it’s surprisingly tender.
The traditional cheese pizza is heavy on the cheese, with the sauce on top. It’s not the most delicate pizza you’ll ever have, but the flavor is pretty darn good.
Overall, I’d say Anthony’s is a welcome addition to the Darien food scene and a lot better than a chain from Florida has any right to be, but nowhere near the upper echelon of pizza joints in Fairfield and New Haven counties.