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Coalhouse Pizza - Stamford

Just read on BlogStamford that a new pizza place is coming to town....WITH a brand new coal-fired oven! Sounds like the owners have some lofty plans, including live music and possibly a movie night. From the photos, it looks like it might be going in where Margot's used to be? Makes sense since the kitchen is probably still back there. Here's more: http://www.blogstamford.com/2009/07/c...

Looking forward to checking it out!

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  1. Looks like the former Margot's space is going to house a Middle Eastern eatery (passed it today on the way to Liz Sue's, but the name escapes me). Now I can't figure out where in that strip Coalhouse will be --maybe in the spot where the flower shop was? I love the convenience of that shopping center, so it's great that there will be two new places to try. And with the terrific Tawa right nearby, we may be developing quite a culinary mecca at Bull's Head!

    13 Replies
    1. re: MommaJ

      Thanks for the scoop MommaJ. I am intrigued about the Middle Eastern place. I quick Googled Coalhouse and came up with 85 High Ridge. I think Liz Sue's is 60 something? Either way, I'm looking forward to trying both places.

      1. re: A avenue

        "Tabouli Grill" will be coming to Margot's old spot. "Israeli and Mediterranean cuisine. "

        Coalhouse will be located a few stores north at Bullshead strip, near Sal's Pastry.

        1. re: louuuuu

          From Tabouli Grill's Craigslist help wanted ad: "Opening in Stamford in September. Tabouli Grill will be a full service ,casual, 40 seat restaurant serving Middle Eastern food, beer and wine. We will be open seven days a week for both lunch and dinner and will do delivery and take-out."

          Indian, Chinese/Japanese, coal-oven pizza and Middle Eastern, all within a few steps (well, a short trek across a parking lot for the Indian) and with easy peasy parking. I am psyched!

          1. re: MommaJ

            Plus Stamford's best bagels at Liz Sue.

            One quibble: I've never found the parking "easy peasy" there... and hunch if any of the newbies hits, it could be a real pain.

            1. re: louuuuu

              Great. Just what Stamford needs. Yet another pizza joint. And there is no parking there. Certainly not enough for all of these restaurants.

              1. re: lillydaisy

                I'd gladly take yet another pizza place in stamford if it were good. Here's hoping...

                1. re: adamclyde

                  Well keep hoping. Because the owners are all business people and not one is an actual food person. It's just not the same.

                  1. re: lillydaisy

                    From what I here the owners are the landlords! They could not rent the space so now there pizza makers. Oh boy..... No hope here.

                  2. re: adamclyde

                    I (sadly) love Bertucci's pizza. Fluffy crust, very thin pizza, and toppings like fresh mozzarella, roasted zucchini, and carmelized onions. I REALLY HOPE that this new place will give Bertucci's a run for their money -- I HATE Bertucci's atmosphere. Only get it as take out. Plus, Stamford is closer. Any news on opening dates?

                    http://earthlyepicurean.blogspot.com/

              2. re: MommaJ

                Tabouli Grill was open as of today.

                1. re: amanda3571

                  Where is this place, it sounds like I would LOVE!~ Who opened it and what is the menu like? Thanks

                    1. re: amanda3571

                      Thanks , I hope it is has more variety than the other places we have here in Stamford because they are becoming more of a chain type restaurant. I always say if you have one good spot stay with one and make it the best you can and use the best ingridents so you can give the customers can be happier.

        2. When did Margot's close and why? Middle Eastern is a broad range so I hope it is more of a lovely fresh organic eatery and with reasonable pricing. They should use products from farms nearby so we are assured of freshness NO SYSCO. Of course with great desserts. I hope it is happy eating and clean.

          3 Replies
          1. re: nbermas

            She closed because they never recouped from the expensive buildout and the recession hit. They did a lot of corporate catering and these clients all cut back on orders. The rent was very high and from what I heard the landlord was much more interested in becoming a pizza man than helping her out with a lower rent. It's a shame.

            1. re: lillydaisy

              So SAD, it had some great clean food.

              1. re: nbermas

                Wherever it is the young jamooks over at John the Baker won't consider this a reason to improve.......

                Since Eugene left the place slid badly.

          2. Well, they're starting out badly before they even open, as far as I'm concerned--today appeared a gigantic, tacky, red neon sign that's out of sync with the more restrained style of the rest of the strip mall. Quite an eyesore. Can't believe the landlord okayed that. The pizza better be spectacular.

            8 Replies
            1. re: MommaJ

              I like the new sign, it's modern and edgy. The interior looks attractive as well, but what matters is the pizza, so we'll see.

              1. re: MommaJ

                "neon sign that's out of sync with the more restrained style of the rest of the strip mall"

                Haha, that hysterical...I hope you were kidding about the "restrained style" of a strip mall.

                I too like the sign. Definitely an eye-catcher, but isn't that the point? I look forward to trying the pizza, and most certainly wish them well, especially in this economy.

                    1. re: bbqlover

                      Of course the landlord approved of tacky sign. HE'S THE OWNER.

                      1. re: lillydaisy

                        Maybe or maybe not on approval of the sign depending on the contract. But this corner is not exactly downtown Paris or Tuscany. The mall itself is ugly, the Getty station is not exactly a nice site, the diner isn't a farm setting. It's a strip mall. Yes jfood commented negatively on what the new owner of Tawa did to that building, but this sign is not so bad, and jfood likes the font they chose.

                        1. re: jfood

                          Well said Jfood.

                          I like the sign, it's eye-catching, and it conjures up the image of the interior of a coal-burning brick pizza oven. Again, I wish them the best.

                          1. re: CTburgerlover

                            All I care that the pizza is better than all of Stamford has to offer and like the kind I had growing up in NY. I wish them well too.

              2. They are testing out the ovens today, have the doors open and are sharing some slices. I just stopped in a tried a few. They are very promising, in the Napolitano style, nicely charred around the edges.

                Didn't see a menu, but they had 5 or so varieties out (white, margherita, rabe & sausage, wild mushroom and a dessert pie).

                4 Replies
                1. re: cteats

                  Is this place across the street fromLLord and Taylors? Have they had a pizza place before and if so where?

                  1. re: cteats

                    Hopefully they are on par with Julian's in Westport...IMO the best of the brick oven joints in the area.

                    1. re: CTburgerlover

                      Driving home from LGA tonight jfood figured, let's give it a try. Alas it is not open yet.

                      Chocolate cake and skim milk for dinner.

                    2. re: cteats

                      Their menu and temporary website is up at coalhousepizza.com.
                      I'm pleased to see lip service given to quality ingredients: nitrate-free sausage, and whole wheat dough upon request.

                    3. Drove by and saw that they were open, so went into Coalhouse today for lunch.

                      Nicely decorated with a blues/jazz theme. Wood-pattern floors, warm hues, and wooden tables and chairs are offset by large, tiled pizza prep area and oven. Paintings of blues legends line the walls, and 2 flat screens showing concert footage. Each table top is a collage of one musical legend (I sat at Dave Brubeck, in between Ornette Coleman and Son House). A row of stools offer seating at a marble bar fronting the prep and oven area.

                      Ordered a small (12") sausage and mushroom with a Diet Coke, which came in a cold can with the bottom of a mason jar filled with ice as the glass.

                      Pizza is thin crust, neopolitan style, using fresh mozzarella. And by thin crust, I mean very thin. Yet still crunchy on the bottom when fresh out of the oven. Crust is nicely charred on the bottom, as well as charred and blistered around the edges. Nice smoky flavor. Despite its overall thinness, it still gave a good "toothiness" and chew.

                      Tomato sauce is very nice, on the "fresh tomato" side of sauces but with a little added seasoning that was a nice counterpoint to the "clean" taste of the fresh mozz. Sausage was lump, crumbled style, and was nicely flavored but did not stand out. Mushrooms were a blend of "wild:" I think I saw cremini, oysters and chanterelles, and they may have been par-cooked prior to being applied to the pizza.

                      Overall, a very, very good pizza and a welcome addition to the Stamford pizza scene. Whether you'll like it depends on whether you go for the charred, smoky crust, and the "upscale" level of the ingredients.

                      Beers available include ones from Dogfish, Smuttynose, Rogue, Allagash, among others. Aside from pizzas, they also offer a couple of pastas (mac and cheese, spaghetti), wings (marinated 24 hours in Dogfish 60 min IPA!), salads, sides, and desserts.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: plien69

                        We went over for dinner tonight and the place was packed. The owner mentioned they were hoping for a soft opening, but they were tossed right into the fire.not

                        We started with the Honey BBQ wings with cucumber dill sauce. The wings are breaded with Panko, which provided a very unique texture and flavor. The cucumber dill is unusual but plays very well with the wings.

                        Pizzas come in 12" & 16" sizes and range from your typical margherita and pepperoni varieties to several more adventurous varieties (white kimchi, for example). Pizzas seemed to be coming out of the kitchen quickly and featured the crisp thin crusts you'd expect from coal ovens. Pizzas were flavorful with a good mix of sauce, cheese, and toppings.

                        Never know what to expect on opening night, but the place held its own and we'll definitely give it another try.

                        1. re: Zobot

                          LBC ran a review today. Sounds promising!
                          http://blog.ctnews.com/lunchbreak/200...
                          Also the managers have a Facebook site and the "culinary team" is affiliated with Mona Lisa in downtown Stamford. The landlord is the same for both restaurants, but I don't think he runs the actual restaurants.

                      2. Had lunch here today with young daughter. Had 2 specialty pizzas from the menu. Both pies came out very nice with a crunchy very thin crust and an OK quantity of toppings.

                        The pies were with ham / ricotta / mozzarella / garlic / rosemary and this one was excellent. The 2nd was sweet sausage / onion / mozzarella / red peppers. Tasty but we agreed it wasn't as tasty or interesting as the former.

                        For dessert my daughter had the dessert pizza which was a small pizza crust baked and then spread with Nutella and marshmallows and then heated and slightly browned on top and sprinkled with powdered sugar. This was GOOD! Coffee was also good.

                        Price including 2 sodas (only $1 each) and came to $24.50 before tip.

                        Overall, the experience was good. Food was good if you like the very thin crust (not my favorite). The $ value was reasonable. Service was very friendly and helpful. I will go back again and would like to try the wings which I saw on the next table over and looked good.

                        1. Went back for dinner Tuesday night to try some of non-pizza menu items:

                          Macaroni and cheese - a generous portion for $4.75, this was a very good mac and cheese, and while it may have benefited from a little more cheese and less binder, it was still very good, and not the broken/curdled/oily concoction that you often see. The dish was topped with not only chopped tomatoes as described on the menu, but also on this night with chopped green onions, which I felt didn't go that well with the dish. The kitchen seemed to be using green onions as a garnish the night I went, as I also saw it on top of the spaghetti and meatballs.

                          Drumlets - These are marinated chicken drumsticks which are finished off on a cast iron plate in the coal oven, so they get a little bit of that smokiness. They're served on greens with your choice of a variety of dipping sauces. I chose the Chipotle BBQ, and this sauce was the one big miss of the evening for me. It was a vinegar-based BBQ sauce which tasted much more like a salad vinaigrette than a BBQ dipping sauce. The acidity of the vinegar did not match well with the smokiness of the chipotle. I'm used to a smoky-sweet chipotle BBQ sauce, not a smoky-sour, which just did not work for me as a chicken dip.

                          While I did not order a pizza, I sat at the counter and saw all the pies going out. They seem to have dialed back the charring on the crust a bit from the pizza I had during lunch on Monday. They might still be getting used to the oven.

                          The place was packed during dinner service, and as can be expected with a new place, I saw some service issues. There was confusion over the table numbering scheme, and the pizza chef kept getting concerned that his pies weren't reaching the tables quick enough. Hopefully they'll get these sorted out soon, because on initial impression, Coalhouse definitely has the potential to be a worthwhile addition to the Stamford dining scene.

                          -----
                          Pizza Chef
                          7 East Ave, Fairport, NY 14450

                          Green Onion Restaurant
                          6596 Old Collamer Rd, East Syracuse, NY 13057

                          A Little Cafe
                          118 White Horse Rd W, Voorhees, NJ 08043

                          1. Good pizza, just tried "The Kicker" (essentially a Margherita pie with "hot oil" and sliced poblanos). Very tasty, but like most other thin-crust joints, it did not travel well at all so my advice would be to definitely eat-in.

                            -----
                            Poblano Bar & Cafe
                            86-22 Whitney Ave, Queens, NY 11373

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: CTburgerlover

                              Just had "The Kicker"....great pie....basil and mozzarella were very fresh, but i think they forgot the hot oil and it did not have peppers. That aside (they get a mulligan since they are new), my pizza was amazing. My wife had the pepperoni which was good as well, but i personally dont prefer pepperoni as i feel you cannot taste the pizza as much. We also got a coalhouse salad which was good, but had tons of different stuff in it (i like my salads rather simple)....overall, this is an excellent pizza and is already in my top 5 in Stamford and can only go up in my opinion.

                              BTW - the place was jam packed!

                            2. Overall a nice addition to the Stamford pizza scene, especially in a part of town that needs a culinary lift. And because it's still early and they clearly do not yet have their act in order, I hesitate to be too critical, but I was somewhat dissappointed with the space, the service, and most importantly the pie. A promising start, but they've still got a way to go.

                              Pizza. The best thing about Coalhouse, when they get it right, is the crust. Ours came perfect, thin, delicately charred, stiff and smoky delicious. However, in the 45 minutes we waited for our pie, we had a chance to see and smell the pies being served to the packed house. Theres, a difference between charring and burning, and the air defintely smelled of burnt crust. The family next to us left several slices that were inedible -- both below and on top. The toppings are fresh, organic, and tasty. What there is of them. We ordered a Kicker (tomato paste, mozzie, garlic, basil) w mushrooms and sausage. When served I thought maybe the less than generous toppings were out of respect to the thin, fragile crust. But the crust more than held its own. I suspect it was less a matter of physics and more of economics. Because of the expensive organic ingredients and wild mushrooms, the only way to maintain their reasonalbe price points is to be spare. But the result is a great crust that seems more "flavored" with toppings, than "covered" with them. Moreover, we didn't get the basil and garlic, and didn't make a point of it because we didn't want any more delays. I just felt a little cheated. Ok, while it was healthier and more sophisticated than let's say Colony, it just wasn't as satisfying. And our starter chicken drumsticks, just ordinary, came with the pizza so there was no room for both on the two top table. Which brings up the service and pace.

                              While courteous and very well meaning, the waitstaff seemed confused and overwhelmed. We were served two other table's salads and sides. Our pizza was not what we ordered. And the wait times were interminable. I felt they were a bit understaffed, but the problem may be the oven (with thin crust you'd think the bake time would be reduced.) This obviously will improve

                              My biggest complaint is the space. It's small and cramped. No booths just tables cheek to jowl. And a very high counter with low slung chairs. Think Baang is loud? it's a sanctum sectorum compared to Coalhouse. Without a soft surface in the place, the din was exponential, with people yelling across tables to be heard because others were shouting. We probably didn't get the pie we ordered because the ewaitor simply couldn't hear me. The Jazz and Blues motif (carried on in decor and menus) feels more about marketing than it does as a genuine tribute. And naming the pizzas after songs and singers feels gimicky.

                              Great crust when they get it right. Better service when they get it together. More generous with the toppings (next time I'll order doubles and gladly pay the price). In hopes of all that, I'll be back. But not for a couple of months.

                              And I'll park in the back. Didn't realize it was there until we left the busy front parking lot.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: louuuuu

                                Color me unimpressed. Went for lunch today, sat at the "counter." It was very unappealing having to sit behind an 18" plexiglass sneeze-shield, both for ordering and eating ambiance. Had the prosciutto & ricotta pie, per trehouse's recommendation. It was tasty enough, crust was chewy and toothsome, yet, as per previous reviews, toppings were VERY scanty. For a small $10 "personal" pizza, I find a much better ambiance and value at either Cappriccio Cafe (try the excellent Quattro Stagione or white pies) or Remos (excellent sausage & ricotta pie--cozy bar/counter service) - both on Bedford Street.