July 11, 2009

Athens Pizza & Family Restaurant (Revisited)

NOTE: You might remember that our previous visit to Athens did not end particularly well on account of a poor choice of toppings on our part. As such, we revisited the restaurant for a pizza with a far less putrid topping. The following review is a repost of our previous review, edited of course, to reflect our opinion of Athens Pizza sans loukaniko.

Located on West Main, Athens Pizza & Family Restaurant is a family owned institution calling Stamford its home since 1977. Athens contends that "[their] restaurant is clean, hospitable, and best of all, entertaining," and while we don't have a metric for "entertaining" (nor were we sure that it mattered), we're in the position to test most of that claim and then some.

Establishment. Athens Pizza looks to be a wonderful restaurant from afar, and to an extent, it is. Their dining room is large and open, with beautiful tiled floors, an abundance of windows flooding the restaurant with natural light, and staffed with personable, attentive servers. Unfortunately, this dining room is packed to the rafters with cramped, torture rack seating that can barely accommodate a party of four. The restaurant is considerably clean save for some stray food scraps tucked away under the tiny, impractical tables and a peculiar slippery film that coated every tile in the building. While we couldn't sit comfortably or juke a defensive back, we certainly could order off an amazingly diverse menu stacked with salads, soups a soup, hot and cold sandwiches, and a wide array of Greek specialties including gyros, souvlaki, falafel, and of course, traditional Greek pan pizza.

Pizza. In an attempt to expose the truth and to exorcise the loukaniko-flavored demons of reviews past, Athens put together a pretty respectable pizza for us this time around. While the crust still didn't have the same buttery, flaky, Greek-style texture we've grown accustomed to, it was still substantially chewy and crispy (surprisingly with some typically Italian-style char) despite coming up short in the flavor department. The cheese was up to par as well, with a delightfully stringy snap and a clean, fresh flavor hampered only by its inability to stay hot and not congeal. The sauce was a bit thick, tasting cooked down and overseasoned in addition to being a little over-proportioned, causing the cheese to slip around and for the pie to feel less than coherent. The difference this time is that the flavors present were good ones, so the overpowering nature of these ingredients was far less detrimental. Our topping of choice, sausage courtesy of De Yulio's Italian Sausage, was excellent as always, complementing the pizza as a whole as good toppings are wont to do.

The bottom line. Athens Pizza looks great from the outside and tempting from the dining room with a diverse, Greek menu and a pizza that's about average but certainly worth trying as long as loukaniko has no place on top of it.

Establishment: 20/30
Pizza: 19/30
Hits the Spot: 6.3/10
Large Cheese: $12.75

Athens Pizza & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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