July 9, 2009

Vinny's Dock House Deli

Just when it seemed like we were finished, we got a request for this little gem that slipped past us despite having been around Stamford for 17 years. Impossible to visit during normal Pizza Tour hours, we had to make a special Monday afternoon excursion down to Canal St. for this one.

Establishment. Catering to the office lunch crowd, Vinny's Dock House (not to be confused with Vinny's Backyard) is primarily a deli and is open accordingly ("Daily, In Season from 7:30 am," for what it's worth). Located dockside (no surprise there), Vinny's has a very unique ambiance, clean indoor and outdoor tables, and a view of the water that you can't get elsewhere (save for Paradise Bar & Grill). The service was what one would expect of a deli: quick, businesslike counter service that was less than personable, but personable enough. Vinny's menu includes breakfast options, salads, hot and cold deli sandwiches served on Arthur Avenue breads, hot special entrees (meatloaf, chicken, pork chops, fresh fish on Fridays), pastas, and thin crust personal pizza à la "The Colony."

Pizza. Modeled after "The Colony's" iconic bar pie, the pizza at Vinny's Dock House evolved from a traditional Italian-style pizza "in the pan" to its current, derivative product upon customer requests over Vinny's time in Stamford. The whole wheat crust (which was admittedly a secondary option as they'd run out of their primary white crust) was extremely thin, making up for a prominent lack of flavor with an overabundance of crunch and char. The cheese tasted average at best with its weak flavors and rather salty notes in addition to being very dry and congealing fast (not unlike Colony, after all). The sauce was a relative highlight of this pizza, tasting of fresh tomatoes with a light, clean, simple bitterness and little else. That said, this underseasoning did not impress everyone. Our topping of choice, homemade meatballs, made this pie much more palatable due to both their abundance and immense flavor. Nonetheless, this aspect was unable to pull Vinny's pizza from its role as nothing more than a mediocre bar pie imitation of one of the most overrated pizzas in Stamford.

The bottom line. While we're sure Vinny's Dock House is a fine deli, their pizza is a lackluster imitation of admittedly better pies in town, with flashes of meatball brilliance that left us wondering what this pizza would be like if it would just be itself (that's the moral of the story, kids).

Establishment: 17/30
Pizza: 16/30
Hits the Spot: 5.3/10
Large Cheese: $7.50 (12")

Vinny's Dock House Deli on Urbanspoon

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