It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Sure it has. The Stamford Pizza Tour awoke from its slumber over the holiday weekend, and now that the hustle and bustle is dead and the freshly fallen snow has got us avalanched indoors, we’re sounding off on Stamford’s latest pizza purveyor, Tappo.
Establishment. Tappo is located on Bank Street, nestled amongst ritzy eateries and men’s hair salons alike, and boy does it look the part. Between the dim-to-dark dining area, white tablecloths, and a fully stocked bar with a top shelf so high that no one can reach it—physically or fiscally—we couldn’t help but feel underdressed (nothing new, but still) in this modern establishment. Tappos’ smallish footprint is maximized with a good deal of small party seating and plenty of room to move around without feeling too cramped (a party of six might have been different, though).
The service was super friendly albeit a bit overbearing, as our water glasses never went more than three sips without being refilled. This is not to a fault, though, as we found ourselves to be very comfortable, especially relative to the sometimes abrasive, always greasy environments that pizza establishments often harbor. In the same vein, the menu is admittedly less pizza-centric than other places, but it includes all sorts of true-to-form Italian favorites as well as some more adventurous offerings in addition to their pizza.
Pizza. As much as Tappo is not your run-of-the-mill establishment, it’s also not your run-of-the-mill pizza, unless of course you frequent the Cappriccio’s of the world. Our benchmark pies of choice were the standby margherita pie and an adventurous Guanciale, Patate e Olio Tartufato (bacon, potatoes, and truffle oil) number.
The margherita pie was everything we’d expect of a traditional Neapolitan pie. The sauce was naturally sweet and tangy, with a fresh, well-seasoned profile that cut through the acidity of the fresh tomato. The cheese was top-notch buffalo mozzarella, lending a deeper flavor than the regular stuff as well as a stringier texture and a nice, satisfying snap. The crust was rather tasty, but the texture was somewhat of a letdown. Fooled by the beautiful blistering on the pizza, we were expecting more of a bite and chew than we got with this light, bready crust that held up more like a wet pita than anything else. The whole was far less than the sum of its parts.
The specialty pie built upon that disappointment with a much more significant one. Had we known from the onset that guanciale was essentially jowl bacon, we might not have been so quick to order this potato-laced, expensive oil-covered abortion. Everything from the fried fingerlings, to the white, chewy, pig face bacon, to the incredibly rich and pricey fungus oil resulted in an unpleasant, umami overload that literally and figuratively left a bad taste in our mouths.
Bottom line. Tappo outclasses many of its pizzeria peers with a charming, cozy establishment but is hampered in the pizza department by a reliance on great parts rather than a coherent final product that had us licking our chops for some of the other, non-pizza entrees at surrounding tables.
Hits the Spot: 5.3/10
Large cheese: $12.00 (12")