Every once in a while, the opportunity presents itself to return to our roots as a comprehensive tour of pizzerias in Stamford. It’s been quite some time (we start all of our entries this way now) but we’ve managed to make it to some new, local pizzerias as of late, the first of which was Luca’s Pizzeria on East Main.
Establishment. Luca’s comes across as another delivery/pickup-oriented-but-still-big-enough-to-seat-six-people type of place (see: Ridgeway Pizza, Outpost Pizza, and for the masochists out there, Belltown Pizza) and it pulls the look off. Almost too well, actually. There’s nothing too spectacular about Luca’s—they have a counter, an oven, a few tiny tables that they wipe down with a wet rag now and again—but as far as setting itself apart from the 50+ other pizzerias in town that we’ve made it a point to scrutinize over the past two years…eh, not so much.
Aside from the underwhelmingly in-the-box atmosphere, Luca’s comes across as a nice place run by nice people. We were helped quickly, well accommodated (they pushed two of their miniscule couples tables together for us), and watched closely throughout our meal by the 45 people that, for some reason, were all staring at us from behind the counter. Their menu is what one would expect from such an establishment, complete with wraps, salads, deli sandwiches and naturally, pizza.
Pizza. In following with what has become our Pizza Tour protocol, we ordered up one of Luca’s finest cheese pizzas, half-plain, half-topped with meatball—a make-or-break topping if ever there was one.
The first thing we noticed about this pie was how light and airy the crust was. We were torn, however, on whether this was a good thing or not. While some argued that the pizza’s lightness was a pleasant surprise, others found it insubstantial on both texture and flavor fronts. The cheese offered a subtle, smooth flavor and pulled from the pie in delicate, stringy threads, but would have been better served if it covered the whole freaking pie.
As you can see, there’s a good inch and a half of sauced crust on this pizza encircling the stingy application of everyone’s favorite dairy product. Speaking of sauced crust, it’s when we got to this lovely bit of pizza that the utter blandness of the sauce really stuck out. There were subtle hints of oregano and other not-so-discernable spices, but we like to get punched in the face with flavor, and this one didn’t do the job, nor was its cooked-down clumpiness very appealing texturally.
Luca’s topping list is extensive with nothing too crazy and everything we’d expect (plus half-oddballs like fresh clams, broccoli rabe, prosciutto, salami, etc.), including the underwhelming but still comparatively tasty meatball topping we ordered that most certainly began its life as an actual meatball.
Bottom line. Luca’s is alright, but as a new pizzeria, it brings nothing special, extraordinary, or overwhelmingly different to an established landscape of restaurants that are as good—or better—at using this particular cookie cutter.
Hits the Spot: 5.5/10
Large cheese: $12.95