Another newcomer to the Stamford pizza scene is Rizzuto’s, a local chain with locations in Westport, Bethel, and West Hartford, in addition to their new digs in the old Route 22 in Stamford.
Establishment. Rizzuto’s is a peculiarly Olive Garden-y restaurant. From its dubious location in a strip mall to its highly polished décor and menu items with no fewer than 8 vowels per word, this is every bit the spitting image of nobody’s favorite Italian restaurant. Aside from all of the uniform gloss, this restaurant does have some character, be it manufactured or not. With its open kitchen, comfortable and plentiful seating, and attentive service, Rizzuto’s has a friendly air about it. The menu is what you’d expect of an Italian restaurant—antipastos, pastas (avoid eating simultaneously), salads, and entrees that end in parmigiana—as well as a good selection of traditional and signature pizzas.
Pizza. Our pizzas of choice were a plain and a meatball pie off of Rizzuto’s Neapolitan menu (they also offer margherita-style pizzas that omit tomato sauce in favor of plum tomatoes).
The crusts were wood-fired and blistered to oblivion, with a nice char, chewiness, as well as an unfortunate and peculiar popcorn taste that we haven’t come across before (and hopefully won’t have to again). The sauce was bright and fresh but bland for the most part with only some subtle tanginess begging to be noticed. The high spot on this pie was without a doubt the cheese—a house made fresh mozzarella—lending a delicious creaminess and welcome stringiness to an otherwise middle-of-the-road pie.
Our meatball pizza had the same weird popcorn crust dealbreaker as the plain cheese pie, but the saltiness of the meatball brought out some of the subtleties of the sauce for a better overall taste. Despite looking rather stout and robust though, the crust couldn’t hold up to the the toppings and made for a more cumbersome pizza.
Bottom line. Despite a nice, welcoming atmosphere, Rizzuto’s puts forth a mediocre pizza that’s far from bad and just as far from good.
Hits the Spot: 4.5/10
Large cheese: $10.95 (13")