Jay Allen Sanford 9:45 p.m., May 19
Urbn Coal Fired Pizza has made it known that their speciality pizza is crafted in the Neopolitan style popular in New Haven, Connecticut. Baked in a blisteringly hot, coal-fired oven, the slices at urbn bear deeply charred crusts and scorched cheese that attest to the higher-than-normal cooking temperature. This isn't to say that anything is burned, it's more evocative of the difference between searing a steak for three minutes and baking a roast for an hour.
Running into an actual New Haven native at urbn is fortuitous and provides a rare opportunity for a local opinion from the other side of the continent. Brian and Liz, both former residents of the Elm City, weigh in on the legitimacy of urbn's claim to the New Haven style.
Liz is quick to point out that loyalty to their East Coast home might compromise her judgment, but she doesn't rush to denigrate the pizza at urbn, either.
"It's good," she says, "but it's not the same."
She points out that the pizza itself is actually done correctly, but the experience of going out for pizza at urbn is a world apart from the shops back home.
"The service is way too good," she says.
Brian adds that if this was New Haven,service would more likely come from a grouchy old guy who appears to have been behind the counter nonstop for the past twenty years. The hip, young staffers at urbn just don't quite fit the New Haven style.
Liz claims that that the whole places is just "too fancy," with it's industrial decor, dim lighting, fashionable crowds, and artistically rendered list of craft beers, the vibe at urbn is more of a hip hangout than an institutional, post-party pizza joint.
"These little silver dishes for the condiments," Liz laughs, "you would never get these back home."
Still, both Brian and Liz agree that urbn's pizza is very tasty and delivers the flavor of Elm City-style pizza, even without the ambience that they remember.
At $14-$16 for a large pizza (toppings cost extra) urbn isn't preposterously expensive. Given the coolness of the place, they could get away with charging more, but as it is the pizza at urbn isn't beyond take-out prices at other pizzerias that offer less of a scene.
3085 University Avenue