Good | Worth a Return
1st Street Apizza | Connecticut | New Haven Pizza Bests
Review by: Michael Stern
Small Place, Big Menu
First Street Apizza is a hole-in-the-wall storefront primarily designed for take-out business. Seating consists of just three tables and a short counter at the front window. The menu is huge. Here you will find more than just New Haven pizza. Subs and sandwiches, stuffed breads and calzones, soups, salads, and pasta all call out for attention.
If you are coming for the first time, focus on pizza. Perhaps the New Haven classic, clam pizza. “White or red?” asks the person at the order window. If you choose white, you’ll get mozzarella but no red sauce. The clams, sorry to say, are more chewy than juicy. Their flavor is sweet and not at all brackish. But I miss the succulent nectar that should be dripping from a just-opened one. The pizzaioli spread cheese judiciously so as not to overwhelm the crust or the clams. They strew bits of raw garlic in abundance. Lemon wedges come on the side. Lemon juice does add some much needed sparkle to the clams. But call me hidebound: I’m just not happy squeezing lemons on top of a pizza.
The crust is New Haven pizza style, meaning Neapolitan. That means very thin with a puffy circumference (cornicione). Tasty debris from the oven floor spangles its underside. It is not as dense and chewy as what you’ll find in New Haven on Wooster Street (and State Street). The lighter weight gives it a certain elegance that is very different from the soulful raunchiness of a pie at Pepe’s, Sally’s, and Modern.
Beyond the New Haven signature clam pizza, 1st Street offers all the usual toppings, plus broccoli rabe and shrimp. If you’ve got a daredevil palate, try the combo named for the customer who always ordered it: Artie’s Special. That’s anchovies, onions, garlic, and grated cheese, hold the mozzarella: a powerhouse!
Directions & Hours
|Meals Served||Lunch, Dinner|
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|