Monday, January 11, 2010

Amore Restaurant

Stamford, CT

We as Americans are slaves to hyperbole. Nothing gets us quite so riled up as arguments like “who’s the best quarterback,” “what’s the greatest movie of all time,” or “what’s the worst song ever written?” We love “bests” and “worsts.” They give us the opportunity to be bold. For instance, if I say Shawshank Redemption is a good movie, you probably don’t care. If I say Shawshank Redemption is the best movie of all time, you definitely care. You have an opinion. You’re going to tell me I’m an asshole and that “Gladiator” is the best movie of all time. Or “Pulp Fiction.” Or “Showgirls.” Okay, probably not that. Even Kyle will disagree with my anointment of Shawshank as GOAT (Greatest of All Time, acronym n00b), but that’s the beauty of hyperbole. It stimulates conversation, and even prompts convoluted analogies about movies on a blog that deals with the subject of food and beer.

…Which finally brings us to our point. Our friends over at Stamford Pizza Tour, upon running the gauntlet of every pizza establishment Stamford has to offer, crowned Amore Pizza as Stamford’s finest pie. Hyperbole. They came right out and said it. “The best.” And that got Kyle and I fired up. When someone says something’s “the best,” you’ve got to try it. The curiosity is enormous. And so on Saturday night, we did.

Kyle and I walk into Amore with our girlfriends, and immediately find it far more of an “Italian Restaurant” than a “pizza joint.” It was quiet and sparsely populated, and I found myself with the sudden urge to check the bathroom for a revolver stashed in a wooden flush-box. The bathroom had no flush-box. I’m marking off points for that. There were also little certificates and newspaper clippings in various spots celebrating SPT’s “Best Pizza” proclamation. Clearly, Food Plus Beer has work to do in terms of notoriety.

The service was warm and friendly, with the waitress playfully poking fun at my pained attempts to pronounce Italian words like Brad Pitt in Inglorious Basterds, but without the Southern Drawl. We ordered the Scarpariello pizza, (topped with chicken, sausage, garlic, hot and sweet peppers, and tomato) and the Mare & Monte pizza, (topped with shrimp, scallops, calamari and mushrooms). They were both very flavorful, with deliciously tangy tomato sauce, good balance with the toppings, and enough of an ass-kicking with the hot peppers (important).

The delicious Mare & Monte pizza.

But here is what happens in these situations. You see, Kyle and I are members of what you’d call Stamford’s “Colony Army.” Colony Grill has been our favorite pizza for approximately 40 years. It is insanely difficult to judge new pizzas objectively; because the first place we go in our minds every single time is “is this pizza better than Colony?” And Colony pizza is so unique, it’s almost apples and oranges to make the comparison.

So here we are in Michael Corleone land, enjoying an incredibly tasty pizza, but both of us are deciding in our minds that it’s not enough to dethrone Colony. I can see it in Kyle’s eyes. And then he says it, which made me feel weird for having gazed into his eyes for interpretation. It’s also worth noting that it wasn’t quite as filling as we would have hoped…it made a late night McDonald’s run necessary and my arteries take issue with that.

So for all its hyperbole (which sounds suspiciously like what you’d call the Superbowl of a competing football league), where does Amore stand? The pizza was extremely good, but I can’t in good conscience allow it to knock off the mighty Colony. It was also a little pricey, a little undersized, and a little bit out of the way. Those caveats keep it from ranking higher in the Pantheon of Stamford’s pizzas. I’d rather walk around the corner from my house to Emilia’s, and have the most inexplicably affordable pizza in town, or go downtown to Remo’s, which features a pie similarly delicious to Amore but with larger portions for the price.

Plus, we didn’t even see a beer list. Scary stuff.

They call the place Amore, and indeed, it was love at first bite. One of the best pizzas in Stamford for sure – but not the best.

Hyperbole debunked.


Amore Restaurant on Urbanspoon



  2. now ridgeway is colony style will be amazed.