Before last week, I thought I had experienced about as much pizza as one diner could want – wood-fired, brick oven, clay oven, California pizza – you name it. So when a friend suggested we drive to Port Chester to check out a new pizza place, I couldn’t imagine why we needed to burn all that gas when there are so many great slices to be had right here in Scarsdale.
But in an effort to be accommodating I set a date to check out Coals, wood–grilled pizza. Yes, grilled not baked.
Though Coals has only been open for a few weeks we found the place hopping on a Friday night in July. The bar offers many beers on tap and by the bottle – and Coals changes their selection of microbrews all the time – so there’s always another one to taste. And if tasting is what you like to do, you can order a beer flight of four, four ounce samples for just $8. After I sipped a few from the flight, I settled on a tall frosted glass of Breckenridge Agave Wheat from Denver. When I turned around again the glass was empty and I accused my friend of downing it. I was quickly corrected and told that I had drained the glass -- and I didn’t even know I liked beer!
Now for the food – the menu is simple but appealing. There are large salads with nice greens and Italian cheeses, homemade mozzarella and grilled red peppers and a mixed green salad with a rich slab of gooey gorgonzola. But the chef's specialty is the pizza, so save room. They come on large plates – really too much for one person but when you go to Coals, you’ll find yourself eating too much.
A lover of truffle oil, I spotted the “Rustic” with fontinella, fresh mozzarella, roasted mushrooms and truffle oil – and did not offer to share it. Others at the table tried the “smokey joe” with fontinella, smoked mozzarella, tomato, pecorino and sweet onions as well as the “dean martin” which had fontinella, mozzarella, tomato pepperoni and pecorino. Since the dough is grilled on a grate over an open fire, it is flat, crusty and infused with the aroma of the warm fire. Add all of these fresh ingredients as toppings and you’re in for a treat.
To get the full Coals experience we were encouraged to try a dessert pizza and ordered the nutella pizza. For anyone who likes hazelnut this is a must.
Better yet – prices are reasonable. Appetizers ranged from $8 to $11 with pizzas from $11 to $15. It’s hard to think where you would get another meal as good for just $25.
Coals in Port Chester is actually the second pizza spot for Bill Etzel who opened the first Coals near Albert Einstein Hospital seven years ago. Etzel trained at the Institute for Culinary Education so though the atmosphere is casual, the food is sophisticated. Coals also offers hamburgers and will be adding a choice of sandwiches to their menu – but I assure you that if you go now, you’ll have a memorable meal.
35 1/2 North Main Street
Port Chester, New York 10573