« Home | Oldie but goodie: Bad location, good grub » | On its way » 

Monday, May 16, 2005 

Oldie but goodie: Dayton Street is the right route for good pie

There are pizza places where you can eat a lovely pasta dinner by the soft, flickering candlelight, selecting from a wide variety of pastas and calzones to go with your pie, and then there are pizza places that deliver some pretty basic foods right to the dorms. Dayton Street Apizza falls somewhere between the two extremes.
Although it is possible to eat at Dayton, most of the seating is a bench under the window where customers can stare down the counterperson while waiting for their pies. Don’t be fooled by the four tiny tables crushed into the storefront—this is a delivery place. Need proof? Look behind the counter at the towers of pizza boxes. Dayton has a pretty steady delivery business. However, it is possible to eat in, especially if no one else has gotten the same notion in their heads. With just 10 chairs, it can be hard to find a seat.
Unlike the stereotypical pizza delivery joint, Dayton has a wide variety of pies available. Cooked in a brick oven, the pies are tasty and unusual, but they still do not have the exotic toppings I crave. Granted, the small primavera pizza ($6.95) ordered on my last visit was unusual by most pizza chain standards, but I still crave odd combinations that I have been unable to find in New Haven thus far. However, before I could even begin to contemplate the pizza, I ordered a gorgonzola salad.
The counterperson was easily coerced into bringing me a half portion of the salad ($3.50), which calmed my hungry stomach while I waited for my pizza. Even though it was only half a portion, the salad was still falling out of the serving bowl. The greens were, to my disappointment, only iceberg lettuce. Hefty chunks of gorgonzola and tomato completed the salad, which had a faintly tangy dressing. The cheese was sufficient to flavor the salad, and any additional dressing might have disguised the balance of flavors.
While eating, I discovered only one small black olive in the salad. It was like being teased, since I searched the rest of the salad for more olives. Maybe if I had sprung for the full portion ($6.95) I would have merited more olives. Of course, the salad was only a warm up for the pizza.
A mouthwatering aroma of garlic began to drift toward me before I even heard the pizza being sliced. The small pizza was still nearly a foot across. The crust was delightfully thin and bubbly at the edges. The pie was topped with artichoke hearts, roasted red pepper, basil and garlic. Curiously, two wedges of lemon also adorned my pie. I ignored them as I grabbed a piece of pizza. Heaven! The crust was crispy and far too thin to support the weight of the toppings. The best crust acts as a frame for the pizza, allowing the flavors of the toppings to shine through, rather than masking them with a bready flavor. Dayton’s crust, with some support from my fingers, did that perfectly. It was a great balance between crispy and chewy.
Overjoyed by this crust, I eagerly worked my way toward the end. I am one of those crust people who thinks the best part of the pizza is the piece most others consider the handle. I can and will eat friends’ pizza crust. Sadly, this plan backfired when I got to the Dayton crust. That delightful framework that so perfectly balanced the pizza toppings was bland and lifeless on its own, like a saltine cracker with no salt.
I was disappointed, but still curious about the lemon. Why was it on my pizza? I gave an experimental squeeze over the next slice and quickly found out. The tang of fresh lemon juice enriched the flavor of the artichoke heart and gave the pizza a completely different twist. I squeezed the remaining lemon over the rest of the pie and set to work. It would have been nice if the lemon had managed to rev up the crust as well, but alas I was to be disappointed in the end by the crust. It worked perfectly well for the pizza, but did not hold up on its own.
Overall, Dayton Street Apizza was a pleasant experience. I had high hopes for the crust but was partially let down. As a restaurant that offers pizzas, subs, pasta, calzones and 11 kinds of wings, Dayton has the variety to keep many people happy. And with free delivery from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the week and until 11 p.m. on Friday, Dayton will probably become a favorite for many college students.

About me

  • I'm Mary
  • From Fairbanks, Alaska
  • I'm an editor, designer and food critic living in Alaska after 25 years in Connecticut. Turn ons: Proper punctuation. Turn offs: Dangling participles.
My profile
Powered by Blogger
and Blogger Templates