Ain’t no party like a Neopolitan pizza party, because a Neapolitan pizza party is held five feet away from a 1,000 degree oven. Oh yes. Brick + Wood in Fairfield is the latest pizzeria to grace the Gold Coast, and a mighty good one it is indeed. We attended a press dinner a few weeks ago, full of hijinks, Italian cocktails, and dessert in Fairfield. We started with an apertif, a miniature Negroni-style cocktail with a bruschetta topped with roasted hazelnuts, brie, and Tuscan honey. Alcohol and cheese is the best way to start and end a meal, in my opinion. This was the perfect one-bite, three-sip start to an Italian feast. Not too long after the apertif and a few cocktails, we received our first appetizer. An entire pig for each table of four- well, more or less. The homemade porchetta was cured just before Christmas and had been cut into for us for this very dinner. Succulent, fatty, slightly charred, and perfectly cooked with the fattiness mitigated by homemade fig jam on the side. To freshen our palates and ensure we tasted the scope of the menu, the Bedfellow and I took it upon ourselves to try every single cocktail on the menu as well as a few well-curated wine flights. Highlights? The Brick, soothingly sharp with Bulleit rye, aperol, mint, and lemon, and Un Po’ di Spezie, with jalapeno-infused Tito’s vodka, St. Germaine, ginger, cucumber, and mint. Both were fresh, zesty, and clever. Others less so, with muddled flavors, and for a place with well-crafted cocktails, they had an extremely limited selection of gin. If Fifty Shades of Whey, my personal trainer, reads this blog, yes, I drank, and no, I did not report it. Let this be my confession, amen.Then came the salad, piled high with shaved fennel, pear, arugula, tangy walnuts, and fried bocconcini. Unfortunately, the latter tasted more like bite-sized frozen mozzarella sticks as they were not warm by the time they arrived, but the salad base was delightful. Calamari followed that- charmingly presented, lackluster in flavor and the sauces were basic and indiscernible in origin. But all was forgiven when the burrata hit the table. Brick + Wood prepares it to order, and this was mixed with black truffle to boot. Being somewhat of a truffle opponent, I steeled myself for an overwhelmingly rich flavor, but to my surprise the dish was perfectly balanced and creamy fresh, firm on the outside with tender curds spilling out onto the prosciutto underneath. More handmade mozzarella followed suit with girelli, layered with hot peppers, thin sheets of eggplant, and prosciutto. Italian sushi, if you will, with a spiced kick and simplistic presentation. After our smorgasbord, we moved onto the pizza- three types fresh out of the oven. A classic margherita with basil, mozzarella, and tomato sauce, the Texas Heat with jalapenos, mozzarella, and a diavolo sauce, and the highlight of the night, a seasonal special with julienned zucchini, roasted corn, chopped prosciutto, and ricotta. Stunning, creamy, and crispy with a perfectly cooked, chewy, thin crust. We sipped on more cocktails and chatted the night away until dessert, presented by the head chef and owner himself, Paolo Cavalli. Amicable and excited, he treated us to an amaretto tiramisu (thus proving my booze + cheese theorum) and a bacon-maple bread pudding, made from fresh, homemade Italian bread and roasted in the oven.What a night! We rolled out of Fairfield after trading our contact information with our lovely dining companions and bounced around the water for a while, finally falling asleep back in Hartford with dreams of pizza and cocktails dancing through our heads. Thanks for another wonderful dinner from MaxExposure, and to the folks at Brick + Wood for their hospitality and masterful Neapolitan cuisine.
Disclaimer: We ate here courtesy of Brick + Wood and their PR firm and paid the tip.