My buddies at www.ctbites.com and other food bloggers have been all over me to try Fortina in Armonk. Comment after comment have been positive (a reference to the Luigi Blanco pizza is usually included), so on a quiet afternoon I wondered to Armonk for a meeting with some NY bloggers to see why everyone was so extraordinarily positive about Fortina.
As I entered about 15 minutes before the start of my meeting, I run into two other bloggers (Food Dude and Fairfield County Foodie) hanging out and waiting for their dishes. They insisted I join them and when the food arrived, they arm-twisted me into having a couple of bites. My introduction began with the “fried potatoes” ($8) that were served with Parmesan and rosemary. The potatoes were first baked, smashed and then deep fried. They were pretty good, nothing over the top. But the pizza arrived and the Luigi Blanco was placed inches from my face, atop an empty San Marzano can…but more on that pie later.
My colleagues arrived so I thanked my buds and wandered to my table. Since the others at my table were regulars I became a willing participant as they looked through the menu and narrowed the choices. For starters they ordered the “caprese” ($15) and the “fried meatballs” ($13). Some other items were ordered but I did not sample.
The “caprese’ included heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. It was a great combination of flavors, especially this time of year when the tomatoes are just crossing into sweet and this year’s bounty might be the best in many years. It was refreshing and the large croutons added the required crunch. On the other hand the “fried meatballs” did not live up to the press. They were served with a tomato ragu and Parmesan cheese. The crispy exterior delivered great texture but I was looking for a contrasting soft interior…and the interior of these meatballs were very dense. The major drawback, for me, was that I found them extremely salty.
The empty San Marzano tomato cans arrived, signaling that the pizzas were leaving the oven and were about to arrive. The table ordered three, “The Luigi Bianco” ($21), the “tenderoni” ($15), and the “san genarro” ($16).
Two of these were over the top brilliant. My favorite was the “The Luigi Bianco,” topped with Burrata, robiolona, Parmesan, and a few swaths of black truffle ($21). Resembling a zebra with its stark whiteness accented with 2-3 stripes of pureed truffle, this ranks as one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten. The crust was perfect, light, airy, with a buttery quality not found in any other crust in the area. And the black truffle was beyond delicious. The other pizza extravaganza was the “tenderoni,” that starts with a simple rendition of tomatoes, spicy sopressata, and Mozzarella cheese, but Fortina takes this creation in a different direction with the addition of a little chili oil and honey. The key to this pie was the honey…the interplay of the spiciness of the sopressata versus the sweetness of the honey was brilliant. The “san gennaro” was really good with a simple combination of sweet sausage, peppers, onion, and sesame.
Overall I found the pizzas at Fortina some of the best I have ever eaten and easily top 3 if compared to those in southern Fairfield County.