For years, I heard the name Roseland Apizza’s name batted about as one of Connecticut’s best. Always in those discussions were mentions of its glorious shrimp pizza. Yet despite the best intentions, I never made the trip until this past weekend.
I always pictured Roseland Apizza in downtown Derby, but I was wrong about that. It’s actually located on Hawthorne Avenue in a residential neighborhood some distance northeast of downtown.
While there apparently can be significant waits for a table, coming around eight in the evening seemed to eliminate that problem. There were just a few customers left in the restaurant, which I believe closes at nine,
plus a party in a back room, and later, a smaller party at the picnic table outside.
We checked out the menu, which was also replicated on a menu board, and soon realized that the famous shrimp pizza was actually several variations on a shrimp and other seafood theme.
We ordered a pitcher of craft beer on draft
and were also brought a sliced half boule of great housemade bread,
which was not only served with butter but with this spectacular Sicilian first-cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil.
There were several seafood pizzas, including one with shrimp, scallop and lobster that cost north of $60, but we went for the shrimp casino at $42. Before you decide that sounds expensive, consider that it had two pounds of large shrimp on it and easily fed the two of us. One wouldn’t hesitate to spend $21 on a first-rate dish with a pound of shrimp in it. Here’s what that pizza looked like.
You can see that this wonderful pizza was wall-to-wall shrimp plus good quality bacon,
with a beautiful sprig of basil and lemon wedges atop it.
This was one of the best pizzas I ever ate, if not the best. I can tell you that it rates with the best pies on Wooster Street. You would think that two pounds of shrimp would overwhelm a New Haven-style thin-crust pizza, but amazingly it doesn’t.
The pizzeria does have a couple of interesting quirks (don’t all of our best pizzerias?). In recent years, customers have been allowed to pay with a credit card but the tip must still be paid in cash, and you will find the word “Cash” already written in the tip line of your check.
Also, Roseland isn’t just a pizzeria but reportedly has terrific kitchen food as well. As you can see, there are some tempting specials, which I intend to check out in the near future.
We were the last to leave, except for a party at the picnic table out front, who might have been connected to the owners.
Someone please turn out the lights.
Roseland Apizza, 350 Hawthorne Ave., Derby, 203-735-0494