It began as just another typical Saturday night until we decided to visit Fat Cat Pie, my absolute favorite upscale pizza and fine wine establishment located in Norwalk, Connecticut. We arrived a little later than usual, at about 9:30 PM, to be exact, which means that we were able to secure a table relatively quickly.
We sat down and started ordering our favorites. Cheese plate, house salad, pies (in that order). Let me stop right here and explain. I don’t want to sound like I’m playing this down. Understand that a cheese plate at “The Cat” consists of a delectable selection of artisanal cheeses that change frequently depending on what calls out to their resident cheese aficionado, “Andy, the Cheese Man” as we adoringly call him. The cheese selection is usually served with a side of raw nuts, olives, and the Fat Cat signature pie crust which when cut into wedges and baked (sans sauce and cheese) doubles as a cracker that compliments everything wonderfully.
The foundation for the salad is a collection of tender mixed leafy greens dressed with a simple, very light yet tangy vinaigrette. We usually order our salad topped with seasonal vegetables, which may include anything from beets and peppers to carrots and red onions (in other words, whatever is available locally). Another favorite is the Shaved Kale Salad with toasted sunflower seeds, Parmesan cheese, currants, and olive oil served over a bed of perfectly cooked quinoa. I never knew that kale and quinoa could taste so good together.
The pies are divine, to say the least. The crust, which is the defining factor of any great pizza joint, is thin, flavorful, and crisp (it’s so thin that it puts Kate Moss to shame). Pies can be ordered straight up (plain), or adorned with toppings such as mushroom, spinach, broccoli rabe, asparagus, homemade meatballs and sausage, raw red onion, caramelized onion, fresh garlic, or olives. The pizza chef has this down to a practical science because he has engineered the exact “bending point” of each slice. This means that the toppings remain on “top” of the pie instead of falling into your lap upon picking a piece up for that much anticipated first bite.
Did I mention the special pie? This pie is the brainchild of owners, Tony and his lovely wife, Suzanne. One new pie is designed every month or so and believe me, you won’t want to miss it. Enticing combinations like fresh tomato and hot pepper (both grown in the restaurant’s very own magical vegetable garden), or mushroom, spinach, and garlic oil can be found featured in writing on a special section of an unpretentious chalkboard hanging above the cheese station. All pies are accompanied to the table by this really cute box of interesting and uncommon spices (like Aleppo pepper flakes, Turkish seasoning, Bangkok blend, hot curry, and more) supplied by a very well known spice shop, Penzy’s (based in Norwalk, CT) which deserves a blog all to itself (I promise I’ll get to this soon).
As Tony continued to seat hungry customers, I noticed that he was lovingly cradling a large bowl of incredibly aromatic vegetables in his arms. I could smell the spicy peppers and ripe tomatoes a mile away! After some whining and begging on my part, he agreed to hasten his original intent, which was to chop these gifts from Mother Nature into gem-sized morsels and bake them onto my pie. In one word, the result was SPECTACULAR. I was crying from both joy and that special pain only a spicy hot pepper could deliver. I bit the pie, and the pie bit me back.
Be there or be square (this reminds me to mention that there are no Sicilian pie’s served here).
The Big Tine
Fat Cat Pie Company
9 – 11 Wall Street
Norwalk, CT 06850
Open Monday through Thursday & Sunday, 8am-10pm; Fri-Sat 8am-11pm
(Yes, the hours are correct. They’re open for breakfast, too! Although I have never been there during these early hours, I understand that they serve a mean breakfast pizza.)