Best New Westchester Restaurants of 2012: Coals in Port Chester

35 N Main St, Port Chester
(914) 305-3220;

A velvet Elvis painting? Check. An ’80s poster of Billy Dee Williams touting Colt 45? Check. But behind this veneer of kitsch lies some serious restaurant intent. Check out the thoughtful craft beer list (which its informed servers can actually back up with further details!) and a taut, attractively priced pizza menu whose oddball pies show flashes of brilliance.

These huge, amoeboid pizzas may not be for the purist. Coals’s dough contains whole wheat and cornmeal that impart an exotic, naan-like grittiness. Plus, the pizzas are grilled over gas jets, which is essentially pizza sacrilege. Coals’ owner, whose first Coals continues to operate in the Bronx, was inspired by the wood-charcoal-grilled pies of Al Forno, the Providence, Rhode Island, landmark. But even pizza purists will taste quality in Coals’s dotted pyramids of sweetly roasted tomatoes, or the porky excellence of the Smokey Joe (Fontinella, smoked mozzarella, tomato, pecorino, and sweet coppa). Don’t miss surprising soups that might include a hearty, chili-spiked pork and beans, plus starters of salads, scaled to serve a crowd.

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