If you've ever missed a train or slogged through a daily commute, you know it often comes down to being at the right place at the right time. A few minutes late and you may find yourself recalculating your entire day's schedule. But if pizza is your business, and your ovens are quite literally at the tracks, you're always at the right place at the right time.
Situated on the northbound side of the Fairfield train station, Nauti Dolphin in Fairfield serves up New York-inspired slices and pies that not only serve clock-watching commuters, but loyal Fairfielders who find themselves visiting the station whether or not they have a train to catch. Paired with fairly inexpensive prices, over ten years of experience, and a steady stream of commuting stomachs, Nauti Dolphin is one of this town's favored neighborhood pizza take-out and delivery joints.
The sliver of a space that the Dolphin occupies is divided in two by a seated counter. At one side stands a wall of gas powered ovens and prep space, and at the other, a tiny order/eat-in area. This lack of elbow room means that both take-out and delivery rule, with things getting lively during peak commuting hours as well as lunch hour and after school rushes.
The Nauti Dolphin pizza boasts a characteristically thin but sturdy construction, a wispy layer of tomato sauce, a pairing of Mozzarella and Romano cheeses, and a signature fresh garlic and Italian spice flourish. This platform forms the basis for most of Nauti's unpretentious pies. The by-the-slice pies are large cheese pizzas that rest on racks and get topped and reheated as ordered. Perhaps by design, these slices boast a thinner and flatter (less lofted) crust than the whole pies you can also order. But they also tend to be more flavorful with a heavier hand when it comes to the aged cheese. These long, flat slices are just begging to be folded and eaten while walking (or running) to catch a train.
Stepping up to a pizza, there are many options coming in either small or large. The Margherita, one of the most popular pies, is a loose interpretation of the classic with fresh chunks of tomato, chopped garlic, mozzarella and basil and is served without tomato sauce. Another Nauti favorite, is also an original. The Hot n' Spicy Sow, is a red sauce-based pizza prepared with sausage, fresh Romano cheese, hot cherry peppers, olive oil and spices. The crust on these whole pies feels heftier than the slices, which works to foist all those toppings. Nauti pies boast a subtle char, not quite evident until further inspection of the underside, where you'll find a small amount of blistering and scant evidence some cornmeal.
The Specialty Pizza offerings offer a range for most, from the seafood lovers (we are in Fairfield after all) with The Clam, Clams Casino and The Black Pearl to name a few sea-inspired pies, to the other extreme that some may proclaim sacrilege, including a Barbecue Chicken, Buffalo Chicken and Hawaiian Pie. The construction of each pie is consistent, with even layers of sauce and cheese where applicable, toppings, and a frequent addition of garlic and dried oregano and basil adding a kick.
As for the rest of the menu, there are simple salads and italian specialties, but why go there when its really pizza you're here for? The garden salad is a simple and rather flavorless affair filled with romaine and/or iceberg lettuce (I pushed around a few leaves) and slices of red onion, chunks of carrot and canned black olives. Although perfectly adequate in a pinch, you'll do better to make your own at home. But then again, you didn't come to the Nauti Dolphin to grab a crisp green salad, you came for a warm and comforting slice(s) of pizza to mitigate the vagaries of Metro North.
Nauti Dolphin has its own unique neighborhood appeal. Loyal locals may lay claim to its spot in Connecticut's pizza hierarchy. Outside of Fairfield, that may be a tough sell, but it certainly does deserve serious bragging rights for being consistent, steady, and convenient, with an enviable whistle stop address where pizza is always at the right place at the right time.
The Nauti Dolphin is located at One Carter Henry Dr., Fairfield, CT. Telephone 203.256.1877