Modern Apizza is the only one of New Haven's three great pizza palaces to have evaded me to date. I've been to Frank Pepe's and Sally's Apizza, which are both on the same street, Wooster, in New Haven's Little Italy (very little). Modern has always been a harder assignment because it's a little out of town, a goodly walk from the main square.
On this visit, however, my New Haven friend was intrepid and agreed to the necessary trek. It helped that he, too, was annoyed at never having visited the place, despite living there. Compared to Frank Pepe and Sally's, Modern is relatively unsung. It wins some polls, but, unlike its competition, is relatively unknown outside New Haven. Visiting Modern at lunchtime was a breeze. No wait, though it was bustling. Unlike its New Haven pizza rivals, Modern pies are not misshapen, but the usual round items; they're not overly hung up on the circular shape in this town. But like the other pizzerias, they offer a clam pie. We didn't go that way. We order two small: one half plain, half pepperoni; one a white pie, half spinach, half artichoke.
It was all good, but the artichoke slices were particularly savory and creamy, and the artichokes were fresh. The pepperoni was excellent, spicy and zesty. The verdict? Frank Pepe's is probably the best of the three. But Modern scores many points for being a much more low-key affair. You don't have to wait in horrendous lines, and the place is not stuck on itself. It's lack of airs is refreshing.