Sal and Carmine’s Pizza = Perfection
There is perhaps no food item more New York than the slice of the pizza. So why the hell is it so damn hard to get a good slice anymore? When I was growing up here, there was an understanding of what good pizza was: thin, crispy, flavorful. However, the explosive popularity of Ray’s led to a million imitators hanging shingles and serving up gushy, cardboard-flavored sponges that defile the sensibility of the pizza purist. In that context, I thank God for Sal & Carmine’s.
Sal & Carmine’s have been dishing it up every since I was a kid. I’ve literally grown up on their slices, and I openly admit my unwavering, unflagging loyalty and devotion to this place. That said, it is not unearned. They have been consistently cranking out what I consider to be pretty much the definitional slice of NYC pizza.
What do I mean by “definitional?” It is thin, crispy, hot and delicious. I am not contending there is no other, better pizza in NYC – I am saying that this is the essential archetype of the NYC slice, a standard bearer. The torch they carry illuminates the dark of the pizza wasteland, and they should be viewed with honor and respect by fressers out there looking for an authentic slice of NYC pizza.
I don’t know why it’s so hard to find a decent slice of pizza anymore in Manhattan. There are numerous places that make one, but they are few and far between – and usually packed. Then there’s the whole movement towards brick oven pies (many of which are flavorless, alas).
Either way, I can’t say enough about the Sal & Carmine’s slice. It’s a wonderful, wonderful thing. I lament the passing of Sal and am grateful Carmine can still be found pounding out pies behind the counter. Their family appears to be poised to carry the tradition forward, which is thrilling and encouraging. Their slices are perfect. Highest recommendation.