Up-date on Sally's Apizza:
By Saturday night our party of 8 for 8:30 PM had grown to 10. Compulsively I had followed up my phone reservation with a letter -- mailed not faxed. On the Saturday in question when I realized that we had grown to 10, I drove by the place shortly before it opened and double-checked that we would have no problem.
My advice is forget the phone, show up and make the reservation in person.
We showed up shortly before the time. We were seated at around 8:40, jumping the line of about 15 or so that had formed in the cold night outside.
The ten of us were mostly out-of-towners, but three were from New Haven and had not been to Sally's in more than a decade or so. They had given up since they thought reservations were impossible and they could not bear the line.
All felt the hype was justified, though the more curmudgeonly didn't think the pizza was good enough to have waited for 30 minutes plus outside in the cold. A fifteen minute wait would have been justified.
The real wait took place inside. Although we ordered very quickly after sitting down, it took about 30 to 40 minutes for the pizza to arrive. The drinks arrived more quickly, beer and soft-drinks, no wine available. I can't imagine they would notice if one BYOBed the wine.
We did manage three large pizzas and two medium size, about the equivalent of 4 large ones. We were about three small slices short of finishing the whole thing.
The pizza is superb. The quality is evident in that first pite of the toppings on top of the delicate thin crust. Of course the whole thing is so hot that you can barely taste it at first, but gradually the experience overwhelms. It is better than the Spot which I tried a few years ago.
We had one tomato-garlic (no mozzarella), my favorite. Potato, no mozzarella, with rosemary, a bit disappointing. It should have had some onions and a bit more olive oil. I had a similar pizza at Berkshire Baking Company in the Housatonic section of Great Barrington over the summer and their version had a more assertive flavor. The others were: 1) sausage, cheese, red sauce -- quite good, though it appears that the pepperoni pizza gets a more generous dusting of meat than the sausage, 2) tomatoes and onions with mozzarella no sauce, quite good, though I would have liked the onions cooked to the point of a slight browning, and 3) black olives with red sweet peppers, mozzarella, and red sauce.
The least was my last favorite largely because I dislike California canned balck olives. Had it been made with kalamata or another Mediterranean variety, Alfonso perhaps, it would have been much tastier, but unfortunately in the States everyon seems to use the black California, a adull variety.
Our waiter, Lorenzo, announced that we looked like a bunch of physicists -- not a bad guess since the number-crunching economic historian in our midst did have the eccentric white-hair and open shirt under winter coat of a refugee from Albert Einstein-land. The rest of us just looked like run of the mill academics.
As for the other staff of the restaurant, they had the flare and panache of the crew of a pirate ship, the over-rouged and bandy-legged manageress, the pizza oven worker with a wild mustache and a delight in playing with the firing oven, the pizza maker with a slightly wild look in his eye. They took pride in what they were doing and managed to keep a sense of humor about the whole thing.
Well worth the visit. We left stuffed.
My local informant explained that New Haven pizza is actually Amalfitano in origin -- apizza or apizz being the way the thing is pronounced in Amalfi. The thin crust style is also distinctive to that region.