Sal's Pizza and Pasta House
6582 Gateway Ave Sarasota, FL 34231
Before I officially moved to Florida, I took a few scouting trips to research what part of the state I wanted to live. On one of those last trips, I discovered a great New York style pizzeria in Sarasota called Sal's. Being from Colorado, it was at the time, the best New York Style Pie I had eaten in years. Here are some thoughts on their pizza.
The crust on this pie was everything a New York style crust should be. Thin and slightly crispy.. but not cracker crispy. A nice puffy and bready edge crust, but nowhere near thick or chewy. The fellow behind the counter hand stretched the dough and hand tossed it in under two minutes. The modest yet incredibly efficient deck oven had the pepperoni pie cooked in about 7 minutes, and it was absolutely cooked to perfection.
The balance that a New York style sauce requires is a delicate one. The ingredients call for little more than tomatoes, garlic, and some oregano. Too bold of a sauce will take away from the taste of the cheese, while a weak sauce makes for a bland and uninteresting slice. Sal's sauce was spot on as well as perfectly proportioned to the pie. It served as the perfect buffer between the rich cheese and the wonderful crust.
The high butter fat mozzarella was absolutely amazing, and the mouth watering pepperoni was of the utmost quality.
Their pizza was incredibly and utterly delicious. The stuff dreams are made of. Well.. my dreams anyway. The dining experience at Sal's to me personally was a bit surreal. The staff, food, and general vibe, made it evident that I was sitting in an honest to goodness New York style Pizzeria. However, once you look out the storefront windows, you see that the pizzeria is juxtaposed with a beach town view complete with palm trees. At the time, I had never experienced anything like it at a pizzeria, and it was quite fun and refreshing.
The fellow behind the counter knew his way around the kitchen, and for sure around his deck oven. He made an absolutely perfect pie in under ten minutes and didn't resort to cracking the door once. He knew his oven like the back of his hand, and didn't open it until it was time to pull the pizza out. I was wondering if it needed a turn or two, or even another minute or so, but the young Pizzaiolo crafted a great tasting pie cooked to perfection.
He hand rolled some bread sticks for us that were both beautiful and tasty. He also put together a pig in a blanket with pizza dough for my son, which housed a 1/4 lb hot dog and cheese. He was quite friendly as well, asking where we were from (must've been obvious we were out of towners) and was more than happy to shoot the breeze with us, answering our questions about the local sights.