Newsday today has a nice, witty review of Sac's Place Pizza, the coal-oven joint in Astoria, Queens. We like the way the author, Josh Ozersky (aka Mr. Cutlets, "New York's Most Conspicuous Carnivore"), starts the story:

Pizza in New York, like cramped quarters and civic pride, is written in the city's cultural DNA.

A New Yorker who eats only at Pizza Hut is in the position of a Texan who can't stand guns; he can be comfortable, but never truly at home. And coal-oven pizza, such as the type served at Sac's Place, is the essence of what makes New York's pizza great.

Slice visited Sac's in May as part of a pizza-club outing, but we had no idea that ...

Owner Anthony Sacramone grows all the oregano, rosemary, basil and anise at his family's house in Pennsylvania. The tomatoes are all San Marzano, the best you can buy. Sacromone buys all the vegetables at the market himself.

The Newsday piece goes on ...

The main reason to go to Sac's, though, is the pizza, and it is fantastic. The telltale random crust bubbles and tiny black spots on the bottom tell the tale of coal heat, but it isn't until you bite into the slice that you get the coal effect. This isn't the thin, matzo-like crust, so delicate and austere, served at Coney Island's Totonno's or the thick, cake-like confection of Manhattan's Arturo's (to mention two of its coal-oven cousins). It's just thick enough to support the toppings, to avoid tip sag and to give a pleasing contrast between the crisp crust and the moist, sweet dough in the middle.

And toward the end, the author makes this statement:

I would avoid the white pie, whose ricotta load keeps the crust from browning nicely; but don't miss out on the Sicilian slice, cooked in a gas oven rather than the coal one. With its gorgeously oily bottom crust, airy dough and lush tomato taste, this might be the best slice this side of Midwood.

Regular Slice readers will know Midwood as the neighborhood that's home to Di Fara. But, really, how many non-pizzaheads know that? Interesting how, with this review, "Midwood" essentially becomes shorthand for "great effin' pizza."

Sac's Place Pizza

Address: 2541 Broadway, Astoria NY 11106
Phone: 718-204-5002

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