On many hot summer weekends in New York City, we end up renting a car and high-tailing it out of the city to beat the heat and smell some grass and flowers. And though I hate paying Hertz for an extra hour (they charge a fortune), I have incurred that charge at least once because I just had to stop at Sal & Carmine's to pick up a pizza. Frankly, it's worth it, because the pizza there is that good.
I have been eating Sal & Carmine's pizza since the early '70s, when it was just Sal's on 95th and Broadway. Sal took on Carmine as a partner and moved to marginally fancier digs on 102nd and Broadway in the '90s. Thankfully, the pizza has remained just about as delicious a conventional slice of New York City pizza as you will find in Gotham or any of the zillion other places around the world that purportedly serve New Yorkstyle slices. By conventional I mean they use aged (yellow) mozzarella and sauce that's nothing special and bake their pies in a gas oven that doesn't have an exterior brick anywhere.
What makes a Sal & Carmine's slice so good, then? It's the crust and the fact that either Sal or Carmine or both are always there making pies. The crust has the magical combination of a crisp exterior that gives way to tender bread dough. And blessedly, the crust has plenty of salt. Yes, the mushrooms are canned (so don't get them) and they don't deliver (they don't have to), but if it's a good old New York slice you're looking for, Sal & Carmine's is the place to find it. For us, it wouldn't be a summer weekend without Sal & Carmine's, Hertz be damned.
Sal & Carmine's
Address: 2671 Broadway (b/n 101st and 102nd), New York NY 10025