Salvatore's is a classic South Philly corner pizza joint serving up the usual roster of tomato pies, pizzaz, and cheesesteak pizzas. The decor is bare-bones: two rickety tables covered in plastic checkered tablecloths and some greasy pizza posters on the wall.
What really stood out is this intense stuffed pizza filled with meatballs and broccoli rabe. Fresh out of the gas oven, the crust was super crisp and golden brown (on both sides) and a perfect ratio of sauce to cheese and filling. It was jammed with chunks of moist meatball that tasted like they had been cooked in sauce for at least a couple hours, surrounded by strings of gooey cheese. The slightly bitter broccoli rabe cut through the richness wonderfully. The rabe wasn't cooked to death and still had some crunch to it.
In Philly broccoli rabe is not something gourmet that you only find at high end restaurants and specialty groceries—it's literally everywhere, on top of pizza, steaks, roast pork, sausage sandwiches, even cooked with eggs and potatoes for breakfast. But the South Philly cooking style usually means rabe is simmered for hours in garlic and olive oil until grayish-brown. I prefer bright green and crunchy and was glad Salvatore's was on board.
The plain pie was also a strong contender, nothing out of this world but a great example of standard South Philly pizza with a satisfying crust and not-too-sweet sauce. They also do the "upside down pizza" (sauce on top of the cheese) found on almost every pizza menu in the city, but it doesn't stack up to Stogie Joe's. (Slice review here.)
1429 Jackson St, Philadelphia, PA 19145 (map)
215-755-1834; closed Sunday.