I was born and raised in North Haven, hence I was raised on New Haven-style pizza (apizza). I recently went on a taste test with some friends who had never tasted New Haven-style pizza. We went to New Haven's top three: Modern Apizza, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napolitano, and Sally's Apizza, in that order. Although I have been to both Modern and Pepe's several times, this was my first time eating at Sally's.
We were able to get a table right away. We decided to get four medium pies. I recommended that we at least get a mozzarella pie and a white clam pie with no mozzarella (or as we say in the New Haven area, "mootz"). A friend also wanted a bacon and onion pie with mootz and another friend wanted a sausage and peppers with mootz.
What followed was probably the longest I have ever waited to get pizza. Even during busy nights at Modern or Pepe's, I've never waited this long. It was 50 minutes before the first pie came to our table. We thought that they forgot about us, and it wasn't even busy.
The first pie to come out was the sausage and peppers pizza. The crust was thin, charred, and crunchy on the edges, exactly the way I like it. We were glad that we decided to get the mixture of sweet and spicy peppers; it was a very interesting taste. The sausage was also very good. The bacon and onion pie came out next. It was very skimpy on the bacon; it might as well have just been an onion pie, but it was very good nonetheless. The mozzarella pie came out third and I was amazed to see that it was almost perfectly oval-shaped. Very good balance of sauce and mootz.
The white clam pie came out last. White clam pies are ordinarily my personal favorite, but I'm sorry to say that Sally's version just didn't do it for me. They use canned clams, as opposed to the fresh ones used at Pepe's or Modern. At first bite, I hardly tasted the clams at all and then I suddenly got hit with a very fishy/salt-watery aftertaste. I think I tasted the oregano and rosemary more than anything else. Sorry Sally's, but when it comes to the white clam pie I'll stick with Modern or Pepe's. I think my favorite pizza of the night was the sausage and peppers pizza.
Overall, I was a little bit disappointed with my visit to Sally's. The pizza was excellent, mind you. The crust was nice and thin and crunchy, and the balance between the sauce and toppings was superb. It was all of the other things that kind of ruined it for me. The staff was grumpy, I thought that the restaurant itself was kind of dumpy, they gave us paper plates which had practically disintegrated by the end of the night, and the table didn't have grated cheese and crushed red pepper shakers. Worst of all: they don't carry Foxon Park sodas, which are a staple of New Haven pizzerias.
Now that I've eaten at all three of the most well-known New Haven pizzerias, I can confidently rate Modern Apizza as my first place choice, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana as my very close second, and Sally's Apizza as my not very close third place.
"Fresh tomatoes are available most of the year at Sally's, even when they are not formally in season."
"Oh, what a luscious crust! It's thin, but it's got a good chew."
"Sally's does not formally list a "round-the-world" pizza on its menu, but we ordered this one with the works. Note the blistered blackened edge to the crust: to aficionados of thin-crust pizza, this is a thing of beauty."
"Pictures of Frank are everywhere on the walls of Sally's. This is the best one, but there are plenty of 8x10s of him as well as other celebrity fans of Sal Consiglio's place."
"Sally's remains what it has always been: Wooster Street's neighborhood pizzeria."