Long Island Artisanal Pies: Red Tomato & Sacramone’s

Born and raised on Long Island, I’ve always felt lucky to have such good pizza close by. However, I’m used to it being the traditional, New York-style slice. A month or so ago, Newsday published an article about “artisanal” pizzerias on Long Island, and I’ve been dying to check some of them out.

Red Tomato was the first place I had the chance to visit, thanks to a fabulous Groupon ($24 for a caesar salad, pie, carafe of sangria, and dessert pie). I absolutely adore their logo!

The decor inside is a bit confusing – half sleek, modern design (including custom, pizza-inspired canvas paintings on the wall) and half.. diner? Either way it was a comfortable, relaxed environment. As you can see above, they use a wood-burning oven.

Since the sangria was part of the deal, I’ll throw a picture in here – it was delicious, fruity, refreshing. I loved that they didn’t pre-soak the fruit in the sangria, as many places that do end up with bitter, overwhelming alcohol-y fruit that’s not even the slightest bit enjoyable.

For the pie we ordered the Regina Margherita, with fresh tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella. The sauce was actually VERY salty, which was surprising because the sauce on most Neapolitan pies I’ve had tends to be sweet. Once again, I’m not a fan of fresh tomatoes, so I plucked those off and left ’em for Scott.

I did feel that the crust was a bit burnt – past being charred to overdone, though still thin and crunchy. Since the top wasn’t overdone, I’m assuming the oven floor was just too hot. It wasn’t my favorite Neapolitan pie, but it’s definitely good to have nearby for the times I’m craving it and not in the city!

The dessert pie was a “Smores” pie with nutella, graham cracker crumbs, and marshmallows. Part of me wishes the marshmallows were incorporated inside the pie somehow rather than thrown on top, but I was still surprised at how well the savory dough went with the sweet toppings. The nutella was layered on thick, making this a very heavy dessert – it could have easily been split between 4 people at the end of a meal despite its small size.

This weekend, Scott and I made a stop at Sacramone’s, which I’ve learned is owned by the same pair of brothers that run Sac’s Place – part of our Astoria pizza tour. They were also included in the Newsday article, and they’ve even been reviewed in the NY Times. We ordered the “old-fashioned pie” in a medium, about 14″.

Our waiter was super-friendly and enthusiastic about the pizza (and the Mets- whose game we had just come from!). We weren’t disappointed. The crust was really chewy (no char here despite the claim it’s made in an 800+ degree coal-burning oven) with a nice crunch to the edges. We were told the owner made our pie, so I guess that means we got the best!

That’s about as dark as it got the whole pie, which isn’t necessarily bad – just different.

The sauce was full of chunky tomatoes that didn’t overwhelm. The cheese was milky and stringy. This pie was also seasoned with oregano and basil, which you can see in the photos. We finished the entire pie, which is too bad – the other dishes on the menu sounded so amazing – a mix of traditional and new Italian styles. I would love to come back with my entire family!

Red Tomato Pizza, 6245 Northern Boulevard, East Norwich, NY 11732; http://redtomatopizza.com/

Sacramone’s, 2366 Hempstead Tpke, East Meadow, NY 11554; http://www.sacramones.com/