I always enjoy hearing from readers. Last week, I reviewed Zavino Wine Bar Pizzeria on South 13th Street’s Restaurant Row. The place has everything going for it: Very moderate prices, a warm and welcoming atmosphere, fresh antipasti and tasty pizza made with top-quality ingredients.
A reader recommended I try SliCE. There are two locations, one in South Philly at 1180 S. 10th St., and the other is near Rittenhouse Square. Since pizza is a trend now, I thought I should try it.
On a brutally cold night, my sister Sandy and I ventured out into the darkness with a bottle of red wine in hand and made our way to 17th and Sansom streets.
We were quite surprised when we walked through the BYOB’s door. SliCE is a room with tables and chairs. I assumed people don’t mind the lack of atmosphere. There were five young men sipping beer and enjoying hot, bubbly pizza. Several couples were doing the same.
“If the pizza is tasty, I don’t mind the bare ambience,” I said.
We sipped our wine and looked over the menu. There are 16 salads on the bill of fare and I noticed the portions were quite generous. We ordered the antipasto ($9.95), which was brimming with an array of fresh, cool ingredients. Crisp bites of romaine formed a bed for the small balls of mozzarella, slightly salty prosciutto, tangy artichoke hearts, portobellos and roasted red peppers. The dressing was light, simply fashioned with olive oil and vinegar.
There are only a few restaurants that bake authentic, classic pizza: Mama Palma’s, Pizzeria Stella and Zavino. I can add SliCE to the list.
This pizza comes to the table fresh and hot, while the crust is thin and crisp. There were so many pies to choose from that we had a tough time making our decision.
Classic margherita ($11.50/$16.50) was made with San Marzano tomatoes topped with slices of creamy mozzarella and large leaves of fragrant basil. One bite and I was hooked. It was obvious the imported tomatoes were reduced to rich perfection. Sandy did not care for the basil, but I did. Keeping them whole added to the texture and flavor.
Since a reader recommended the clam pizza ($13.95/$19.95), I wanted to sample it. The bakers at SliCE use chopped clams that were sautéed in olive oil. The right amount of mozzarella was used, so it did not overwhelm the flavor of the clams. It was topped with olive oil before it hit the hot oven.
The test of a first-rate pizza is how it reheats the next day. We’ve all had leftovers and, more times than not, popping slices into the oven or — heaven forbid — the microwave are the only alternatives.
But I tried something new. Since we toted home pizza from SliCE, I brought the pieces to room temperature and set them in a large, dry skillet. I raised the heat to high, then medium-high and covered it with a lid. Within 10 minutes, Edward, Sandy and I enjoyed crisp, hot pizza. The ingredients held up for an overnight stay in the fridge. The crust was not one bit soggy.
Living in Center City is tough for those of us who crave pizza because the only places that deliver make dreadful pies. We all know who the culprits are.
Now we have found SliCE. I have the delivery/takeout menu and will place a call whenever the urge for top-quality pizza and fresh salads overcomes me.
Three tips of the toque to SliCE.
1740 Sansom St.