Shovel Time: Salza Pizza
Culinarily speaking, Jackson Heights and environs is many things–mostly good–but it’s not a pizza neighborhood. (It’s not always you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone–I knew I had it good when Best Pizza, Forcella and Motorino were all within blocks.) It’s not a great sign when the restaurant you’re greeted by upon approaching the 74th St. and Roosevelt Ave. transit hub is a Famous Famiglia.
Salza, two blocks deep into Woodside, isn’t exactly solving any pizza woes from an artisan standpoint. However, they’ve captured my heart in attempting to embrace more than 20 regions of the world with made-up pies, some logical, many less so.
As a young grade-schooler, I would get creative with scrambled eggs, trying to incorporate sauces found in the refrigerator. Salsa transformed beaten whites and yolks into Mexican eggs, a few shakes of soy sauce made them Chinese, and teriyaki meant Japanese, of course. Those were the only condiments we had beyond ketchup, mustard, and Catalina dressing, so MasterChef Junior this was not.
Salza has no such constraints. A Norwegian pizza can contain shrimp, penne and vodka sauce, an Imperial Dragon may incorporate soy sauce and snow peas and an Inca Beef goes lomo saltado with steak strips and french fries. (Does anyone outside of NYC know what vodka sauce even is? Ok, doing a completely unrelated search for new breed Jello shots, I discovered penne a la vodka on a Portland happy hour menu, so I guess this is a personal blind spot.) Anyone familiar with the Australian custom of adding beets, pineapple and fried egg to burgers might be shocked to see this country’s pizza showcasing sour cream, ham, and corn.
Me, I love pineapple on pizza, a source of mild shame in NYC. Of course, there is a Hawaiian at Salza. But considering Woodside is NYC’s “Little Manila,” a Pacquiao Punch, gilding the gauche standard with spicy sausage (not longanisa, fyi) and red peppers and onions, is really quite sensible when you think about it.
Welcome to the world via Queens.
Salza * 73-17 Woodside, Ave., Woodside, NY