Sunday, April 28, 2013

Review: Sauce, Phoenix AZ (update)

Some months ago, a colleague was surprised to find a tasty breakfast pizza in an airport restaurant. He was thoughtful enough to take some pics and write a guest review.  Click HERE to read David's take on Sauce in Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport (Terminal Four, before you pass through the security checkpoint).
The breakfast pie from David's review. Click any pic to enlarge.

Now, on my way home from Phoenix (where I had the wonderful hybrid Neapolitan pie at Pane Bianco - review HERE), I had the opportunity to follow up on his tip when I reached Terminal Four around 1:00 pm.

Sauce has an attractive modern look. Behind the counter, I could see directly into the wood-fired oven.  I figured these pies might cook pretty rapidly, but the friendly counterman told me about 10 minutes to wait for a take-out pie. 
Sausage and caramelized onion pizza

I ignored his advice to a previous customer, when he recommended the "Chicken Caesar Salad" pizza as his favorite. Sauce sells the breakfast pizza that David described only until 10:00 am, so I couldn't repeat that experience. I debated the pepperoni pie vs. the sausage with caramelized onions, and opted for the latter. I saw menu options for a thin crust or "regular" crust, but I never voiced a choice and I'm not sure which crust was used for my pizza. It was $9.75 before tax.
The crust from the bottom view

The pie arrived on time. I didn't know much time I would need later to pass through security, so I decided to down just one slice here and take the rest to the gate area. This was a large personal pie, probably 12" across. 

A close up look at a slice
The puffy cornicione gave an initial impression of a Neapolitan style pie, but the crust was thin, mostly crisp, somewhat crackerlike, and held lovely crumbly air pockets at the edge. It was a bit too thin to support the modest toppings without using two hands. It falls somewhere between a bar pie and a classic tomato pie, Trenton style.

The crust, cheese, and sauce were richly flavored and well balanced. This pie had a fresh flavor that suggested quality ingredients. I was disappointed that the sausage was comprised of small crumbles -- not nice chunks or even slices. Still, it tasted like real sausage. The caramelized onions held a very strong flavor and dominated the pie. Overall, this salty and tasty pizza was entirely satisfying.

For under $10, this was one of the best airport meals I've had. It's better than any chain pie (except perhaps Bertucci's) and better than 95% of the bland stuff from most mom-n-pop pizza shops. I will give the crust a solid 8, the sauce a 9, the cheese a 7, the sausage a 5, and the onions a 6. This pie comes in overall at 8.25. 

Sauce on Urbanspoon

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