It had been a long evening in Monmouth County starting with my visit to Pete & Elda’s Bar / Carmen’s Pizzeria and then a concert. But the night was still young, and the Pizza Snob was hungry and looking for further adventure. Using my IPhone, I summoned up the whereabouts of a place I had noted just in case time would allow. The good news was that I was fairly close, and their 11:00 pm closing time would allow time for a visit to Scala’s Pizzeria in downtown Long Branch.
At this hour, the walk-up storefront pizza joint seemed to be the only place still hopping on the main drag of the commerce district. Fortune had it that I was able to find a parking spot right at the front door, and I still had enough Jersey in me to execute a perfect parallel park. Inside I would fine a busy pizza joint bustling with serious late night slice activity. The few outside tables were empty on this chilly evening, but the inside ones were full. Only some empty counter seating remained for the Snob.
After requesting and paying for a plain cheese slice ($1.75), I first made a quick visit to the Men’s Room. I then returned to the counter area to wait for my slice that I had seen them load into their CPO (“conventional pizza oven”). After waiting way too long, I followed up in hopes of saving my poor slice from burning to a crisp. But alas, it did not die a fiery death, it was simply mistakenly given to another customer while I was doing my business. Laughs and apologies later, they quickly reheated me another, and it was time for to get to my pizza business.
My first glance at my slice noted that it was more of an equilateral triangle than the usual longer more classic-looking shape. Perhaps a little too shiny-looking on the top, the bottom however had an awesome-looking consistent char (one of the best the Snob has ever seen) that made the crust enticingly crack when I folded it. It was heated to a perfect eating temperature, and I can safely say that Scala’s slice was delicious and very satisfying.
I do have to knock some points off though in analyzing it for perfection. Taste-wise there was a slight mustiness to the Mozzarella and an unsavory tang to the tomato sauce—slight blemishes though on an otherwise masterfully-manufactured slice of pizza. The slight bit of extra oil didn’t interfere, and the crispy tasteful crust really made this slice stand out.
I really loved the warm and friendly vibe at Scala’s and would come back for their pizza any time. I am sure that this must be a happening joint when the nearby beach is in full summer swing. I say if you are in town to certainly give it a try!
PIZZA SNOB RATING ****Near Perfection
88 Brighton Avenue Long Branch, NJ 07740