While a wood-burning oven isn't an absolute requirement for superior pizza, it can impart a certain char and flavor to the crust you just don't get from gas-fired oven pies.
Here are four Long Island spots where the wood-fired ovens turn out fine pies -- and, sometimes, more.
RED TOMATO ARTISANAL PIZZA, East Norwich (6245 Northern Blvd., 516-802-2840)
The wood- and gas-fired oven at this sleek Italian eatery turns out more than just well-crafted pizzas. It's also used to bake bread, roast eggplant and produce pasta dishes.
Anton Pizzeria, which shares quarters with La Volpe Ristorante, offers fine individual-size wood-oven pies. The classic Margherita is a winner, as is the prosciutto crudo e rucola.
LA STRADA , Merrick, (2100 Merrick Ave., 516-867-5488)
The Margherita pizza at this welcoming Italian spot comes out of the wood-burning oven properly charred around the edges. It's topped with high-quality fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil.
Excellent house-baked focaccia and hand-rolled breadsticks are irresistible, but you'll want to save your appetite for the pizza. The simple Margherita pie has a lovely blistered crust that tastes faintly, alluringly of wood smoke.