I’d been meaning to stop by Vincent’s Clam Bar for a while now, ever since I heard from Bill Massa (founder, ex-owner of Massa’s Pizzeria in Huntington Station) that he was consulting on the pizza at Vincent’s. When we got there last night around 7:30, the place was hopping.
Massa’s is one of only seven coal-oven pizzerias on Long Island. And, before Massa sold it in 2009, it was one of the best. According to Nick Lavin, a manager at Vincent’s, Massa was brought on about six months ago to oversee the venerable red-sauce-Italian’s pizza program. “We saw it as a weak spot in our game,” he said. Massa recruited a pizza maker from Naples, Antonio Florio, and the two men reformulated the dough, scouted out new ingredients. Vincent’s pizza oven is fueled by gas.
The “Pizza Napoletana” menu has five items; we went with the classic, pizza Margherita, and it was very good. If it lacked the smoky char of a coal-oven pie, it had a perfect balance of tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, with a fine crust.
Our big surprise was how good the rest of our meal was. Baked clams oreganata were terrific, garlicky and oily but with plump, juicy whole clams under the breading. So was a special of “strangled priest noodles” (strozzapreti, in Italian) with sausage and soprassata. The only dud was the “burned broccoli” which turned out to be just that. (I’m not being completely naive here; when I’ve ordered this at other restaurants the broccoli has been well browned, but not incinerated.) Service was nothing short of excellent: brisk, friendly, knowledgeable, efficient.
Vincent’s Clam Bar is at 179 Old Country Rd., Carle Place, 516-742-4577.
Pizza Margherita at Vincent's Clam Bar