Sauce Pizza and Wine’s Summer Sampler makes a cool deal.
By Lara Piu
Pizza is not pie; it’s passion. As one of America’s most popular foods, pizza is consumed at a rate almost as high as summer temperatures in Phoenix. With so many choices, who can blame us for gobbling? We have thin crust, thick crust, Chicago-style, New York-style, oven-fired, gourmet, and a laundry list of toppings and sauces. And this time of the year, it only takes a baseball game or a lazy dinner night for pizza to play its key role in America’s summertime mood.
Sauce Pizza and Wine makes those pizza feel-goods feel better with a budget-friendly bill of specials, good through the end of August. Located on Scottsdale Road and nine other spots throughout the Valley, the fast-causal restaurant offers a Summer Sampler menu for $22 that includes a pizza ($11 or less), salad ($9 or less), and two glasses of wine, beer, or any beverage ($7 or less). There’s also a number of panini, pasta, and house-made soups that can be substituted for the salad or pizza, as long as the entree costs $9 or less.
In addition to its handcrafted gourmet pizza classics, like the signature mozzarella, fontina and basil pie ($9), Sauce recently added summer items to its menu. One dish you’ll never feel sorry for eating is the mac and cheese ($7.75 per bowl, $4.50 for a side). Sauce’s version of this classic comfort dish is wonderfully cheesy, yet light and airy, so it doesn’t park in your belly like a rock.
The new watermelon and arugula salad ($8) has field greens topped with roasted pumpkin seeds, jicama, red onions, and feta cheese tossed in white balsamic vinaigrette. The pumpkin seeds provide an expected, warm and salty crunch, balanced with the bright flavors of jicama and onions. The feta adds a light tartness, while the refreshing watermelon is something for the teeth to sink into.
Two other new-to-us items on the menu were Sauce’s prosciutto and fig signature pizza ($12.75) and its portobello and artichoke signature pizza ($10). Made with artichoke hearts, portobello mushroom slices, cheese and red sauce, this pizza is airy and meaty and every inch of the pie had a generous, although not too heavy-handed, portion of toppings.
Sauce’s prosciutto and fig signature pizza steals the show. It comes with a red sauce, which is topped with goat cheese, prosciutto, black mission figs and fresh arugula. Goat cheese would be good on cardboard; on pizza, it’s pure genius. Light and fresh prosciutto, sliced in ribbons, adds salt and savor. The arugula finishes with a fresh crunch.
But the figs. Oh, the figs. They are sweet and chewy like candy, evocative of summer, tempting us further into passion for pizza.
Sauce Pizza and Wine
14418 N. Scottsdale Road and other Valley locations