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The Early Word on The Forge in Oakland

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The Forge. [Photo: Andrew Dalton/The Bold Italic]

Jack London Square is hopping right now, and one of its newest and brightest hot spots is The Forge. The new pizza palace has a superb pedigree, thanks to its trifecta of Jeffs—Jeff Krupman of PizzaHacker pop-up fame, Jeff Hayden of Boot & Shoe Service and Dopo, and Jeffrey Amber of Chow and XYZ. With a massive space to fill, including a huge waterfront patio, expectations are high. Have they been met? The Early Word has all the details.

The Pizza News: Everyone's talking about The Forge's special crust, which is inspired by Tartine Bakery's "hand-kneaded and naturally leavened approach," according to The Bold Italic. The style works for TBI writer Lauryn McCarthy, who says the crust is "perfectly salted" and "separates these pies from the rest." Tablehopper likes the "light sourdough tang" and "smoked sea salt...that will make you want to eat each and every bite." Chowhound Scott M. is reminded of the crust at Zero Zero, but thinks "the Forge crust is more flavorful," and it reminds Robert Lauriston of Cotogna's with its "good flavor, nice scorch, and good balance of crispness and chewiness." He awards it the honor of being "one of the top five [pies] in the East Bay, " while Yelper Josh B. believes that it's "it's no question one of the four best pizzas in the Bay Area." [The Bold Italic, Tablehopper, Chow, Yelp]

The Other Food News: Buzzed-about non-pizza items on the menu include the smoked chicken wings, which Yelper Amber B. calls "awesome," "hot and crisp," and the fried cheese curds, which Katherine L. finds "AMAZING" and "more flavorful and much, much lighter than any other fried cheese I've had." The curds also "piqued" The Bold Italic's "interest and taste buds," but Yelper Wil L. puts it best: "What's not to love about tasty fried goodness with tangy tomato sauce?" [Yelp, The Bold Italic]

The Ambience News: The Bold Italic's McCarthy reports that The Forge has a "family-friendly" vibe, "great for groups and kids." Chowhound lakemerriter describes it as "loud without being crazy and perfect for dining with a baby in tow," noting that "there were quite a few tots" in the restaurant. Chow's Colleen Hubbard also agrees that the "pleasant hubbub indoors makes it a nice choice for families with young children." Yelper K.A. loves the "big roomy booths" and K M. praises the "warm, energetic, and lively vibe." [The Bold Italic, Chow, Yelp]

The Patio News: The Bold Italic says that "perhaps the best feature of this new spot is the ample amount of outside seating," and Chow agrees that "the outdoor fire pits emit a siren song, calling passersby to the patio seating area." (It's dog-friendly, too.) [The Bold Italic, Chow]

The Service News: While Chowhounds Scott M. and Nineteen had some issues with the timing of their dishes, overall service is reported to be strong. The Bold Italic finds the staff "pleasant, enthusiastic, quick, and on point" and Yelper Damon H. adds "energetic" and "attentive to detail" to that list of adjectives. [The Bold Italic, Yelp]

The Drink News: Yelper Darwin S. tried the house-made ginger beer and cocktail and found "both tasty and well-crafted," and Peter S. started with a Dark and Stormy, which "hit the spot perfectly." Amber B. likes the "really fun beer selection," which Josh B. points out is heavily local, "including stuff from North Coast, Drake's and Linden Street." [Yelp]

The Price News: Yelper Darwin S. finds everything "moderately priced, especially for the quality," and calls The Forge "a good value" compared to nearby restaurants. But other Yelpers aren't so sure: Loops M. says "$8 for 3 chicken wings" is a "ripoff" and Titania T. thinks the same price for potato skins is "overpriced." Wil L. thinks it's "not the most fantastic value," but wonders if the price is "worth it for the location." [Yelp]

· All The Forge coverage [~ ESF ~]

The Forge

66 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94607 510-268-3200 Visit Website

The Forge

66 Franklin St, Oakland, CA