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Jan 29, 2013 10:54 AM

Forge Pizza now open (Oakland)

Went to the farmers market at Jack London Square this past Sunday. Noticed people walking in and out of Forge, which has been advertising a late January launch. Well, apparently they are open today (soft launch this past weekend). They are open M-F at 11 am and Sat-Sun at 10:30. The website doesnt list a closing time! Below is info I got through an email.

Forge is now open for lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch and private events!

Jack London Square welcomes its newest addition, Forge featuring wood-fired cooking specializing in Neapolitan-style pizza and American classics in a prime waterfront location. Forge Chefs Jeff Amber (former executive chef at XYZ, Chow and Moose’s), Jeff Krupman (aka Pizza Hacker, known for his “pop-up” street pizzas) and Jeff Hayden (Boot & Shoe Service and Dopo) feature a simple yet flavorful menu using local, organic and seasonal ingredients. Menu items include Fried House-made Pickles, Mussels, Smoked Chicken Wings, Margherita, Three Cheese and Pancetta Pizza, Chicken Pot Pie and Pork Meatballs. Forge presents a robust beverage menu including 20-plus local artisanal beers, house-made tonic, ginger beer and root beer on tap.

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  1. Awesome! I noticed that they were open as well when we visited the market, but everyone had already eaten. Did some vegetable / sauerkraut / olallieberry jam shopping and then enjoyed a couple of Linden Street brews in the sun at Heinolds instead, but next time...

    I am, of course, most curious about the pickles.

    1. Went for lunch. Had the fresh pepperoni pie with an egg. Crust reminded me of Cotogna's, good flavor, nice scorch, good balance of crispness and chewiness. Excellent toppings, good combination. Overall excellent, definitely one of the top five in the East Bay.

      Roasted carrots and turnips with greens on with breadcrumb were nice. Ginger apple crisp was very good, light, barely sweet, topping a bit salty. The server recommended substituting housemade ice cream for whipped cream, good suggestion.

      Some people at the next table offered me a deep-fried cheese curd. Seriously rich and greasy, way too big a helping for two people.

      Great place to sit outside on a nice day.

      10 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Grub Street (in its "Top 50 Pizzas in the Bay Area" piece) says the crust recipe was adapted from Tartine's bread, and that it contains a touch of alderwood-smoked salt.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Totally agree about the pizza! We're fairly picky when it comes to pizza (can't even think of 5 good ones in the East Bay, so I'm wondering who you're referring to!), but were pleasantly surprised by Forge. Had the cheese curds, and while I agree that the helping looked massive upon arrival, we managed to devour every last one, and still have room for chicken wings, pizza and dessert! Somehow, they were rich, yet light at the same time. The chicken wings were pleasantly smoky but not too much, as others have said, but I had to ask for more celery! It strangely only came with a few bits chopped up, and the wings & blue cheese definitely begged for the celery component. Also had the sausage pizza and loved it. Hubby got the apple crisp dessert and loved the saltiness of it, but wasn't offered the ice cream sub, which he definitely felt it needed. I ordered the butterscotch pudding, which was grainy and awful, but our waiter (who was fabulous, btw) happily took it away and exchanged for the root beer float, which was ok, not great, but much better than the pudding. We will definitely be back.

          1. re: chemchef

            We got the butterscotch pudding as well. The taste was okay, but the texture was all off -- running and somewhat warm. We were very happy with the vegetables (love those turnips) and the cheese curds (very rich). The pizza had great flavors -- we enjoyed the pepperoni (definitely unique in style -- more like sausage, really) adn the spring onion with mint and anchovy. It was a bit soggy, but the flavor of the crust and toppings made up for it.

            Surpised to see some criticisms of the beer list. I thought it was one of the better lists around. Enjoyed an Almanac Saison and Heretic Brewing rye.

            1. re: The Dive

              Oh yeah, I thought the flavor was fantastic, but just could NOT get over the grainy texture. Had one shortly after at Saul's, which was so, so good, but very rich. Like eating a bowl of butterscotch flavored whipped cream...mmmmmmmm!

          2. re: Robert Lauriston

            Going through my receipts reminded me that we also tried the butterscotch pudding. It's not really my kind of thing, but the one we got was creamy and smooth.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I have been 3 times so far and the first 2 times I felt the same way about the pizza. However, this past time the pizza was a bit over-scorched while still underdone. No crispness. I was definitely disappointed after having already tasted how good it can be.

              The places I have found to be most consistent in the East Bay are Dopo and Paesan's. Both have been around a lot longer. My hope is that i just went on an off night where a new chef was learning the ropes or they were having temperature issues.

              I will say that when my dining partner mentioned something about the pizza not being as good as she remembered, our waiter - said "our pizza is done in a wood oven - that's the way it comes out". Thought that response was unwarranted seeing as she had eaten there several times and knew what the pizza typically tastes like...

              1. re: Ashley12

                If you like Dopo, you might want to try Benchmark, in Kensington. The chef-owner developed Dopo's dough recipe.


                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    I have been to Benchmark twice and don't think the pizza dough resembles Dopo. It is closer to Pizzaiolo than Dopo.

                    1. re: Scott M

                      I agree, Benchmark's crust is closer to Pizzaiolo's than Dopo's, though it's not really all that similar to either or any other I've had.

              2. Went for lunch yesterday with friends from out of town and they raved about it. We started with smoked wings, which were delicious and very smoky. My wife had the burger and reported it was good (the bite I had was nice, but since she orders medium-well I'll wait on ranking this one until I can enjoy one myself). The potato puffs that came with the burger were fried mashed, light and delicious. Our visitors loved the veggie soup and salad and the table split both a margherita pizza and a sausage. They were both very good, but I have to put it a slight notch below Boot and Shoe.

                In a small oversight due to my over-consumption of the ever-delicious Linden St. Black Lager, I forgot to order the fried pickles. Like "accidentally" leaving an umbrella behind at a pretty girl's house--a good reason to return.

                We ate inside and it was loud without being crazy and perfect for dining with a baby in tow (there were quite a few tots in there). Our first choice was to check out Lungomare but they were not open for lunch and I'm glad we wound up here. The cheese curds looked and smelled great--we almost ordered some for dessert!

                6 Replies
                1. re: lakemerritter

                  Did you notice if the pickles were chips or spears? Just passed La Dee's Diner(closed and now Cary's, no pickles on the menu) and Best Lil' Porkhouse's (spears are not a good substitute). and want deep fried chips.

                  1. re: wolfe

                    I did not notice pickle format, but I will make it my mission to find out tomorrow evening when I make a detour on my way home from work! Alderwood. Smoked. Salt. Man, wait 'til I tell my dad that one, he is going to keel over laughing...

                  2. re: lakemerritter

                    I have to disagree about the noise level. At least when I went, on a Saturday night, it was deafening: when you lean toward your dining companion and say "it's really loud" and she says "What?" that's too loud! Fortunately they were able to re-seat us outside, which was quite pleasant.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      Maybe they turned the music down when lakemerritter was there? I have to agree with Ruth; we found it so loud as to be highly unpleasant. Since we didn't like the food much either, we haven't returned.

                      1. re: tre2012

                        The noise is inherent to the room's design: high ceilings, hard surfaces. Since many people don't seem to care about noise, I can only assume that's the atmosphere they are cultivating. At least, unlike most places, there's an option for quieter seating.

                      2. re: Ruth Lafler

                        Perhaps the difference between lunch and dinner service. Lakemerritter was there for lunch.

                    2. It delivered! Had the fried cheese curds, 2 pizzas, and mussels. All were awesome. Love the fire pits outside and the dog-friendly patio! Great beer on tap too and the inside is modern and spacious. Would be a great place to watch a basketball game, drink a beer, and have some delicious eats. Will have to go back for the smoked chicken wings!

                      1. Went to the Forge last night on a whim (early Valentine's Day dinner!). Got there about 8:45 pm, no waiting for a table. Nice space, could see it being good to watch some sports. Spent some time wondering what business previously occupied the space.

                        Started with the argula salad. The slices of blood orange were especially tasty, but I also really liked the dressing.

                        Timing was off, though, when my husband's pepperoni pizza arrived soon after. My entree didn't come for quite a while longer (although that gave me more time to eat the salad).

                        My husband enjoyed his pepperoni although he was disappointed to find out it didn't automatically come with mozzarella.

                        My halibut was fine, but outdone by the bed of green lentils and roasted vegetables it was on.

                        I managed to save enough room to try out the apple ginger crisp. Barely sweet with an excellent crunchy topping. Might have been even better with ice cream :-)

                        When the check came, found out the dessert had been comped because of the food timing -- nice touch. Wish I could have tried the mussels and chicken wings... maybe next time.