At Jack London Square pizzeria The Forge, the pizzas are more or less Neapolitan, but the rest of the menu is unapologetically American: no pastas, no salumi samplers, no plates of marinated olives. Instead, the kitchen puts out classed-up riffs on things like mozzarella sticks and buffalo wings, and the bar has eleven West Coast microbrews on tap. It’s a simple but brilliant concept — a strictly American pizza restaurant. The pizzas are notable for their well-conceived combinations and flavorful, just-chewy-enough crust (based on a Tartine Bakery bread recipe). You can’t go wrong with a classic Margherita. But the real fun of the restaurant lies in appetizers like smoked chicken wings, fried cheese curds (served with a long-simmered marinara sauce), and “potato skins” — tiny twice-baked potatoes that sit atop a pool of Taleggio cheese “whiz.”

— Luke Tsai

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