This seems to be the philosophy at Long Bridge Pizza Co. in the Dogpatch, and it works. Pizza is pretty much all that’s served in this modern, linear space (along with some wine and beer, now that their license is happily in effect), and that dedication to a single thing shows in their carefully crafted pies. The menu here isn’t cluttered with dreary pastas or lackluster chicken wings. It’s focused on the one thing that matters: pizza.
What I like about Long Bridge is that they’re not trying to out-gimmick anyone. Sure, they’ll throw on a daily special with farm-fresh kale. But their core menu is as classic as it gets. They offer two sizes, small and large. Local ingredients, homemade whenever possible. Nothing trendy or clever, nothing avant-garde.
And nothing outlandishly expensive. A small pizza here is a solid meal for two, and the priciest one will run you about 16 bucks. That’s the Loading Dock, a pizza smothered with a slew of toppings — mushrooms, sausage, paper-thin slices of fatty, spicy soppressata. On a menu rife with simplicity, this pie brims with meaty, savory decadence.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s the Kalamata Olive & Garlic pizza. Cheeseless except for a sprinkling of Parmesan, this is an ultra-simple pie — maybe too simple. The olives, while bursting with briny flavor, are few and far between, leaving most bites with only crust and tomato sauce.
That said, the bites of crust and sauce are still delicious. Long Bridge’s secret-recipe tomato sauce is bright and juicy, maintaining the bracing acidity of fresh tomatoes. And the dough, made with a sourdough starter and a touch of whole wheat flour, is exceptional.
In all of my visits, every pizza had a perfectly cooked crust — consistently browned along the bottom, reliably blistered along the radius, strong and chewy yet soft enough to easily tear apart. They use an Italian electric oven cranked up to 700 degrees, and while I’ve always been a fan of wood-fired pizzas, the dead-on consistency of Long Bridge’s crust might be enough to sway me.
The White pizza consists of ethereal pockets of ricotta buried within a chewy layer of mozzarella, topped with a tier of spinach leaves slightly charred along their curled edges. I wanted more garlic — but I realize that my garlic threshold is much higher than that of a normal person.
Every one of my taste buds was galvanized by the Sausage pizza, with its harmonious sweet-smokey-spicy-tangy knockout combo, provided by the one-two punch of red onions and red peppers on a backdrop of smoked mozzarella. The hunks of sausage burst with pork goodness seasoned just enough to hold up to the strong flavors of the rest of the toppings.
But the pizza that stopped me in my tracks was the Pepperoni. While creating a great pepperoni pizza might seem like an easy venture, it has to be done just right. The ratio of cheese to crust. The density and width of the pepperoni slices. The grease, the spice, the subtle mystical details. These guys get it right. This is a textbook-perfect, soul-meltingly nostalgic pie, crispy and oily in all the right places.
I didn’t know I was searching for a pepperoni pizza like this until I found it. I’m glad I did.
Long Bridge Pizza Co.
Location: 2347 Third St., S.F.
Contact: (415) 829-8999, http://longbridgepizza.com
Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; Noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays
Price range: $12.18 to $28.51
Recommended dishes: Pepperoni Pizza ($13.56, $25.06), Loading Dock Pizza ($15.63, $28.51)
Credit cards: All major
Reservations: Not accepted