soma pizza in, well, yeah soma....and just in time for baseball season! ugh....
Ah, 3rd Street south of Market is that glorious stretch of one way car traffic headed downtown and one way foot traffic headed towards AT&T Park or Caltrain. In the last few years it has seen a changeover in character. Less seedy stretches of nothingness and additions of newer places to grab a bite for both the tech workers in the hood and baseball fans. For those of us who just happen to live near there, it becomes more of, sigh, what are they gonna put there now since we aren't really at the top of their soon to be customer list.
Joining this fold is SOMA Pizza, which took over a space once occupied by a Chinese food place that survived there for some time, even though I hardly ever saw anyone eating there. Usually I chalked that up to the fact the place looked like you'd get food poisoning the minute you walked in the door. Who knows, maybe people got takeout, me, I'd rather eat at one of those places on a back alley side street in Chinatown. Now it's a pizza place up and running in time for baseball season.
Me and the SO were wandering our way back home from some movie when we passed by. I stopped to peruse the menu and while they do offer sandwiches and such, pizza is the thing here. They also have a special: get two slices and a drink for $7.99. Pizza and a meal deal? How could we pass that up? It was right up my bargain alley.
You can choose from either their pizzas of the day or create your own from the toppings list. This part will go down as a plus since it gives you lots of choices and everyone can taylor it to their tastes. Meaning I get my own meal deal, the SO gets theirs. No share-sy here.
I opted for a chicken pesto slice and a sausage mushroom slice. Slices are a pretty decent size. You get plenty of toppings and cheese. From the looks of it, seems they take an already made and mostly cooked crust, add the toppings, then stick it in the pizza oven to melt cheese and crust up a bit. We were the only folks in the place at the time so this didn't take long and we did get our slices mostly hot out of the oven. By mostly I mean there were spots where it was more room temp as opposed to evenly steaming hot. The pesto sauce had a pleasant nutty green herby taste and the red sauce wasn't too sweet or spicy or garlicky, just sort of in the middle. It didn't taste bad or anything, it just wasn't really anything new. Merely a standard sauce you probably won't remember once you walk out the door.
I'm gonna say the breakdown here for me and the SO was the crust. It was thicker than most. Somewhere between a standard crust and say a focaccia pizza. I think bready is the term that came to our minds. The SO said it kind of reminded them of those Digiorno frozen pizzas that rise up when cooked. Because it is thick and bread like, it also makes it what I'll chalk up as the "perfect slice" to soak up all the beer you either had at the game or before you got to the game. It's pizza that is just good enough for some folks to get for the sheer convenience on one's walk to the baseball park. Or to help sober up on the walk from the park to BART. It's not that we hated it outright or anything, we just didn't think it was all that special or good enough to actually get again. There are soooo many better pizzas in this town you really have to bring it if you want to get noticed, otherwise, you become an also ran, or an "oh yeah, that place."
Whether SOMA Pizza makes it or not will probably depend on how or if they are able to attract the bball fans. While they offer delivery, they do have to compete with neighborhood stalwart Goat Hill Pizza, which makes a far superior pizza for delivery. And then there is Escape From New York Pizza a block away slinging slices too. While I'm not the biggest fan of them either, they do get the edge in the crust battle. Thus breaking the local market may be a challenge. We'll have to wait and see how it goes for them.
They get props for the meal deal, props for the toppings, props for the choices, but not much love for the crust, which is pretty much half the pizza, making it a big deal breaker for me. Yeah, I know, not exactly a ringing endorsement. Overall, it doesn't mean its bad pizza, just means its something you don't need to search out and try.