Portsmouth: Portsmouth Gas Light Co.

GaslightThe skinny: Every city in New Hampshire seems to have that one downtown restaurant that caters to many crowds. In Portsmouth, there’s one that has two restaurants, a nightclub and a cool outdoor deck. We recently made our first visit to Portsmouth Gas Light Co.

The pizza pub is downstairs here, and when we arrived to it, we were pleased with how cozy it was on the chilly day we visited.  At the Gas Light, there are two sizes: a 12-inch small (starting at $9.95) and a 14-inch large (starting at $13.95). Ask for either thin or traditional crust to make this pizza to your liking; gluten-free needs can be met for an additional $3 at the small size. Toppings start at $1.25/$1.75 each.

There are 18 specialty pizzas on the menu here, including the Harbor Light ($13.95/$17.95), which has chicken, jalapenos, bacon, mozzarella and cheddar over a ranch base; the Salt Pile ($12.95/$16.95), a white pizza with garlic, Swiss, ricotta, Romano and mozzarella; and the Molly Malone ($12.95/$16.95), an olive-oil-based pie with baked potato, mozzarella, cheddar, bacon, caramelized onions, chives and sour cream.

The options for building your own pizza here are great, too. There are eight sauces to choose from, as well as 10 cheeses, 23 non-meats and 12 meats. Try topping a pie with choices such as feta, candied pecans or capicola.

Also worth mentioning: Calzones start at $6.95. There’s a weekday pizza lunch buffet that’s $5.99. And be sure to ask about the pizza of the week, where you’ll find another great specialty pie that’s not on the menu.

Review: We ordered a small Fort Pierce pizza ($11.95), which came with extra cheese and pepperoni.

We were a bit hesitant ordering this pie, as “extra” cheese and pepperoni is done so many ways at different pizzerias. But Gas Light does it right, both in the amount and quality of the toppings.

The pepperoni slices were thin, and there was just enough on the pie to get that classic greasy taste without going overboard. Andrew liked the slight spicy kick – just right for warming you up on a cold day. The mozzarella was ideal: the right amount and perfectly melted.

We loved being able to see our pizza being made in the brick oven pizza, and Deidre was looking forward to a crispier crust. And she was not disappointed. The bottom crust had a slight crunch, and the ends kept up that texture with some chewiness in the middle. Andrew’s only minor quibble was that the crust didn’t have that trademark brick-oven char on the ends. Like we said, though, it’s just a minor quibble with an excellent crust.

The sauce was lightly applied, and this was Deidre’s only complaint – the pie could have used just a little more. But the taste of the sauce was a winner.

That sauce was a highlight for Andrew in the cold pizza test. Another highlight: the crust, which still had a nice combo of chewiness and crunchiness that’s not easy to find with a thin crust pizza like this.

Rating: Deidre: 4.5 / Andrew: 4.5 = 9 /10 slices

Portsmouth Gas Light Co.
64 Market St., Portsmouth
430-9122, PortsmouthGasLight.com

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