Bar Pizza: “Better than Anything?”

Easter’s coming up pretty soon. I’m not religious or anything, but I kicked off Ash Wednesday with Erin in a way that probably made the pope proud: in the study room on my floor with some homework and a good talk. That is, studiously, seriously, humbly, and in good faith. She asked me what my goals for Lent were, and I replied that as much as my dad circa 1990 would have loved it if I followed Catholic tradition, we had all fallen out of that tree and hit the frustrating, but still grounding, ground. “But why not set some goals? Give something up–I think it’ll free you more as a person,” she said.

While most people I know gave up things, foods, and quirky habits (collecting toe nail clippings, for example…ew just kidding), I think Erin picked the best thing to shed. Self-doubt. The second I heard her say it, I threw my atheistic crap out of the window (but not too far) and joined up. Self-doubt, as I have discovered in college, leads to a slew of nasty things that perpetuates self-sabotage, which causes irrational, but very emotional jealousy, and more self-doubt. Bad, bad, bad.

So this weekend, I went out to dinner to celebrate a friend’s birthday and indulged in what I would have given up because if left to my own devices what I would have spent 40 days pining for would have been a lot shallower than Erin’s brave idea. Like a lot shallower. Thinnest-crust shallow.

Bar Pizza serves some of the best pizza I’ve ever had, and I’ve sampled some of New Haven’s favorites (Modern and Pepe’s). As I ate my Bar pizza I couldn’t help running that old song through my head:

Better than making a million/Better than being a queen/Better than oil wells and gold mines/Better than pastures of green/Better than finding a horseshoe/Better than losing your head/Better than anything ever thought of/Better than anything ever said/Ah, ha,better than singing right out loud/Or being, ha, spotted in a crowd/Better than anything except being in love.

And it was. I’ve never been loyal to the Pizza Hut-type thick crust, though before California Pizza Kitchen and the Atkins Diet, it was all I had to work with. I like the flavors and ingredients in my pizza to taste balanced. A hint of bread here, a glimpse of sauce base there and a complementary taste and texture of toppings everywhere. Bar’s brick-oven accommodates a seemingly infinite combination of toppings, so I like to try something new every time I have the chunk of change to drop by. This time around I ordered a chicken, basil, and sundried tomato white pizza and ate some of my friend’s bacon and spinach concoction. The chicken was tender, which generally isn’t the case after someone’s cooked it, added it to the pizza, and thrown it in the oven. The basil was Thai basil, which wasn’t the plant I was expecting, but it tasted great. The sundried tomatoes added a good brightness to the pizza. As for the bacon pizza…I’ve come to the horrible, artery-clogging conclusion that bacon tastes great on and with anything. Bar’s ambiance is fun and taverny, with long wooden benches and tables and candles mimicking old world lanterns. It’s a great place for a good, solid group of people, but bring your wallet and make sure it’s thick and not thin.

And you know, about three weeks into this whole Lentish thing, I’m not sure I’ve done a great job throwing off self-doubt, but I’m more aware of it and I’ve never felt more humbly human in my life. I’ve never felt more ok with being it, either. Now I just have to work on accepting it in others.

Where: Bar Pizza 254 Crown Street, New Haven CT 06511
See site for hours, menu, and culture vibe.
Large groups can’t split checks, so bring your math skills.
Other notes:


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