Saturday, April 24, 2010

BAR none

The other night, we decided to do something a little different for happy hour. As much as we love our usual haunts - Hanafin's, Dev's, Hot Rod's, our houses - sometimes you need to change things up a little. Since Dr. Scott had rounds in New Haven, Rob, Caitlin, Noe and I decided to meet him at BAR, a bewpub/restaurant/nightclub on Crown Street.

 Outside BAR

Scott and Caitlin had been trying to sell us on BAR for several months, but it never seemed to work out for everyone to get to New Haven (about 45-50 minutes from New London) at the time Scott was finishing up rounds. They were very persistent, however, telling us the microbrewed beers and pizzas - in particular the mashed potato pizza - were well worth the drive.

We hitched a ride to Hew Haven with Rob. After a rather adventurous stop at IKEA (it involved setting off an alarm and impulse-buying a wok), taking the "scenic route" past several very interesting barber shops ("E&J's Barber Shop & Sporting Goods"; "My Favorite Barber Shop - specialized in fadez"); and an extremely frustrating parking experience (downtown Ann Arbor parking - New Haven parking makes you look GOOD), we finally arrived at BAR.

 Excited to stop at IKEA

We were seated in the Bru Room, which had sort of an upscale pub-type feel. After perusing the microbrew selection, Scott ordered the "Damn  Good Stout" while Noe, Caitlin, and I all went with the "AmBAR Ale." (I was hoping to order the Blonde, but alas, they were out.) Both beers were decent, with the AmBAR having a malty but refreshing flavor and the stout tasting, well, like a stout (milk-shakey).

 AmBAR Ale and Damn Good Stout

The true standouts at BAR were the brick oven pizzas. BAR's menu starts with red (tomato sauce) or white (parmesan and garlic) pies; you build your toppings from that point. We decided to one of each. For our white, we chose the famous mashed potatoes, accompanied with onions and bacon; for the red we went veggie with mushrooms, green pepper, and black olives.

I was skeptical of mashed potato pizza. It sounded weird. But on BAR's brick oven-fired thin crust, accented with garlic and just the right amount of parmesan, it was delicious. The salty, crispy bacon and the slightly carmelized onions called to mind a baked potato - but BETTER. It had just the right potato-to-crust ratio - too much potato and it would have been heavy and goopy and bland. This had just enough to still taste the crisp crust through the mash.

 SO much more glorious than this picture makes it look

We had devoured half the mashed potato pizza before guiltily remembering our neglected red pie. I think we were all expecting to be disappointed by what seemed to be a very average veggie pizza. However, the same crust that held up so well to creamy mashed potato turned out to be the perfect vehicle for delivering veggies - crisp enough to provide some crunch, doughy enough to hold its shape without being chewy. The red sauce tasted very tomato-ey - not sugary like some sauces - and was spread thin enough (without being stingy) that it didn't overpower the salty olives, crisp green pepper, and mild, earthy mushrooms.

 Caitlin actually didn't want olives on her half - 
what's wrong with her?

Both pizzas were so good that the five of us managed to completely devour two larges before we realized how much we'd eaten. We were uncomfortably full on the drive home, but otherwise completely satisfied.

If you're in New Haven and you want to try some really fantastic brick oven pizza, I would highly suggest BAR. I can't speak for the nightclub atmosphere or anything else on the menu, but the beer is decent and the pizzas are amazing - what more do you really need?


Scott said...

That veggie pizza was tremendously good. I think next time I am going to try something without mashed potatoes again!

And FWIW, I think that that damn good stout is awfully good. It has almost a coffee-like taste to it, and it's not very bitter at all--very smooth and easy to drink.


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