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Searching for a Slice: Barry's on Richmond

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In all fairness, my visit to Barry's didn't start off perfectly when I realized that they don't serve pizza by the slice. I was alone for lunch and without anyone to share a pie with, so I was forced to order a personal pizza from the lunch specials menu (two-topping personal pizza with salad, $8.19).

Obviously it's difficult -- if not impossible -- to compare a miniature pizza with a full-size pie; I have a friend who once referred to this as "pizza physics," positing the theory that two differently sized pizzas from the same pizzeria could vary widely in taste and quality as a result of ingredient proportions. Another friend swears that at her favorite pizzeria, the extra-large tastes far superior to the medium. I'm willing to test this theory and return to Barry's with friends to sample the full sized fare.

But what of my personal pizza, you ask? It was good; really, it was good. It was nice. Nothing blew me away, although some of the parts were more impressive than the whole. The crust was nicely thin for a personal pizza, which can be thicker and doughier than I prefer, and the flavor of the crust was great -- yeasty and warm. It tasted great alongside my Shiner Bock draft.

I liked the pepperoni, which was plentiful, and it was cooked long enough to get crispy around the edges, but the pie wasn't in the oven long enough to get a good caramelization on the cheese, so while it was sufficiently gooey, it didn't have that extra "oomph." The cheese-to-sauce-to-dough ratio was good, but the sauce was a little on the generic side. I couldn't put my finger on what it was lacking, exactly -- a few more herbs and spices, perhaps? A little something extra to move it beyond "tomato-y" and into "sauce" territory might be in order.

I'm not done with Barry's pizza by any means, but I just relearned a lesson I already knew: The term "personal pizza" is as much an oxymoron as "jumbo shrimp" -- at least when you're searching for the perfect pie.

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