By The Slice: One Man’s Quest To Conquer The Pizza of Richmond

Whimsy Worth The Wait

Words and photos by Tommy McPhail

Holy crap, pizza pirates. Since my last transmission, my frequent outings of crust-conquering have been somehow replaced with Adventure Time marathons, napping, and…well…not pizza!* I can barely remember the last time I left this apartment for some reckless cheesy abandon. Thankfully, as many a pop-punk band painstakingly reminded us this year, THE HIATUS IS OVER!

This month, I trekked to Carytown’s latest submission in the superior slice sweepstakes, Mellow Mushroom!

Flanked by three (if not more) pizza-serving establishments within four blocks, Mellow Mushroom rose from the ashes of Plan 9 Records’ flagship store this summer. Now, with Plan 9 faithfully just across the street, a juggernaut has taken root within the 804. One of only three restaurants in Virginia, tales of MM’s superior

offerings have often been traded amongst circles of crust connoisseurs. I could think of no establishment more fitting to mark my return.

Taking advantage of the menu’s many unique offerings, I sprung for a taste of three Mellow signature creations. TheMellowtereanean, a succulent pie decked with feta, grilled chicken and all sorts of yummy toppings, had the inner almost-adult in me raving. Though lacking traditional sauce, each bite had me distracted with savory overload. Then, the Kosmic Karma made me rethink my strict anti-pesto pizza philosophy by immediately upping the ante. The sauce? Superb. The crust? Hands-down a game-changer. The flaky dough complimented every aspect of the slice, a thoroughly-satisfying surprise.

As with any establishment, the real test was on the signature House Special. After all, if you’re gonna dub a pie with your own namesake, it must deliver. Period. With the credibility of an already awesome experience on the line, I plunged in headfirst. I don’t think my stomach or my mouth was ready for such a ridiculous explosion. A ridiculous amount of meat, more cheese than a 90’s commercial, and more oomph than the Baby Got Back music video, all at once? This was a definite winner.

Now, let’s level here: a large pie is a whopping a pop. Mix and match options all you want, but that’s a little steep for pizza. However, even the most seasoned veteran can miraculously be quelled with just two slices. Split amongst your chummiest crew, and the voyage can be more than justified on even your most cash-strapped evenings.

Pro-Tip: show up around 4:30pm to narrowly escape both the lunch and dinner rushes. Primo seating makes a huge difference in the Carytown restaurant. Get sucked into the table next to the door, and the trample of the inevitable shopper’s stampede will make you wish you stayed home, no matter how good the service.

Burdened with glorious purpose, keeping such delicious noms down was truly the struggle. I entered, I ravenously devoured, and I was instantly full. Despite such a pleasant experience, it truly takes a superior slice to garner a perfect score with this columnist, and to that precise end, Mellow Mushroom did not deliver. My quest for 804’s perfect slice shall continue next month!  Until then, pizza pirates, EXCELSIOR!

THE VERDICT:

Crustability: 3/4

Sauciness: 3/4

Cheeseification: 2/4

Dining Experience: 3/4

Overall Deliciousness Index: 3/4

 

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