When there are friends visiting from
out of town another country, we always do our best, as resident Brooklyners, to give them a glimpse into our lives, and show them the places where we love to eat, see, play, and drink. As much as we love a fancy, white tablecloth dinner every now and again, that's not really how we live week-to-week: A night out eating pizza and ice cream is much more typical of our totally healthy, nutritious lifestyle.
For some reason we thought that the line at Emily on a Friday night wouldn't be as bad as the line at Roberta's. I have no idea how we came to this conclusion, but we did. Thankfully, we probably turned out to be right, but not because the line was shorter (there was a 2 hour wait when we arrived), but because some less dedicated pizza addicts cancelled their spot, and we snagged their table.
We gathered everyone together, rushed back from a suddenly cut-short drink at Hot Bird, and were led through the packed tables of this cozy restaurant to a hidden table which was essential in the kitchen aka the best spot in the house. And when I say in the kitchen, I'm not exaggerating: We were so close to that pizza oven that the lovely hostess had to give us a mini spiel (like the one you get when you're sitting in the emergency exit seats on an airplane), about being careful when we stand up, watching out for the handle of the pizza peel which would be jolting back and forth in our direction for the entire evening. If it had been the height of summer, this table may have proved to be a sweaty struggle, but on a crisp October night, this table was the best in the house, especially for four inquisitive, ever hungry cooks and eaters like us.
Chicken wings and red wine kicked everything off to the tastiest start. The wings were coated in gochujang, served with the thinnest slices of radish, and a mini container of ranch. Extra paper napkins (I'm assuming a hint that we should pretty please not wipe our stained sticky fingers all over the linen ones) and hand wipes were set down too – a sign that these wings were going to be as spicy, sweet, and moreish as we had hoped.
Between us, we ate our way through several pizzas, sharing slices, comparing tasting notes, and declaring each of them amazing. Emily's pizza crusts are wonderfully different from what you'll find in a classic New York 'pie'. They're thin, charred from the wood oven, crisp bottomed, and only slightly puffed, which I think in my heart of hearts I may actually prefer to the doughy, thick Neapolitan style. And not just because it means I can fit more slices into my tummy before I reach explosion point. The Green Esquelto (mozzarella, cotija, zucchini, charred corn, and pepita mayo) was a combination of all the Mexican flavors you can hope for from the freshest, best tacos, but transformed into a spicy, crispy pizza. The daily special (mozzarella, tillage, figs, honey, basil, chile sauce) was sweet, fruity, intensely cheesy, and with a tiny little kick. The Modern (double sauce, double pecorino, herbs, garlic, basil, onion, Szechuan oil, plus pepperoni, because S knows how to order) was perhaps, if we had to choose, the best of the bunch: Everything you crave from a pizza, by which we mean sweet tomato sauce, plenty of melty cheese, a tiny bit of spice, and some perfect, crisp meatiness from the all-star pepperoni. And last but not least was the Luca (sauce, burrata, basil). It sounds so simple, and it was, but it was also a perfect example of a classic: Yes please to dollops of burrata splattered on every pizza I eat from hereon out. Thank you Emily. We'll be back. And we're happy to wait however many hours it takes to eat anything that comes out your pizza oven.
We were all groaning with full pizza bellies, but, being me, I suggested a late night ice cream dessert. And with Ample Hills only a five-minute walk away, and visitors to entertain, you won't be surprised to know that that's where we ended up spending the rest of the night.
Emily, 919 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11238