For someone who does not live in Brooklyn, it takes a certain restaurant for me to haul my fanny and make a trek past Williamsburg or Dumbo. (To those who are not familiar with NYC geography, both neighborhoods are the first subway stops in Brooklyn.) However, I did make it far into Clinton Hill for Emily. Why? The food is great. Despite the fact it’s a pizza-forward restaurant, they do create some very good small plates and an insanely great burger. (The latter I will get to soon.) The style of pizza is essentially the New York-Neapolitan. It’s thin like a Neopolitan but it doesn’t sag in the middle like an old school New York pizza would. The pizzas are cooked in a large wood fire burning oven to produce the wonderfully crisp yet chewy, slightly charred crust.
Emily is a small, cozy restaurant that feels like your eating at your friend’s home who can really cook. Dark wood tables, chairs and a L-shaped bar in the back. The wall is adorned with quaint pieces like a framed, time-worn New Yorker poster and the cool bicycle-patterned wire sculpture.
Emily and Matt are the owners of this unique pizza restaurant which they dreamed of having thirteen years ago. It’s run and feels like a family affair. Emily is the she’s the friendly face you see (and she has some serious wine knowledge), while Matt fulfills everyone’s cravings cooking with his crew in the kitchen. Deanna is the first person you’ll see when you enter the door. She has a fun, spunky personality and is the mastermind behind the great playlist of the restaurant ranging from old hits of the ’80s to Beyoncé. Everyone else who works here are sweet and great to chat with. Everyone else who works here are sweet and great to chat with.
I kicked my evening off with their very tasty cocktail Goodybags ($12) made with amaretto, bourbon, lemon, topped with a frothy egg white. Not too sweet and balanced with the dark slightly spicy bourbon and a touch of acidity and the egg white froth lightened it even further.
We shared small plates of bitter, crunchy radishes swathed in delicately spiced caraway butter. The bowl of delicious housemade ricotta topped with fruity olive oil and salt was addictive to eat. The winter salad of kale, shaved Parmesan, dried cherries and thyme viniagrette was arguably our healthiest dish of the night but it was a flavorful salad with bites of bitter, sweet-tart and salty.
Top to bottom: PXG!, Emily, and The Camp Randall
The pizzas are truly a gem. The pizza menu is broken up according to sauces – red (tomato), pink (vodka sauce), green (tomatillo), and white (cheese) – and each pizza is created and named by every employee who works there, so everything has a personal touch.
The PXG! ($18), topped with a tangy, spicy tomatillo sauce, creamy mozzarella, cilantro, and knobs of caramelized, spicy ‘nduja is my favorite pizza of the evening. If you never had ‘nduja, it’s a nice introduction to this beautiful Calabrian salami. The flavors are bold and in your face.
The namesake pizza, Emily ($16), is a white pizza that reminds me of a delicious cheese plate in a not too distant time. It tastes and feels comforting with the creaminess from the mozzarella and truffle sottocenere. The delicate nuttiness of the pistachio and the truffled cheese, and little bit of sweetness and musky twang at the end. It’s beautiful, sophisticated and complex pizza.
What we learned, The Camp Randall is a nod to Matt’s uncle from Wisconsin, hence the topping of cheddar cheese curds. This was a fun, nostalgic pizza. The not too acidic red sauce, spicy nubs of sausage, mushrooms, and thin strips of bell peppers.
For a serious pizza restaurant, they surprisingly make a kick butt, awesome burger. The Emmy burger ($19) is a succulent, aged Pat LaFrieda burger cooked to a perfect medium rare, topped charred, caramelized onions, and a funky 4-year old Grafton cheddar all sandwiched in a soft, pleasantly malty pretzel bun.
It’s a great neighborhood restaurant that has its interesting takes on their food. For those who is wondering, is it worth schlepping over to Clinton Hill for pizza? I think so. It’s an alternative to Roberta’s or Paulie Gee’s. But be aware that if you were to come in on a weekend, expect to wait a bit for a table (word already has gotten around) and they do not take reservations (unless it’s 6+ people).
To view more photos of this dinner, please CLICK HERE or view the gallery below:[alpine-phototile-for-flickr src=”set” uid=”26389565@N00″ sid=”72157650255783786″ imgl=”flickr” shuffle=”1″ style=”gallery” row=”4″ grwidth=”1200″ grheight=”800″ size=”640″ num=”30″ shadow=”1″ border=”1″ align=”center” max=”100″]
919 Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11238
Phone: (347) 844-9588