My search for the best pizza in New York continues….
My default when reviewing pizza used to be to focus on the standard margherita pie or cheese slice. But the pizza world has changed since I started this journey in 2009. Fancy toppings and specialty ingredients have sort of taken the place of tomato sauce and cheese. No doubt, those are (and will always be) the basics, but sometimes if that’s all I order at a pizza restaurant, I might be missing out on the things that make them really unique.
Case in point: Emily in Clinton Hill. This restaurant has been getting lots of good buzz since it opened last year and I finally made my way to the bar for a drink and a pizza pie. Trouble is, Emily has become less known for their traditional pies and more for their colorful inventions.
The menu, in fact, is divided into pizza styles by color. There are of course the reds (tomato sauce) and the whites (no tomato sauce), but also the greens (with tomatillo sauce) and pinks (vodka sauce). It’s quite a diverse menu and the smart move would be to come here with a group of friends to try a few from each column. That is, if you can fit all your friends into this tiny, intimate restaurant. For me that would be no problem, since I was flying solo.
After some agonizing, I skipped the Classic and settled on one white pie that sounded too good to resist and is also the restaurant’s namesake dish. It’s called The Emily (named after the restaurant and the chef’s wife) and is a brilliant combination of mozzarella, pisatchios, truffle cheese, and honey.
The Emily has a lot going on. The cheese itself (called truffle sottocenere) is incredibly complex: with a truffle backbone, but also aged with nutmeg, coriander, licorice, cinnamon, cloves and fennel. Each bite gives an earthy richness that is cut by the sweet honey. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find many pistachios and they didn’t add that extra level of texture I had hoped.
Toppings aside, the dough was good but not as pillowy or as woodsy as I expect from a wood oven. Perhaps the crust shines more with less intricate toppings. Here, it was a worthy, but unspectacular vessel for amazing flavor combinations.
As I made my way out, I got a whiff of somebody’s nearby pepperoni pizza and it made me want to turn around and order another pie. And I think in all fairness, that’s what I’ll have to do. And it might not be the Classic next time either.
Is Emily the best pizza in NY? Their toppings and creativity take them to the next level, but before I judge them against other classic NY joints, I’ll have to see how they do the Classic. For now, they get an 8 out of 10 for an excellent namesake pie.
|919 Fulton Street (between Clinton and Waverly Avenue),
Clinton Hill, Brooklyn