Over the weekend, we dropped into Emily (919 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, 347-844-9588), the new Clinton Hill pizzeria opened in late January by Brooklyn Central alums Emily and Matt Hyland. The Kickstarter-funded, family-run operation (Emily’s sister Lauren greets guests at the door, acting as host, waitress, busser etc.) is putting out unfussy Italian-American food: pastas, salads and small plates, and, most crucially, brick-oven pizzas.
Even at 5 p.m. on a Sunday, a convivial crowd filled the small storefront dining room, which is sparsely decorated but homey with its clean white walls and dark wood floors. The piece de resistance is a metal sculpture near the host stand, which Lauren tells us came from her and Emily’s parents’ place. “We’ve both loved it for years,” she told us when we complimented it.
We posted up at the bar to have a few plates; our bartender offered tastes of lavender lemonade. “Too tart?” she asked, serving us a glass.
A chopped caesar salad ($9) bears few embellishments: A scatter of lemon thyme and a dusting of pecorino top crisp leaves of romaine; there are no croutons, the dressing’s creamy, but the herbs give the dish a springy garden quality. A briny pink sausage ($12 from Brooklyn Bangers), sliced on the diagonal and bedded atop cheesy, buttery grits, is an excellent winter warmer. The sausage oozes with fat, but crisp pickled onions and jalapeños cut the grease.
We’re tempted to dabble with the pastas — trumpets with duck ragu ($16) and spaghetti with n’nduja, poached egg, and curry leaf ($17) beg a taste — but we stick to the pizzas instead.
A white pie named “Q” ($14) is pretty serious about its cheese — a melty mix of mozzarella, fontina, pecorino, and ricotta — but what really stands out, and this goes for any pizza at Emily, is the crust. Chewy and crisp and just barely salty, these wood-oven crusts are sturdy enough to carry a serious load while still feeling light. You’ll want to eat the edges.
Emily and company don’t hesitate to pile on the toppings, and neither should you. Next time we’ll try the Angie, with blue cheese, ham, and dried fruit compote, or the Emily, with taleggio, pistachios, truffle sottocenere, and honey. This time, we went for a swanky red meat-lover’s specimen called the RM3! ($19), with fontina and wide rounds of pepperoni, sausage, and featherlight strips of prosciutto.
Sensitive tongues should know that Emily’s red sauce, while piquant, is mild but perky and not nearly as acidic as many tomato slathers around town. It is also without the sugary sweetness that mars many a pie.
Click to the next page for a few more photos.