Photos by Meg Farrell
Nothing pairs better with summer (or winter, or spring…) in the city than a slice of pizza that verges on perfection. Curiously in NYC, “Za” has never been hotter – thanks partly to a new trend in…Detroit style pies.
The formidable team behind this Motor City culinary invasion is Emily Hyland and chef-hubby Matt. The former lent her name to their two Brooklyn hotspots Emmy Squared and Pizza Loves Emily, where their version of crispy edged, cheese filled, chewy pizzas have equally won over the locals and the BK foodie police.
They’ve just opened a third, the equally charmingly named Emily, which takes them into Manhattan – specifically the gorgeous West Village space that formerly housed Blue Ribbon Bakery – for the first time.
“We were on a simple walk about with our realtor,” says Emily, “and he brought us to Blue Ribbon. Once we saw the iconic space with the historic oven was available, it wasn’t even a question that’s where we were supposed to be.”
They’re also messing with the formula a bit, adding round New Haven and traditional thinner New York style pizzas – but all prepared in their 18-foot deep, wood fired oven. The square-pan Detroit craze continues here, and gets unique, but very trend-aware toppings like miso queso, kimchi, sesame and bacon. Feeling really adventurous? Go for the vodka sauce with pickled chili and honey.
“Everything is very much meant to feel like [the Brooklyn] Emily,” Matt explains, “but since we have the space to play in the kitchen, we are able to offer a wider array of food.”
The restaurant wisdom, of course, goes, “do one thing really well.” Amazingly, though, the Emmy Burger, served on a pretzel bun with dry-aged Pat LaFrieda beef and good old American cheese, is among the best in the city. It’s now joined by a pressed duck sandwich and the “Lammy” burger, served with one of our faves…curly fries! Which you can also get topped with miso queso, pickled jalapeno, olives and scallions. Got all that?
The hidden health gem in this carb-loading nirvana? The local veggies cooked in the same wood fired oven as those crispy, cheesy pies: smokey carrots paired with tahini lentils and mint, or seasonal oki veggies, roasted and served in a cast iron pan with bonito, okonomi sauce and Kewpie mayo.
The cocktail list is appropriately cutesy – so just go for it and pair your meal with a summer refresher called “Phoebe in the Field,” a vodka lavender lemonade that will chill the steamiest nights.
But, really, go for the pizza.
As Emily explains it, “We think pizza is archetypal. It is part of the fabric of who we are as New Yorkers, as Americans. It is a timeless and beautiful food.”