Emily, a restaurant that started as a modest pizza operation in Brooklyn under the helm of husband and wife duo Matt and Emily Hyland, has quickly become a darling in the New York dining scene, following up their first venture with Emmy Squared in Williamsburg and then a couple more new branches in Manhattan. I’m not very surprised by this dramatic accent because the two Brooklyn restaurants I have been to have legit pizzas as well as killer burgers that make you feel you would rather have this indulgence in your life than eat clean all the time (see my reviews to Emily and Emmy Squared in Brooklyn here https://kenscale.com/2016/09/15/emily/ and here https://kenscale.com/2017/04/28/emmy-squared/). My wife Jun and I do care about healthy eating, but we also enjoy having these moments where we share all the great things to eat outside of our home. When Jun’s family (her parents and younger brother) came to visit the U.S., I wanted to take them out to one of the Emily restaurants after learning how much my mother-in-law loves burgers (sadly, it’s still hard to find a great burger place in Korea where she was coming from). It was another satisfying dining experience that reaffirmed my love for everything this restaurant group does.
When I was looking at the menu, I was somewhat bummed to learn that the round pies, similar to the ones that Jun and I had at the original Emily location, were not available for the night because of some mechanical issues to the wood fire oven. Only the Detroit-style square pies, similar to the pie that I had at Emmy Squared, were available. All the pizzas that I tried at Emily and Emmy Squared were good to great, but I still gave a few extra points to Emily because the round pies had thin crusts just the way Jun and I typically like pizzas to be (we would like to avoid dough overdose at all costs these days). Also the squared pies at Emmy Squared were a little bit aggressive on the flavor side. This time, though, the squared pies were more impressive. There is more diversity in Emily’s menu, broken down into four different types: the reds (using tomato sauce), the pinks (using vodka sauce), the greens (using tomatillo sauce) and the whites (using no sauce). We decided to pick one each from the reds, the pinks and the whites section. I wasn’t sure what tomatillo was but the green sauce based on a Mexican plant similar to tomato was an excellent addition to the Madre pie we had with chorizo. The spicy kick of the tomatillo sauce was quite excellent, and I felt that crust on this piece was more crisp compared to the softer dough at Emmy Squared.
On the pinks side, the server highly recommended the Arenstein pie with pepperoni and pickled chili which was rich and delicious (who can’t say no to a combination of pepperoni and pickled chili, right?) but not as overpowering as the Roni Supreme pie Jun and I tried at Emmy Squared. The Mimi pie from the reds section, consisting of ricotta, roasted garlic, mushrooms and basil was also another dish I would recommend. As for the burgers, well suffice to say I still think it’s one of the best burgers in town. The signature Emmy burger, with its LaFrieda dry-aged beef, caramelized onion and special “EMMY” sauce in a pretzel bun, is simply a divine dish that any burger connoisseur should give a try. It’s so pleasantly succulent and all the ingredients come together in wonderful bites after bites and… well, I’ll just end there. Just go check out this burger without question!
I already knew my in-laws’ traveling schedule and was able to book a table for five of us way in advance. Good thing that I did because even on a Monday evening, the basement dining space quick got full over time. There is full bar available; given that it was a Monday evening and a low-key family dinner, all of us opted for a pint of beer. The basement dining room (plus the ground floor dining space) certainly feels like an upgrade in terms of size of operations over the relatively congested space at the original location (where we actually sat in make-shift tables right next to the oven at the back), but still retains that casual charm and free spirit of Clinton Hill neighborhood where everything started. I’m really glad that Emily has decided to expand in West Village; hope next time on our visit, the thin crust round pies are available too.
KenScale: 8.25/10 (Jun’s Score: 8.0/10)
- Creativity: 8.5/10
- Execution: 8.5/10
- Ingredients: 8.0/10
- Flavor: 8.0/10
- Texture: 8.5/10
- Value: 8.5/10
Address: 35 Downing Street, New York, NY 10014
Telephone: (917) 935-6434