When Matt and Emily Hyland, owners of Clinton Hill’s Emily, first came onto our radar, they had just successfully raised $16,000 to fund the purchase of a wood-burning oven for their new pizzeria. Within a month, we’d dropped by the new eatery and were blown away by their offerings, which includes pizzas topped with honey and pistachios, house-made ricotta and enough pasta to ply a marathon runner. Accordingly, we gave the Hylands’ new restaurant 5 Ls, our highest honor.
Last week, we decided to drop by Emily and check out the husband-and-wife duo’s version of a perfect summer meal, which includes their newest pie, a vodka sauce pizza, a refreshing summer cocktail called the Love Potion, and a glass of Emily (the person’s) favorite new rosé. It’s a summer meal you’ll return for time and again, we promise.
What inspired you to make a vodka sauce pizza?
Matt and I were very arbitrarily having a conversation, not about the restaurant, just about life. And I was like, when I used to play basketball in high school we would always have pasta parties and our moms would always make penne à la vodka sauce. And he said, “I didn’t know that,” which is weird because we know everything about each other. So, I said “Let’s make a vodka sauce with pasta,” and he said, “No, let’s do it with pizza!” So, the guys whipped up a really meaty vodka sauce recipe and we did some sampling with friends and people loved it and we loved it. It’s as simple as that!
You make the vodka sauce in-house, right? What’s in it?
Yes, it’s got cream and Vodka 6100. So, we use a higher end vodka in the sauce because we don’t want there to be a bit of an aftertaste. Even though it reduces down, it’s a smoother sauce with a nicer vodka in there. And than there’s Surryano ham in it, which gives it a nice, smoky salinity, too. [The pizza] also has our housemade mozzarella and basil and it’s topped with some fresh parsley.
Around the same time the new pizza debuted, you guys also created new cocktail called the Love Potion (campari, lemon, Gruet sparkling wine). How’d you come up with that?
Once every two weeks, all three of my bartenders are working on the same night, so that’s an informal check in on the cocktail menu night and so we were talking about getting a spring drink in there and they’re all campari fans and wanted to use that as an ingredient. Matt and I don’t like the bitterness of campari, so that’s not our favorite, so they played it all to their own version of a campari-based drink for summer would look like and then we tasted and then based on the bitterness palette for us and what we liked, the three of them refined from there. It’s an exploratory, fun process.
And finally, we’ve got the rosé from Archery Summit to top it all off.
I tend to like fuller bodied rosés. I’m not a huge rosé fan in general so I like to use bigger bodied ones and I actually wanted to learn more about the pinot noirs from Archery Summit in Willamette Valley. Their wines are beautiful. I wasn’t expecting to add another rosé to the list and I tasted it and it was kickass, nice and full. It’s got a great mouthfeel, a nice richness to it but it’s also light and crispy at the same time. I love that region and supporting those small wineries that are now starting to show their faces on the East Coast.
Emily is located at 919 Fulton Street near Clinton Avenue
Follow Nikita Richardson on Twitter @nikitarbk