Being that our borough is known for its incredible Sicilian pizza (L&B, anyone?) Brooklynites may bristle at Detroit taking credit for the square pie.
“There are five major components that set Detroit-style pizza apart,” explains Emily Hyland of Clinton Hill’s woodfired round-devoted Emily, while illuminated by the wraparound windows of her new Williamsburg corner spot, Emmy Squared; diametrically dedicated to the suddenly white hot Motor City specialty. “One is that it’s baked in a pan. Two is that it has a frico crust; cheesy fried edges created by that pan. Three and four is that it has a crispy bottom and airy middle, making it a lot lighter than Sicilians, which tend to be quite dense. And five is that the red pies generally have two stripes of sauce, that go on only after the pizza has been cooked. Because the way the dough and cheese really marry and caramelize in the pan is not something you want to mess with by sticking in a layer of sauce.”
And while, even by those strict definitions, Sicilian and Detroit iterations hardly seem light years apart, the proof is entirely in the pizza—patrons will undoubtedly be won over by the golden girdles of cheese on Emmy’s individually-sized squares, not to mention their unexpectedly buoyant dough structure (making it possible to work ones way through several pans) and most of all, beyond-pepperoni toppings, of the sort you certainly couldn’t expect to find at your average Sicilian-slinger. Consider “The Hatchback,” with green chilies, chorizo and crema; “The Angel Pie” with ricotta, mushrooms and truffled egg yolk; and the namesake “Emmy,” boasting banana peppers, onions and cilantro-mint ranch.
Needless to say, the pies are the cornerstone of their business, although Emmy’s expansive, 80-seat space (which formerly housed the short-lived Bill Baker’s), has allowed the Hyland’s to spread their wings well past pizza. Because there’s simply no such thing as too much fried dairy, you’ll currently find a starter of breadcrumbed cheddar cheese curds, swiftly counteracted in the calorie department by salads, such as a bottarga-dusted bok choy caesar and a bountiful “Endless Summer” comprised of frilly Gotham Greens, surmounted by sunflower seeds and citrus. A quadrant of sandwiches has made the opening menu as well, including a meatball sub, a chicken parm and a take on the muffuletta; with promises that the heralded Emmy burger will eventually make an appearance. Although even the celebrated patty may have trouble holding its own against those mozzarella-trimmed pizzas; because as Williamsburg’s homage to Detroit has capably shown, it’s totally hip to be square.
364 Grand Street, Williamsburg
Photos by Jane Bruce