Sun. and Tues., 5:30 p.m.-midnight; Wed.-Sat., 5:30 p.m.-1 a.m.; Mon., closed
1 at Houston St.; N, R at Prince St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
One recent Saturday night, the wait for a seat at Emmett’s, a new South Village spot that specializes in Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, was being quoted by Dillon Burke, the barkeep brother of owner Emmett Burke, as two hours. That’s not unheard of in a town where people rise at dawn to form a line for the chance to buy six cronuts. But that’s not all. After you’ve scored a seat, even before you’ve taken off your coat, Dillon politely asks you to consider placing your pizza order right now, as it takes 35 minutes to cook the thing. When the pizza arrives on its pedestal, Dillon sets a two-minute egg timer next to it, because “it needs to settle.” So that’s a potential two-hour-and-37-minute wait for something many local pizza cognoscenti regard as an abomination and refuse to even classify as pizza.
The result is a thing quite unlike our local variety, and a nifty addition to the pizzascape. For maximum enjoyment, approach it without preconceived notions, and refrain from making comparisons with the iconic, foldable New York slice or the puffy and blistered Margherita D.O.C. Taken on its own terms, Emmett’s deep-dish is both audibly crunchy and pleasingly bready, zesty with herbs and exceptionally filling. It is a stiff round of golden dough smelling faintly of yeast, rising high and thin on the rim like an English pork pie, cradling a blanket of chewy mozzarella and a slick of aggressively seasoned sauce in which optional toppings are distributed so minimally they might seem invisible. It comes in four sizes, and three people sharing a 12-inch-wide, two-inch-tall, three-and-a-half-pound large will likely have leftovers.
Emmett’s, at its heart, is a neighborhood bar with the feel of a bistro, the kind of genial hangout that’s grown increasingly rare. It’s the Corner Bistro meets Le Gamin—no coincidence, since the first branch of that atmospheric French café opened at Emmett’s address more than two decades ago. The bones of the snug, 30-seat space (pressed-tin ceiling, tiled floor, marble bar) are still visible beneath the smattering of Muddy Waters photos and random found objects. Burke might not like to hear it, but with its convivial vibe, effortlessly friendly service, and small but satisfying bar-food menu, Emmett’s is a pizzeria where the pizza is almost incidental.Recommended Dishes
Greek salad ($7.95); large pizza with sausage ($27).