Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Paulie Gee's Opens Tonight, March 9th 2010

Well, tonight it is a big night for a Brooklyn-born pizzaiolo and friend of mine, Paul Giannone- known affectionately through New York and New Jersey as Paulie Gee. At 6 P.M. at 60 Greenpoint Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Paulie officially opens the over-sized barn doors of his cozy pizzeria to give the public arguably one of the best pies in America.

Paulie, who just retired from a long career of computer consulting just shy of a month ago, started making pizza about two-and-a-half years ago when he built a brick oven in his back yard.

(courtesy of Blondie & Brownie)

Not too shabby, huh? Well it pales in comparison to his new custom Italian-built oven-

I have been fortunate enough and Paulie has been kind enough to let me film the process of him getting his restaurant off the ground for my documentary. While I can't show you any footage, I'll give you a glimpse at what he's been up to.

Before Paulie bought 60 Greenpoint, it used to be a restaurant called Paloma run by Camille from Top Chef season 3. Unfortunately, there was a fire in one of the neighboring apartments, and the restaurant was closed. Fortunately, a talented pizza-maker was hot on the prowl for a headquarters.

The talented Oliver and Evan Haslegrave turned the space into something truly unique, using only recycled and repurposed material to give the brand new restaurant the warm, antiqued barn feeling it has come to embody. If you haven't been to the Manhattan Inn in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, do yourself a favor and go, if not just to see Oliver and Evan's creative handiwork.

I had my first Paulie Gee pizza while stopping by his place during this past Superbowl, and what a night that was. Paulie and his right-hand pizzaiolo Alex spent the night getting to know the new oven by making pie, after pie, after pie. Above is one of my favorites created that night, "The Alexi-" red sauce, EVOO, salt, arugula, and shaved Parmigianno-Reggiano.

Listen, it's clear to see I may have a slight bias having witnessed Paulie passionately transition from backyard entertainer to brick-oven pizza-machine, but I never said I had the integrity of a journalist. What I do know is that Paulie makes one of the absolute best Neapolitan-style pizza I've ever had, and if you knew what was good for you, you'd go try one or three for yourself.

Here's to you Paulie- best of luck, and happy "retirement!"

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Last weekend, friend and fellow pizza-blogger Jason from I Dream of Pizza organized one of his acclaimed pizza groups to set out and chow down on some coal-fired pizza from Arturo's on Houston St.

The place has a great vibe- lots of classic photos, paintings, and even live jazz! A funky bassline always goes great with a slice in my opinion.

After a short wait, all 11? 12? of us were seated in the back to passionately discuss and photograph pizza in semi-privacy. We ordered four large pies: mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, bacon & sausage, and the Diavolo minus the ham (sliced tomatoes, onions, peperoncini, no sauce).

Here's my disclaimer- the pictures in this post are sub-par. Due to confined quarters, low light, and the overwhelming anticipation of my fellow diners for me to just finish up with the damn photos already, I had to snap with a quickness, so pardon the sloppiness. Hey there's Brian Hoffman from Eat This NY at the head of the table!

First up was the Diavolo:

Pretty damn tasty, especially with that peperoncini mixed in there. I'm not usually a fan of onion on pizzas, but this one blended great with the rest of the toppings.

Everyone seemed to agree that it was probably for the best they didn't put sauce on this pizza, it was a bit on the sweet side and would not have gone well in combination with the toppings.

Next came the bacon and sausage pie, but considering I didn't try any and my pictures turned out terrible, I'm just going to skip it. That leaves the two varieties of mozzarella:


...and fresh-

Totally discernable, right? Yeah, whatever. This is where I became disappointed with Arturo's. According to our waiter, the fresh mozzarella was made with muttz homemade that day. Sure, I believe that. What I don't believe is that the milk or curd they make it from is fresh. It tasted like sour milk, which obviously imparted some rather questionable tastes.

(plain on the left, "fresh" on the right)

This being the case, I preferred the plain pie over the fresh, but I think I speak for most of the group when I say the real winner of the night was the Diavolo. Yes, I'd order it again if I was at Arturo's, but no, I wouldn't go back to Arturo's in the first place. I mean, sour cheese? C'mon Arturo, who are you kidding calling it fresh?
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