Paulie Gee is the man. Seriously. Paul Gianonne worked as an engineer but had a passion for pizza and dreamed of opening his own pizzeria one day. He became a presence on the NY pizza blogs and started inviting the pizza community over to his house in Jersey to try his homemade pizza. Brilliant idea. He became an internet sensation and it was only a matter of time before his dream to have his own pizzeria became a reality.
And now that reality has finally arrived. Paulie Gee’s is located on a fastly growing section of Greenpoint in Brooklyn. His restaurant is very quaint and rustic which seems to be the way all the new pizzerias are going. Nothing wrong with that though. Even down to the bathrooms, which have a heavy duty latch that seems like it was brilliantly put together by somebody’s Italian grandfather.
It was not surprising that I was finally brought here by Jason Feirman, another pizza lover, who runs both I Dream of Pizza and a monthly pizza club where he invites friends and bloggers to try out a new pizzeria. It was also his birthday and I think it’s telling that this is where he decided to spend it with a group of 30 pizza obsessive friends.
Jason is a guy after my own heart. There’s no question that we will order as many pies as possible and pass them around the table. So we get to try a little of everything. And I do mean everything. I don’t think there was a pizza on the menu that didn’t come to the table at Paulie Gee’s and that includes the list of specials. And this was no small feat because the menu is quite extensive.
Now I tried as much as I could, but between the birthday festivities and the constant influx of pizzas, I was not able to take quality notes and thus have to leave you with just my general impressions.
Paulie Gee is a master at flavor combinations. There were some surprising ingredients on the menu and I was eager to taste how they turned out. And they were pretty much all a success. The spicy bacon maramlade (that he features on the Baconmarmalade Picante, some of his specials, and as dessert over Van Leuween vanilla ice cream) was surprising. It was meaty, sweet, salty, and spicy. There’s been lots of experimentation with bacon lately in savory and sweet options, but Paulie has somehow figured out how to use bacon in every possible way at once. And it works smashingly.
I really loved the Cherry Jones pizza which featured fior di latte cheese, gorgonzola, prosciutto, dried bing cherries, and locally made honey. The pizza was awesome and featured everything you want – richness, sweetness, saltiness, and a nice amount of funk from the blue cheese. It was really awesome.
He uses local, fresh ingredients and pairs them with the right Italian imports to make winning pizzas. His dough is very good. It’s not the perfect consistent charred tender crust I’ve found at other places like Kesté, but it works perfectly as a canvas for his brilliant, artistic, delicious creations. He’ll add some drizzles of olive oil or lemon juice to spice things up. Just like a true master.
The only thing I didn’t get to really sample was just a plain pizza to see how he does the basics. His is called the Regina (which is one of my favorites at Kesté) and I guess we were just so interested in trying his creative works that we forgot to order the traditional pizzas.
In many ways, this is the most unique pizzeria in the city right now. It has a great backstory, features some eclectic and innovative pizzas, and possibly the most passionate, focused, and successful pizziaolo I’ve ever encountered. Oh, if only we could all live Paulie Gee’s life – doing what he loves and eating great pizza as much as he wants.
Is Paulie Gee’s the best pizza in NY? I give it an 8 out of 10 for his groundbreaking and delicious topping combinations. And when I return and taste his traditional pies, I hope the rating increases.
|60 Greenpoint Avenue (between West Street and Franklin Street)