Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NYC — I was first "introduced" to Paulie Gee when he first followed me on the KAC Food Instragram account. I followed him back and from what I could tell at the time, maybe about two years ago, he was just opening up his pizzeria, Paulie Gee's in some far off land known as Greenpoint, located in Brooklyn, on the opposite of a body of water from Manhattan called the East River.
Over a course of time I noticed the increase in interest and love for his pizzeria, from fellow Instagrammers and food bloggers, to local and national press. I kenw I'd have to eventually check it out for myself, but with my "oh so busy life", when would I be able to the different trains ride out there, especially since Paulie Gee's doesn't open until 6pm, right around the time I'm about to call it a day.
Well, after another year of trying to coordinate with my friend Shawna who lives in Greenpoint, I was finally able to hold to a plan of a pizza date, and was lucky enough to be able to get to Paulie Gee's in half the time I expected to (from the Upper East Side), on a beautifully weathered spring late afternoon, just minutes after they had opened.
And though it was just minutes after they opened, they already had a near full house of eager customers — on a Monday, nonetheless. Easy to understand as the place's layout is comfortably homey, intimate, yet friendly and convivial.
That made Shawna and I even more excited to try the pizzas that made for so many avid Paulie Gee's fans.
The menu is not too extensive, but showcases a nice and often creative variety of pies. They offer starters as well, and the Gates of Eden salad (greens, Gorgonzola, candied pecans, onions, dried cranberries, Bosc pear) immediately appealed to both Shawna and myself.
The salad is tasty and has some playful layers of flavor. Shawna and I both agreed that the bites are best when they include the gorgonzola, as the cheese inherently strong sourness and saltiness balance the otherwise very sweet elements of the fruit and sugared nuts (and sweet vinaigrette as well). that being said, Shawna couldn't stop picking at it throughout her meal.
And the meal —the pizzas, of course — do turn out to be the real stars here. Shawna and I split the Greenpointer (fresh mozzarella, baby arugula, olive oil, fresh lemon juice and shaved parmigiano reggiano) and the Ricky Ricotta (Italian tomatoes, house-made vegan fennel sausage, pecorino romano, post-oven fresh ricotta dollops, baby arugula and extra virgin olive oil).
I must say, in an era where restaurants are doing crazier and crazier things with foods just to get the Instagram followers, it is most rewarding to see a place produce and serve uncomplicated food that shows the ultimate respect to its ingredients, letting each shine and compliment each other.
The Greenpointer we ordered expressively for its simplicity, and it executed superbly the dough and crust — with its friendly "chew" and not too bitter char — letting the heat alone from just coming out of a brick oven give the toppings life, the mozzarella melty, cream but subtle. The arugula crisp and peppery, countered with bright leon juice and earthy olive oil, all made more aromatic by the residual heat of the pie.
The extra unctuously creamy "dollops" of ricotta make a great counter for the richly sweet and savory Italian tomatoes. And, surprisingly, the vegan fennel sausage replicated everything I love about meat sausage — in texture and in taste — without reminding me at all why I usually hate vegan meat substitutes.
The pies are so delicious they become fun to eat and share with family and friends. There's so many other pies on that menu I can't wait to try now.
And as Paulie Gee's is now serving these delicious and popular pizzas in Columbus, Ohio — and gets ready to start serving pies in Hampden, and Miami as well — it's great to see that Paulie Gee's doesn't just cater to Instagram followers, but caters primarily to followers of a grade A dining experience as well.
Paulie Gee's | 60 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222 | (347) 987-3747 | pauliegee.com