When I first saw the Paulie Gee space, construction was pretty much finished but there was sawdust and tools everywhere. Plus, the lighting was not calibrated. It looked like it had potential, but I was a little worried because the potential could have gone both ways at that point—toward "creepy killer's barn" or "rustic chic." I'm happy that it went squarely toward "rustic chic." The main dining room is warm and spacious and feels like you could hang out there for a good part of your evening.
Nothing you haven't seen before, but I finally got my hands on one of Paulie Gee's signature E&O pies. Marinated kale, fior di latte, and guanciale is an inventive and tasty combo. I think Arthur Bovino's take on it on Always Hungry is pretty astute: "There is a popcorn quality to it: salty, crispy, addictive. Also, popcornlike as in the thin shell outside of failed kernels on the bottom of the bag."
Along the western wall of the dining room are a couple of communal tables. Roberta's has been one of owner Paul Giannone's inspirations, and it's a touch carried over from there.
The Off the Hook
Sausage from the Meat Hook in Brooklyn. With fior di latte and mushrooms. I was happy to see that the sausage chunks were bigger than when I tried a sausage-and-onion pie at the friends and family night.
The space was designed by brothers Evan and Oliver Haslegrave, who used reclaimed materials from Build It Green in Astoria.
Fior di latte, fresh garlic, pecorino Romano, and sea salt. We watched as pizzaiolo-owner Paulie Gee Giannone pulled a burned one out and decided it was too burned to serve. He was about to trash it ("The trash can is one of the most important tools in this place," he says) but then let a hungry server nab it for a quick dinner. Ours came out pretty near ideal.
The Man Himself
Paulie Gee Giannone answers questions put to him by Arthur Bovino of Always Hungry, who I had met for dinner on Wednesday evening. Mr. Bovino's interview with the pizza-maker can be read here.
The Parma D'or
Punny pizza name. It's got arugula, fior di latte, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and the parmas in question—shaved Parmigianno-Regiano and prosciutto di Parma.
I normally don't go for dessert pizzas because I like to spend my calories on the main deal, but we had to try Nutella and pears. Good combo. The pears really cut the sweetness of the Nutella. Split this among four people, and you won't feel like you just stuffed in dessert just to stuff in dessert.