Howard: I first heard from Paulie Gee after I wrote a post about Lucali’s. He suggested a few places for pizza, including Roberta’s in Bushwick. Roberta’s quickly became my favorite pizza place in the city. In the meantime, I started seeing Paulie Gee’s name pop up all over the food blog-o-sphere. He seemed to be obsessed with pizza, to the point of building a pizza oven in his back yard and hosting tastings there. I kept in occasional contact with him over the past year or so, and I even tried to finagle an invitation to one of those pizza tastings, to no avail. But then came some interesting news — Paulie Gee was going to open an actual pizzeria, here in Brooklyn.
We walked in through the enormous wooden doors into the comfortable, exposed wood interior. At the far end of the restaurant was the pizza oven, and standing in front of it was Paulie Gee himself. He looked a bit overwhelmed but quite happy, and he seemed glad to see us there. We took up a big table right in front of the kitchen space, and while we ate the restaurant very quickly filled up with other diners.
Donny: I got one of the specials that night was the Mo Cheeks which had slices of guanciale and mozzarella cheese. My second choice was The E & O. I never had guanciale before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The pie came out looking amazing and I couldn’t wait for the others and took a bite. OMG! The pie was so so so good and the guanciale was great too. Had intense porky flavor. I started looking into curing my own guanciale because of this pie.
Howard: This was a white pie topped with fresh arugula and lemon juice. This a the pie that really showcased the excellent crust; the milkiness of the cheese and the acidity of the lemon really complimented the dough in a surprising way.
Donny: I never had lemon juice on pizza before and this was great! A great summer pie.
Howard: We didn’t order the Regina, which is pretty much the standard margherita, but at one point during the meal the pizza arrived at our table. Apparently Paulie Gee thought it was a bit to charred to serve to the customer who had ordered it, so he sent it over to us. I thought it was excellent — I love char, and I love when my fingers get blackened by the crust, and though this pizza was slightly more charred than the others we got I didn’t think it was too charred at all.
The E & O
Donny: The second special that night was The E & O which had kale, guanciale or mushroom. Steph got it with mushroom. I am loving kale more and more these days and to have it on a pizza, it was just too damn good. Really loved the crunchy texture of the kale.
Howard: A this layer of tomato sauce topped with arugula, this was another outstanding pie. The seasoning of the sauce was spot on, and the balance of ingredients was as well.
Donny: Our friend, Steph, voted this as her favorite pie of the night.
Donny: I mean who doesn’t love speck?! Another awesome pie that was devoured too quick for a photo. Boo.
Howard: A layer of cheese topped with grape tomatoes and chopped fresh garlic; this could have used a little more seasoning but was quite good. In the 90 seconds or so this pizza was in the oven the tomatoes just barely burst open, and their sweetness made the pie something special.
Donny: Hahhaaa I can’t believe we all still had room for another pie.
There’s a lot to love about Paulie Gee’s. The pizzas are great, to be sure, and that is of course the foundation of any good pizzeria. Luckily there’s more than that. Paulie Gee has succeeded in creating a place where people can go to have fun and to be comfortable while eating those pizzas. A lot has been written in the food blog community about Paulie Gee and his becoming a pizzaiolo in his retirement. All I can add to that is that I am very glad he made his dream happen. Oh, and I’ll definitely be back for more.