For Detroit-style pizza in the District, venture to Shaw for the New York-based restaurant Emmy Squared.
Located at 1924 8th St. NW, Emmy Squared is Shaw’s newest restaurant that brings New York-inspired pizzas, salads and breadsticks to the District. The joint has been expanding across the country to cities like Philadelphia, Nashville, Tenn. and now, D.C.
Emmy Squared keeps it simple and sleek with a marble bar, vintage-style Edison hanging light bulbs and expansive windows at the front of the restaurant. The shop is relatively small, seating about 45 people at its bar and booths, but its high ceilings and light-colored walls help the space seem less crowded.
While the restaurant’s focus is deep dish Detroit-style pizzas with funky toppings like Brussels sprouts and truffle mushroom cream, Emmy Squared also serves regionally-inspired fare like a wedge salad topped off with Nashville hot chicken ($15) and a Philly-style chopped cheeseburger ($10). In D.C., you can order EC Shaw wings ($12) doused in Emmy Squared’s version of mumbo sauce, topped with peanuts, scallions and ranch dressing.
Diners can indulge in appetizers like cheesy garlic sticks ($8) with parsley pesto and spicy tomato sauce for dipping or Zia waffle fries ($10), which come covered in hatch chili pimento cheese, scallions, bacon and ranch dressing. For a lighter fare, Emmy Squared offers turmeric-roasted cauliflower ($10) with chili flakes, raisins and toasted pine nuts or a shredded sprouts salad ($11) completed with pickled red onion, cashews, blue cheese and pear.
But the main reason to eat at Emmy Squared is for its Detroit-style pizzas, distinguished by by their square shape, cheesy crust and fluffy dough. The pizza menu is categorized into red pies and white pies.
The classic red cheese pizza is always a safe option, but you can order less traditional pizzas in the red pie section like the Big Ang ($16), a vodka sauce pizza covered with ricotta, pecorino, meatballs and banana peppers or the Colony ($14) with pepperoni, pickled jalapeño and honey.
When it comes to white pies, Emmy Squared chefs think outside the box. You can try the Greenstoner ($15) with green tomatoes, hatch chili pimento cheese and bacon or the Tina ($14), which features Brussels sprouts, smoked mozzarella, sausage and chestnuts.
I chose to try the D.C.-specific pizza, called the EC Shaw ($16). The white pizza came loaded with blue cheese, red onions, EC Shaw sauce and fried chicken.
The pizza crust was crispy on the outside – thanks to the caramelized cheese crust – but the dough’s interior tasted soft and fluffy. I don’t typically like the flavor of blue cheese, so I was nervous to try it as a pizza topping. My first bite of blue cheese was overwhelming, but it melted seamlessly into the rest of the toppings and mixed in well with the mozzarella by the second try.
The slight acidity of the red onions helped cut the slight saltiness of the cheeses, and the mumbo-inspired sauce provided a sweet, yet tangy taste, which I had never experienced with a pizza before.
The standout of the pizza was easily the fried chicken, giving each bite both a crunch from its exterior and a juicy flavor from the inside of the chicken. Together, each of the toppings offered a bit of every flavor, with saltiness from the cheese and fried chicken, acidity from the red onions and a tiny bit of heat from the EC Shaw sauce.
From its Detroit-style pizzas to out-of-the-box toppings, Emmy Squared is revving up the D.C. pizza scene and well worth a trip to Shaw.