Crispy Cheddar Curds
Emmy Squared
364 Grand St
Brooklyn, NY, 11211
★★★★★

Emmy Squared is an affront to the Neapolitan-style pizza that has dominated the Brooklyn food scene in recent years. Behold Detroit-style pizza! A rectangular, deep-dish pie with a crispy outer crust and edge-to-edge toppings. I’m not ashamed to admit that I love deep-dish pizza, but for those of you that squirm at the thought, take heart, instead of catering to the mob of cheese and sauce consuming beasts that fueled the Little Ceasers Hot-N-Ready® Deep!Deep!Dish™ empire, Emmy Squared takes a more refined approach, employing high quality and locally sourced ingredients that would appease even the foodiest of Williamsburg foodies.

But, unfortunately, this isn’t a review about their deep-dish pizza; it’s about Emmy Squared’s “Crispy Cheddar Curds.


THE STIX 

The curds were crowded onto a plate featuring not one, but two sauces in handsome stainless-steel dipping cups. They looked like golden brown cheese nuggets, bursting at the seams and oozing white cheddar. 


To get a sense of what I was getting myself into, I ate my first curd sans sauce and was immediately taken aback. The breading was an uninspired and under-seasoned thick shell of flour, egg, and panko. It was too thick and, in turn, too crispy. So much so that it overpowered the depressing amount of cheddar that was inside. I was excited about the prospects of using cheddar, but instead of the sharp, rich decadence we were expecting, the cheese tasted more like store-bought mozzarella. In fact, it was so value-neutral that it got lost as a component of the dish. That said, what the cheese lacked in personality, it made up for in texture and consistency. When we broke a crispy curd in half, the stretch of what little cheese it contained was almost flawless. 


THE SAUCE 

Now here come the real stars of the dish, the aftementioned sauces: classic tomato sauce and Sammy sauce.

The tomato sauce was almost perfect. It had character, heat, and just the right amount of salt. Later in the meal, we would find that the sauce was in large part responsible for the success of the pizza, but for the cheese curds, it stole the show. The sauce was so good that I almost preferred eating an unadulterated spoonful of the sauce by itself.

As for the Sammy sauce, I have to label it a cheat sauce. It was a delicate combination of Gochujang and Kewpie: a Korean fermented paste made from red chilies and a Japanese-style mayonnaise respectively. I’m calling this a cheat sauce because adding Gochujang to anything (just like bacon or MSG) makes it taste amazing.

Sammy sauce is similar to Shack sauce from Shake Shack and for that matter it’s reminiscent of every tangy Thousand Island-inspired secret sauce. But here’s the deal, just because I’m calling it a cheat sauce, doesn’t mean it isn’t insanely good. Believe it or not, the squad preferred the Sammy sauce to the traditional tomato sauce.


THE TAKEAWAY

Ultimately, the dish lacked harmony. The crispy curds acted more as fried vehicles for consuming  sauce and the breading overshadowed the cheddar that felt more like a rounding error in the end. If I was going to rate the sauces alone, this dish would score high, unfortunately as a whole, it's middle of the road.


THE BREAKDOWN

Price $12 per plate
Crispiness
★★★★★
Breading
★★★★★
Cheese
★★★★★
Gooeyness
★★★★★
Dip
★★★★★
Presentation
★★★★★
Overall
★★★★★