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Emma's Rant

I should preface my remarks to say that I have never eaten at the "newer" version of Emma's Pizzeria; that being said, I was watching Chronicle last night and they had a special on best "cheap eats" and Emma's was highlighted. The show mentioned the paper thin crust and how the chef/pizza maker learned his trade from Todd English. I was a huge fan of the original Emma's when Emma worked the counter and her husband made the pizza. I loved their sauce, fresh ingredients and Emma's grittiness (charming in a funny sort of way), but most of all, I loved their thin crust with burnt edges. It was sad to hear that the new Emma's is cooking a crust learned from Todd English rather than that of Emma's husband. The bottom line is that I miss the "original" and I know I probably shouldn't be commenting without having tried the "newer" version and I apologize for that. I have actually asked on this board for someone to compare the original to the newer version but I have never gotten a response.

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  1. Sorry but are you complaining about how Emma's Pizza tastes based on a TV report even though you've never eaten there, or at least not since they moved from Huron Village maybe 6-7 years ago? Whatever.

    p.s. the pizza is quite good, in my opinion. We've had a couple of crusts go soggy in the middle, which is yucky, but in general good quality. Very pleasant place to sit and eat, too, even if the tables get a bit crowded. Salads can be hit or miss.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DavisSquare

      One, I made it clear that I had not tried the newer version and also thought I made it clear that I was not commenting on the crust that I have never tried; it was more about missing the "original" and a little nostalgia. Whatever.

    2. I love Emma's. Was there last week and had 2 wonderfully thin, crispy crust pizzas. I'm also a little confused that you would bother to rant (your word) about something that you haven't even tried, disclaimers aside. Strange.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Kbee

        He should have entitlted it "Emma's reminiscing" or something along those lines. Rant does seem like a strange word. I need to get back there and eat, have loved it in the past but never went to the original.

        1. re: Joanie

          Now that we're reminiscing, very few actually went to the original, except to pick up their pizza. They had like three or four bar stools to sit at and it didn't seem like it would be very pleasant since there was a constant traffic of pizza picker-uppers passing behind you. That said, it was a cute space and they put out great pizza (still do). The move to Kendall was a huge upgrade, despite gnashing of teeth, since you can now sit and enjoy as a real restaurant.

      2. Emma's never could stand up to Armando's. When we were kids, the rumor was that she used to lick her finger and pop the bubbles on the crust. Plus, I don't think I ever saw her husband smile.

        1. I did not notice a significant difference in Emma's pizza from before and after the handover at the Kendall Square location. In fact, hadn't fact known for a couple of visits that there had been a change of ownership till I read about it here. It's still that rather thin, slightly charred, quite bubbly crust, and I like their sauce. (Pizza discussions always seem to erupt into quasi-religious wars here; for the record, I also count the original Pizza Regina, The Dish, and Picco among my favorites.)

          The immediate environs of Emma's isn't a great cheap-eats spot, either, so I've always been glad to have it when I wanted a bite before a movie at the Kendall and wasn't packing Blue Room-level cash. (Nearby, I also like Izzy's and Anise.)

          Maybe what the new Emma's guy learned from Todd English is how to get airtime on Chronicle.

          6 Replies
          1. re: MC Slim JB

            I recently had a pizza at Picco and thought it was really good. It's been a long time but I do remember the pizzas from Dish fondly as well. Another favorite is the Paddock.

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              I far prefer Mulan in that area; Anise never did much for me.

              1. re: limster

                I always forget about Mulan; it moved in after I stopped working in that neighborhood. It's Taiwanese, yes? Any suggestions on dishes for a first visit?

                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  Here are a few of my favorites at Mulan.also like a smoke pork w/leek dish and a hot spicy fish filet dish.

                  http://flickr.com/photos/61246842@N00...

                  I enjoyed the 1 slice I've had at Emma's and will go back.

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    Yep, it's Taiwanese. I like the fried chicken with basil and their dumpling. Fish with dry/fried beans is also a good. Fried rice vermicelli is homey and takes on some flavour from the typical Taiwanese gravy made from braising pork belly in dark soy sauce.

                    1. re: limster

                      That whole fish with the "dry" bean sauce (more like a crust of soy? beans) kicks ass. Delicious. We have had so many lovely/chaotic lab lunches at Mulan, it's hard to keep track of it all..MCSJB, I think you might like it a hell of a lot more than Anise, at least in my experience. Only beer and wine, but honestly, I barely even notice.

              2. What other 'cheap tears' did Chronicle look at?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                  Did not see entire show but I remember Rachel's Kitchen, Zocalo, Zoe's, Emma's, Miami Cafe, ...they are all listed on the Channel 5 website.

                2. I humbly suggest that a new visitation by your personage to said establishment would yield a valid and robust comparison point with your nostalgic reminiscence...

                  'Cause it's thin crust is hella good.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                    Agree. I don't typically love the cracker-type crust, but the last slice I had at Emma's was really great.

                      1. re: lennyb

                        I ate at Armando's recently and was totally underwhelmed.

                        My local fav a bit farther out in Watertown is Stella's.

                        Conley's Bar on Belmont also does a very respectable pizza.

                        1. re: StriperGuy

                          Depends on slice or pie. For a quick and greasy slice, I like Armando's a lot. I also found that Pini's on Broadway in Som'ville excells at the greasy slice, but not so good for pie.

                          For a very good pie, I prefer PR at Station Landing for the convenience, PR in the North End for the real deal.

                          It also could depend on how hungover you are.

                        2. re: lennyb

                          Armando's sauce is OK. The crust is so-so. Not a bad pizza, but have no inclination to make the trip back.

                        3. re: Bob Dobalina

                          I kinda liked your other post earlier, Bob. ;-)

                        4. I'm with you, bakerboyz - the orig. Emma's on Huron Ave. was the greatest. (BTW, for the other poster who didn't know about the change of hands - when Emma and her husband Greg sold their business, the new owners stayed at the Huron Ave. location, then moved to Kendall). Our family liked it much more than Armando's - my mother, who now goes to Armando's, says every time "this is good, but not as good as Emma's used to be.

                          I have been to the "new" Emma's on a few occasions and don't like it all all - it's good for the kind of pizza it is, but it's not the old school pizza that Emma and Greg used to dish out. I think PICCO is close, FWIW.

                          Also - Emma and Greg both smiled, at least at regular customers!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: gansu girl

                            emmas was sold by emma and bought by a lovely couple who then moved the business to kendell. they sold the business about 3 yrs ( i think) ago and it is now on is third set of owners. i still frequent a few times a year for take out. last time was in early summer. it was good as ever but i have had a few misses every now and then.

                              1. re: gansu girl

                                they must have known that i ate at armando's

                              2. Baker, This may be a silly question but why don't you just try the new Emma's. We're a bunch of opinionated CHs; but the only opinion that should matter to you is yours.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: 9lives

                                  You are absolutely right; I did try to go once this past summer but was denied either because I could not find a parking space anywhere close by or it was too busy or both. In any event, as someone suggested earlier, I should have renamed the post "Emma's Reminiscing" rather than Emma's Rant but I think it's too late to edit.

                                  1. re: 9lives

                                    Pizza seems to be something that lends itself very much to personal tastes, so there are a lot of divergent opinions often even with hounds that normally share similar tastes. I learn to take recommendations with a grain of salt especially for pizza holy grail, but lets face it -- if you don't like one shop, there is another around the corner. I wish it were easier to objectively discuss pizza styles on the board, but its pretty hard (for example Stella's above has a good product, but sometimes gets suggested for NY style pizza when they serve a thin pizza, rolled out with lots of bench flour, instead of being tossed).

                                    WRT to parking at Emma's -- during the day there is usually meter parking across from the movie theater, at night you can often park on Fulkerson (ssshhhh), and I think someone said they validate the garage but I never bother. And if Armando's is not your style, Village Kitchen serves more gourmet style pizzas right across from the old Emma's location.