If you have ears you’ve probably heard that the New York Times recently called Motorino the BEST PIZZA IN NEW YORK! Is it true? Well, the long answer is: Like yetis, Shangri-La and poo that don’t stink, there is no such thing as the best because blah blah blah… but the short answer is: Yes.
For all the strengths of the pizza, the restaurant has always been a struggle to love. The overexerted waitstaff and pizza-paddle wranglers get pies on the table with impeccable timing, but the wine/water/salad service and general politeness suffer for it.
Upon entering the Grand St location, you bump into the first row of tables. Waitresses frantically wiggle though the isles as clumps of hungry hungry hipsters wearily scan for the elusive host. Since the NYT review, the mass consumable hysteria has spiraled into a full blown melee of middle aged Manhattanites. They suck in our youthful Brooklyn charm while sucking up all the tables at Motorino. But hey, I was sucked in by the hype too, last year when Grub Street took Mario Batali on an multi-borough new pizzeria tour and he declared Motorion superior to all, I was running after his bandwagon. But back then this was still just a neighborhood joint. With NYT’s declaration, this place now belongs to anyone with a metrocard, cab fair, or driver.
Back to the pizza. From the humble slurry of flour and yeast rises a crisp shell freckled with char and protecting the tender core of chewy crust. As you lift each slice the tip lazily hangs but the topping never abandon ship. Each morsel of brussel sprout or mozzarella di bufala or pancetta or soppressata finds safe harbor into your mouth. The tomato sweet sauce is spread thick under the sparse cheese, flaunting its natural earthy subtleness. Never watery, never bland.
I always order the Mixed Green Salad ($6). The simple concoction of parsley, chives, red onion, arrives with a tiny pitcher filled with an even tinier portion of balsamic and olive oil emulsion. The spicy greens nullify the tart dressing into aging grape sweetness on the tongue. The mineraly olive oil coats the rest of your mouth.
Not wanting the evening to end, when the waitress offered housemade bombolini for dessert we gladly accepted… despite not knowing what they were. Turns out they are dounuts, one with cream one with raspberry preserves, and they taste a lot like, well, dounuts… I’d skip them and order another pizza for dessert…
What? No, they don’t make “dessert pizza.” Since when is the sweet serenity of another DOC Margherita not appropriate for dessert?
319 Graham Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211