For as long as I could remember, when you talk about great pizza in New York, most people refer to the greatness of the past. In fact, two of the most famous pizza joints: Grimaldi’s and Lombardi’s all date back over a century in one form or another.
As other forms of foods prospered, I wondered why there aren’t more specialty pizza restaurants. When I’m telling my future children about where to get a great pizza, will I be mentioning Grimaldi’s still? I’m no pizza expert, but I know a good pizza when I taste one. The pizza at Motorino was one of the best I’ve ever tasted. With their “Since 2008” sign proudly on the sign, it seems that Motorino is looking to establish itself as a New York icon for the ages.
It’s certainly off to a great start. Since 2008, many have proclaimed it the best pie in New York. Bruni, Sifton, and even Batali. The man behind this timeless New York tradition of dough, sauce and a wood fired oven is Mathieu Palombino, a chef with a Michelin-star background in haute cuisine.
Although the original Williamsburg location is no longer open due to structural issues with the building, the East Village location is thriving. That’s where I found myself the day after Chrismas, craving a nice solid meal.
The decor at Motorino is exactly what you’d expect from a pizza restaurant in the East Village. That’s right, picture an East Village restaurant, add some bikes outside (for delivery) and a massive oven, and you’ve got Motorino.
Knowing that a pie is on its way, although appetizers all looked very inviting on the menu, we shared a simple octopus salad. The lightly seasoned salad relies on capers for flavor, and combines octopus, fingerling potatoes, celery and onions. I wish the flavors were slightly more evenly blended, and as always wished there were more octopus. But when you get the perfect bite, it was just the right amount of tasty.
The main event was obviously the pizza. From the menu the waitress recommended a Soppressata Piccante. The crust was nicely baked, with just that little bit of burnt flavor that’s pleasant to the taste. On top, there was plenty of fior di latte (aka mozzarella) with piccante and sliced garlic. You’ll make a mess, but you’ll thoroughly enjoy doing so.
This was one really, really good pizza.
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349 E 12th St
New York, NY 10003