Motorino – New York, NY

Pizza New York City

Motorino is a new contender for Manhattan's best pizza.

It took a bit of courage for us to decide to go to Motorino just days after the New York Times anointed it “The Best Pizza in New York.” (Well, maybe it’s true if Brooklyn is not included in that equation). We went to their Manhattan location in the space that formerly held Una Pizza Napoletana. [More on that later.]

Our timing was great, showing up on a Saturday at 4:47 p.m. We had a table just 15 minutes later, in a very crowded room, tables jammed together, my back uncomfortably pressed against the protruding white tile that lines the walls. Fortunately I had a bag to put behind my back, otherwise it would have been misery. There was an excited and happy buzz in the room, the crowd was mostly young and trendy looking and crammed with excited “foodies.” The wait staff was friendly and recommended their Scamorza Cheese Crostini which took about a half hour to get to our table, but it was worth it. The cheese was smoky, the bread slightly burnt, it was sensational. This was an appetizer to rank with those served at Co, at Pizzeria Otto, and in Los Angeles at Pizzeria Mozza.

My wife Connie had the Soppressata Piccante which was very spicy and I had their signature Margherita Pizza. This was delicious pizza, light with a savory sauce, superb Buffalo mozzarella and the crust perfectly charred. We felt this meal which only cost $53 with drinks and wine was a bargain.

A gentleman sitting next to us was a regular and had regaled us with the virtues of Motorino extolling the lightness of the pizza, the feeling after of not being uncomfortably full. And he was right. We felt great after, sated, but not stuffed. And the NYT article was right in praising the pizza for not losing its quality even as it cooled down.

So we conclude that Motorino is a winner and probably is just a shade better than Co. in delivering the best pizza in the city now that Lombardi’s is so inconsistent and John’s has deteriorated so alarmingly. Certainly it is miles better than the mediocre junk served at Keste…But, alas Motorino is not even half as good as the former Una Pizza Napoletana was. Una Pizza Napoletana created masterpieces, pizzas that were as fine as any in the US, as distinctive as Pepe’s, Sally’s, De Lorenzo, and Di Fara (this last now is, for my money, the best pizza in the New York region). Motorino is merely the best of what is becoming a ubiquitous Neapolitan style pizza as represented at Two Amys in Washington DC, Keste, and other places opening seemingly every week. Most of these wood fired products are excellent, but few really are distinctive, and none of these places except for Una Pizza Napoletana, have, in our experience the ability to send one into pizza “orbit” to Nirvana, to give that transcendent experience that only the most sublime pizza can give – the kind of experience that may be had at Pepe’s, Sallys, Di Fara, De Lorenzo. (We haven’t been to Pizzeria Bianco, so we cannot say if that one is equally transporting.) So by all means if you’re on the East Side, Motorino is worth a try, but is is not one of the great destination pizzerias in our opinion.

Address: 349 E 12th Street, New York, NY 10003
Blog Comments

[…] … In Italy we would use a cheese called scamorza, which is a kind of firmer mozzarella and …Food GPS Motorino – New York, NY – February 20, 2010The wait staff was friendly and recommended their Scamorza Cheese Crostini which took about a half […]

Have you been to Luzzo? I would rank it right with (and maybe better than) Napoletana – also, just a few short blocks from Motorino!

Kyle, I still haven’t had a chance to try Luzzo. Next time I’m in New York. Also, for the next time you’re there, Luzzo’s owners just opened another spot called Ovest Pizzoteca.

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