Pizza Tasting: Motorino in Manhattan

After reading the rave reviews about Di Fara pizza, salve my sister Kelly and I prepared our descent to Brooklyn to brave the hungry lunch crowd.  We were going to go witness the painstaking arugula-cutting and finally get a taste of Dom DeMarco’s legendary pizza.  We set a date, penciled it in our calendar, and eagerly waited for our anticipated afternoon of pizza.


The next day, while my cousin Wesley was over at my apartment, we told him about our grand lunch plans.  “So, why are you going all the way there to get pizza?” he asked.  Kelly then went on to explain, concluding with “…he then slowly cuts the arugula with his scissors.  Want to come?”  We didn’t have to do much more convincing after that; the three of us set our lunch date.  Later the next day, while reading some more reviews online, I stumbled across an online review titled “Sink Your Teeth Into $14 Motorino Pizza, Skip Brooklyn Commute”.  The title alone challenged the need to venture deep into Brooklyn for pizza. We did our own investigating, and upon evaluating the time it’d take to commute to Di Fara’s in Brooklyn versus Motorino in Manhattan, our trip to Motorino would require less transit time.  After extensive deliberation, we made the executive decision to go to Motorino.  Did Motorino live up to the glowing review?  Well, we won’t know until our trip to Di Fara.  In the meantime, here’s an idea of what you can find at Motorino if you’re hungry in the East Village on a weekday afternoon.

If you’re planning on going to Motorino for lunch, first of all, be sure you receive the special lunch menu.  12 clams (not literally) will get you a whole pizza pie and either a green salad or ice cream.  You can order take-out too, which can be boxed up and ready to go.  If you just can’t wait to bite into the doughy Neapolitan pizza goodness, but don’t have time to sit down for formalities, get it to go “a libretto”, in which your entire pizza gets folded taco-style and wrapped in a sheet of wax paper, so you can literally eat it on-the-go.

A framed photo of an Italian lady eating her pizza “a libretto” above our table serves both aesthetic and instructional purposes.

Fresh from the oven, the pizzas have a thick, misshapen crust mottled with puffy charred dough bubbles.  I ordered the classic Margharita, topped with molten medallions of buffalo mozzarella and basil leaves.  All of Motorino’s pizzas are made with buffalo mozzarella; a big plus in my book.  The melted fresh mozzarella is almost liquid, melting and mixing with the tomato sauce and into each other.

Take a closer look.

brussel sprouts with pancetta
Kelly opted for the Brussels sprouts pizza, a white pizza without sauce, that was also topped with crispy pieces of pancetta.  While I personally prefer tomato sauce on my pizzas, this was an excellent topping combination.  The saltiness of the pancetta worked well with the crispy shreds of Brussels sprouts.  There were also pieces of garlic thrown into the mix as well.

brussel sprouts with pancetta
My only complaint about this pizza would be the abundance of burnt parts.  A little too carcinogen-laden for my taste.

Wesley decided to go with the Sopressata pizza.  A spicier Italian rendition of the classic American pepperoni topping, the pie was sprinkled with red pepper flakes, for an extra kick.


motorino interior

wesley and kelly
Wesley and Kelly discussing how hungry we were, among other things.

While I really enjoyed Motorino’s pizza, I did have some qualms about it as well.  As noted in a post by Slice, posing the question, “The Manhattan Motorino: Is It as Good as the Brooklyn Location?” I couldn’t tell you myself, not having been to the original Williamsburg, Brooklyn location, but pizza connoisseur Adam Kuban makes a valid observation when he says, “The things I noticed were that the lip of the pizza seemed much more puffy than at the Brooklyn location and that the pie overall seemed more charred. And while the lip, or cornicione, was puffy and done well, the interior of the pie was a little droopier than those that the Brooklyn location typically puts out.” His description was right on.  I guess some tweaks still need to be made to perfect the Manhattan Motorino pizza, and this only means that I will be adding Motorino Brooklyn alongside Di Fara’s on the World to Table to-eat list.  Stay tuned for more New York pizza updates!

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2 Responses to Pizza Tasting: Motorino in Manhattan

  1. Jessica says:

    I’m craving some New York pizza right now looking at your photos!

  2. Hi there. Very interesting post. If it is OK with you, I would like to link back to your article. I think that my readers would enjoy it.

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