That one month in New York, I think I watched Food Network at least four hours every day. Now that’s WAYYYY too much TV for somebody who watches a couple of hours of TV a week, otherwise.
I’m not a Rachel Ray fan, but she happened to mention Motorino on an episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate. And I’d been going to the city a few times every week, so I thought “Why not!”
Motorino East Village
349 East 12th Street
New York, NY 10003
G ordered the Soppressate Piccante, which is their take on the classic pepperoni pizza. Spicy salami, herbs, mozzarella. I think it’s a classic American-pizza-meets-good-pizza situation. And obviously, it didn’t disappoint.
My cremini and spicy sausage pizza came with (obviously!) mushrooms and spicy sausage. A few olives thrown in. Garlic. Herbs. And mozzarella. I will admit, that much as I wanted to try the pizza with the brussel sprouts, I was skeptical. This was my first brick oven pizza. Alright, Motorino was on Food Network, but some how, brussel sprouts on a pizza. I wasn’t too sure. Not that I regretted ordering the mushroom and sausage pizza. 🙂
Often, I tend to complain that G orders stuff he is comfortable ordering/eating. Things he has tasted before and liked. I guess I do that too. Lookie: meat + mushrooms + cheese. Did we see that at another place in NYC only a few days ago?
You know what was really really really fantastic though? Fresh mozzarella. Have you ever considered how much it tastes like paneer? Yes, it’s gooey and stretchy. But it’s also moist. And delicious. Nothing… nothing… beats fresh mozza. And that’s how they served it at Motorino.
The other interesting aspect was the brick oven. The pizzas are baked in a brick oven. If you care to check youtube for Motorino Pizza videos, you’ll know just what I’m talking about. Like I said, this was my first brick oven pizza. I’m pretty sure there are enough guys who bake their pizzas in brick ovens. I’ve never had them. So you must understand where I’m coming from when I rave about the pizza here.
Here’s what a brick oven looks like:
It’s like this. A massive brick structure. Errr… Not MASSIVE. But yeah, a dozen feet or so tall. And about half as wide. Coal or wood could be used to light a fire within. The pizza can be baked directly on the hot bricks or a metallic screen can be placed above the flames to cook the pizza. Alternately, stone bricks may be used above the heat source for even dissipation of heat. And that’s what you’d probably find yourself doing if you bake a pizza from scratch. Buy a pizza stone and stick it in the oven. And then set your pizza over it.
Why brick oven pizzas are possibly better? That slight charred taste from being directly in touch with the heat. That just adds a whole new dimension to the pizza.
What’s cute (in a way) about this place is the ambience. The East Village location might barely be able to seat about thirty people. Also, the furniture is all metallic. Stainless steel. And designed to give an almost garage-like yet comfortable feel. Oh, and on a slightly unrelated note, guess who we saw there that afternoon? Aziz Ansari. I’m not a TV person. G is. He could tell almost instantaneously! And then, when we got home, we did the mandatory Google search to confirm if who we had seen was indeed who we had seen. And he was. He’s this guy on Parks And Recreation, if you must know.
Motorino is good. But I must warn you that it is also expensive. Or may be I can’t make my mind up on that. Ummm… About $17 for a personal pizza isn’t cheap. But when I add one or more of the following adjectives: awesome, brick-oven-baked, extremely fresh, it’s totally worth the price you pay!
$50, all inclusive, for a meal for two
Two personal sized pizzas + a couple of beers + gratuity
Look, I’m going to order a Papa John’s on a Wednesday when I get home from work and to an empty refrigerator, right? And pay $20 for a pizza that lasts me two meals? I’d might as well pay that much for a good pizza. And I mean, GOOOOOD.