eat. shop. love. nyc.


Motorino Brooklyn and mortadella salad

My mom came up from Virginia to visit me a little while back, and she and I spent the weekend together gallivanting about town, going to wine bars at midnight, and even checking out some apartments for sale in Brooklyn. As we were walking up Graham Ave. towards the train station, we happened upon a bustling pizza place, and upon recognizing it as Motorino, I popped in for lunch with mom.

The fire-roasted mortadella salad ($7) is fantastic. The mortadella is cut into thick strips, grilled over a hot fire, and tossed in olive oil with olives, tomatoes, basil, red onions, some bitter greens, and topped with parmesan cheese.

I really like it when these sort of low-brow cured meats (bologna, mortadella, ham) are cut into cubes or thick steak fry-like strips and then grilled or fried. It makes them seem fancier somehow.  Joe Doe did these fantastic fried bologna fries with mustard dip as a small plate during their happy hour over the winter. Not sure if he still does it, but if you should see it on the happy hour menu, make it a point to try it.

I know pizza napoletana is supposed to be personal size, but I find them pretty filling, so I usually share a pizza and an app. I was really excited to try out the Motorino pizza. I’d heard awesome things about it, so I pored over the menu, and finally selected the Pugliese pizza ($16): burrata (a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream), broccolini, sausage, fresh chilies, and garlic.

I wasn’t all that impressed. The pizza was fine, but not mind-blowing or even memorable, save for the broccolini, which I’ve never had as a pizza topping. They were stingy on the sausage, and the cheese and broccolini weren’t inherently salty, so the pizza was bland. I liked the crunch of the broccolini, but there could have been more garlic and chili – it wasn’t spicy at all, which is what I hope for when I order a pizza with fresh chili peppers. Also, the center of the pizza got quite soggy as the meal progressed, and by the time we got to the last slice, it was rather unappetizing.

I am willing to admit that perhaps my choice of pizza was unconventional, and perhaps it was not the best example of a blissfully delicious Motorino pizza. But with Keste, Pulino’s, and San Marzano (San Marzano has a great happy hour from 5-7 pm daily, too) so close to where I live and work, I doubt I’ll make the trek back to Brooklyn for their pizza. I am, however, intrigued by the idea of a brunch pizza served with an egg, though the one at Motorino looked mighty soggy as other patrons attempted to eat it. It was only $10, though. Or maybe I’ll just try the brunch pizza at Pulino’s instead. There is an East Village Motorino location now, and one of these days I’ll check out their margherita to set the bar.

Eat:
Motorino’s Brooklyn (Williamsburg) 319 Graham Avenue | Sunday-Thursday 11AM-12AM, Friday and Saturday 11AM-1AM | 718-599-8899
Motorino East Village (EVill) 349 East 12th Street | Sunday-Thursday 11AM-12AM | Friday and Saturday 11AM-1AM | 212-777-2644

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