This review of a New York restaurant is a break from The Picky Glutton’s usual London-based coverage.
Of all the cuisines available in New York, pizza must seem like the most unimaginative one to try out. The Big Apple’s pizzas are reputed to especially good though and I happened to pass by Motorino in the East Village, allegedly one of the city’s best pizza places. Plus I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try out a brussel sprouts pizza.
The East Village branch of Motorino is located on a quiet side street. The place isn’t extravagantly decorated, but is attractive enough with its tiles and unusually patterned metal ceiling which could be missed entirely unless you happen to glance upwards as I did.
I started off with the beetroot, ricotta, white anchovy, boiled egg and black olive salad which sounded intriguing but turned out to be crushingly dull. Motorino somehow managed to run out of eggs on my weekday lunchtime visit, so I had to settle for more anchovies. Sadly the little fishies were lacking in flavour. More intensely flavoured anchovies would’ve helped liven up the boring cubes of beetroot and the characterless chunks of ricotta and pitted black olives. Disappointing.
Of course, I should’ve known better than to order salad at a pizza parlour, especially given the large size of my brussel sprouts and smoked pancetta pizza. I’m not usually a fan of brussel sprouts and they may seem like an odd choice for a pizza topping, but here they worked surprisingly well. The firm, bitter green leaves provided a nice contrast in taste and texture to the slightly smoky, salty pancetta and the creamy, slighty chewy pecorino cheese which also had a subtle pepperiness to it. Sadly, the base and crust, while by no means bad, were comparatively tough compared to the incredibly soft and fluffy dough found at Franco Manca in London. Still, the brussel sprouts pizza proved to be an interesting mixture of flavours and textures.
Not the best pizza I’ve ever had, but not far off either. Dodge the salads, but otherwise worth a visit.
Name: Motorino (East Village branch)
Address: 349 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10003
Phone: 212 777 2644
Opening Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 11.00-midnight; Friday-Saturday, 11.00-01.00
Reservations: probably a good idea.
Total cost for one person including soft drink: $25 approx. (approx. £16 at time of writing)