I've eaten at Motorino twice in Brooklyn, once in the East Village, and once at work by way of my boss tucking a few pizza boxes under his arm and biking them back to our office in Chelsea. And for some reason, the tepid flaps of Margherita I ate in the office ended up being the most impressionable Motorino pizza-eating experience of the four. I didn't attempt to reheat the pizza to its formerly melty-cheese-on-top-of-a-crispy-crust glory; I was impatient, and if my stomach could talk, it would've yelled something like, "HOOO MAN, THERE'S PIZZA [gurgle] EAT IT NOW [gurgleflorp] MRAARAHARH [gurg]."
So I did. And what I mostly remember is the fat, poofy rim of charred dough with a tinge of smokiness and plenty of chew. Oh man—I love you, gluten.
I ate at Motorino in the East Village (where it has taken over the former Una Pizza Napoletana space) for the first time last Monday with Kathy and Ray. I thought it was better than the pizzas I've had from their Brooklyn location, although their crust was looking quite poofy on my last visit in May (a big improvement over my first visit last year). And that's what it's about—CRUST! And. Um. Toppings. Like the spicy sopressata (with chili, garlic, and oregano) pie above.
The brussel sprout pie features the awesome combination of charred brussels sprouts leaves and smokey pancetta bits bound by a layer of creamy buffalo mozzarella.
My favorite combination is the filetti, topped simply with mozzarella, halved cherry tomatoes, and thyme. It's a holdover from the Una Pizza Napoletana menu, and while not as good as UPN's version, it's still tasty, and for $5 less than before.
Similar to UPN's pizza, the outer crust (aka cornichone) of the pies is pooftastic and chewy, while the rest of the crust is quite thin and easily sodden by the toppings. Although I'd prefer non-floppy slices, the structural fail didn't bother me that much.
Since Motorino's soft serve machine had pooped out for the night, Kathy and I grabbed dessert at Dessert Club Chikalicious. I usually go for the espresso ice shot purely for the crunchy chocolate pearls, not so much for the espresso, but I realized I could avoid the espresso by getting the hot fudge sundae with the toppings I didn't really want on the side. (It would cost more to order the soft serve and chocolate pearls à la carte—$5.20 instead of the $4.95 for the sundae. Hello, confusing pricing structure.) We ended up with vanilla bean soft serve topped with hot fudge and chocolate pearls, requesting the included kataifi and toasted pistachios on the side since I'm sort of meh about them. Their vanilla bean soft serve is awesome, and you can't go wrong with creamy, crunchy, and chocolate in every bite.
We also shared a dainty slice of light Japanese-style strawberry shortcake, a balanced combination of soft sponge cake sandwiching layers of cream and sliced strawberries. Strawberry shortcake is one of those desserts I don't love or dislike—I mean, there's no reason to not like combination of cake, cream, and strawberries, aka "three things that are awesome"—it's just something I'd never crave. But I'll happily eat it if it's in front of me, and I'd recommend this version to people who do like it.