The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Motorino, Soft Serve, and Cake

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.

Thank you, bright iPhone display, for granting us light.

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.

brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts.

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.

the one with the lil tomatoes on it

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.

sundae with hot fudge and crispy chocolate cookie bits

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.

strawberry shortcake
Strawberry shortcake.

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.

A Bunch of Tasty Bites, And Some Liquids
Una Pizza Napoletana Is Kind Of Worth It


349 E 12th Street, New York, NY 10003 (map)

Dessert Club Chikalicious
204 E 10th Street, New York, NY 10003 (map)
212- 475-0929


FN / November 12, 2009 2:13 PM

I've had Motorino on my list for quite some time. I'm finally back in NY next week - which location do you recommend? The W-Burg one?

roboppy / November 12, 2009 2:18 PM

Kim: I don't know if it's necessary, but I like pools of fat...hehe. :)


FN: I liked the EV one a little more than the Brooklyn one, but I'd say just pick the one that's more convenient for you. (EV is also more convenient for me.)

Edd / November 12, 2009 5:17 PM

Pizza, Soft Serve and Cake err yes please!! I would skip the sprout pizza even the smell makes me want to gag, but the sopressata looks and sounds amazing

Danny / November 13, 2009 11:14 AM

ooooh motorino, yum. Did you ever see Tina's post about their lunch special? That is such a good deal.. man I need to work within a walking distance to the east village. And that iphone display picture is awesome. Gotta love technology!

James / November 13, 2009 1:44 PM

Oh Motorino, how I love your charred, bubbly, crusty ways. My roommate and his girl brought a couple of pies home one night on my suggestion and for some reason left all of the crusts in the pizza box. Epic pizza consumption fail on them, but FREE SECOND DINNER WIN for me.

Can't wait to try the filleti! Is that only available at the UPN location, or is it also on the menu at Graham?

donuts4dinner / November 13, 2009 6:05 PM

I wrote a Motorino review recently in which I guessed that I was the first person ever to give it less than stellar marks. I thought for one second that you were going to join me, but alas!

roboppy / November 13, 2009 6:29 PM

Edd: Nooo brussels sprouts are so good! They don't always smell funny, do they? ;_;

Danny: I'd love to try the lunch special but it's not really close enough for lunch. Doh. The pizza Ed brought back to the office was the lunch one though and it was sort of huge AND TASTY.

Kelly and James: I don't know if the Brooklyn one serves the should ask before you go! But even if they don't have it, the other stuff is good. :)

Also OH MAN leaving the crusts behind, sadness.

donuts4dinner: Other people aren't that into the pizza, but maybe the East Village one is better than the Brooklyn one. Or maybe my taste buds are tuned to that kind of pizza. Or I'm overly influenced by my coworkers! (They all seem to like it, haha.)

ItalianTapas / November 15, 2009 10:37 PM

After checking out the menu they seem to have a nice Italian cheese selection, as well as some eclectic Italian wines. I will visit this place filled with Greed and Lust for pizza. Ciao!

roboppy / November 17, 2009 1:39 AM

Michelle: The soft serve is my fave thing there. Not that I dislike the cakes...perhaps I just really like soft serve.

ItalianTapas: I didn't notice the cheese or wine...oops! I just go straight for pizza. ;_;

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