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Oct 28, 2008 11:11 AM

Motorino Pizza on Graham

Went to Motorino for a pie this afternoon. This is a new wood burning oven place on Graham a couple of blocks south of Metropolitan. Ordered 2 magherrita with water buffalo mozzarella. The sauce was nice with good tomatoes and the cheese excellent.. All the ingredients were top notch but the crust left me wanting. Very chewy without as much airiness on the inside or crust on the outside as I would like and not very much flavor. I think they both needed to cook a little longer and that might have been part of the issue (the owner was cooking fwiw). Since the place is only open a couple of weeks I think it is worth trying again. If you are always looking to have new and better pizza, it is worth trying for sure.

I feel it is on the expensive side. $14 each for the pies I ordered which was 12" maybe 13" round.

Looks like Slice is reporting it as excellent. So as with all things pizza, opinions vary. Here is a link for those who are interested.

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  1. The price doesn't seem out of line. Especially for a pizza with high quality ingredients and mozzarella di bufala. In Brookyn $14 would be in line with what Fornino and Marco Polo would charge for the same pie. Franny's bufala pie is around $16. And of course Una Pizza Napoletana in Manhattan is around $22.

    I think in the best of circumstances it takes time and constant care to get an artisanal wood oven pizza just right. Even then variables such as oven temperature (wood ovens often get too hot or cold) and the atmospheric conditions (requires adjustments to dough) make it very difficult to get a consistent product.

    If they are using part of the previous batch of dough rather than yeast it may take a bit of time before the dough gets a really nice and complex flavor.

    In any event a major key would be an owner who is making the pizza himself or at the very least takes a very keen interest in how it is being prepared. If this is the case at Motorino, as you have indicated it is, it bodes well for the place.

    I am looking forward to giving it a try soon.

    2 Replies
    1. re: boccalupo

      Based off a standard margherita, Motorino is a couple of dollars more than Fornino and they don't offer the 'value' priced larger pie size. EDIT - I looked at the DOC pie price and as you stated the two are right in line. So your point is well taken.

      Yes, I think you bring up some very good points. Especially today with it being soo rainy and cool out, that must make consistency more difficult. Motorino has a very promising future if it gets better as they get older. Watching, I could see the passion in the owners face as he worked, so I think getting better with experience is a safe bet.

      1. re: dhs

        Their pizzas are in the Pizza Fresca near soft crust strictish Neo style. I had the magherrita made with regular mozzarella at $10.00 and a tri color salad for $7.00. excellent salad, fresh crisp greens and reds, well chosen olive oil, the pleasure of the simple food. The pizza was great, to me better than Fresca and much better than Una or Otto. The crust a touch of crisp on the very bottom that dissolved as I ate. Thinking about it after on the walk home, the baked crust's flavor, the right salt balance and a sauce with enough zing to compliment the cheese seemed to be factors for happy success. At ten dollars for the regular pie the price seemed ok for what was delivered in size and quality.

    2. Maybe I am missing something. I went yesterday, and the 2 pies we shared reminded me of pita bread. No flavor. I had to put so much olive oil on the pizza and ask for the pepper mill to make my own concoction.

      One pizza was the one with brocolli rabe, sausge and some shees that also lacked flavor. That was o.k. compared to the one with proscuitto. The procuitto was very good, but that was the only thing on the pie. It probably was my fault because I did not read the menu completely, but I was expecting something like Otto serves. We were both hugely disappointed.

      Needless to say, I will not be back. Does anyone have other suggetions for an Otto-type place?

      3 Replies
      1. re: Angelina

        Do you mean grilled pizza like Otto makes? Or do you mean a wine bar/pizza type place like Otto? Any preference as to location? In Brooklyn?

        1. re: boccalupo

          ooppss...sorry! At this point, I will take both! ha ha! I love the pizza at Otto, so something similar. (I love any wine bar, as a matter of fact, I love ALL wine! !)

          Location can be Brooklyn.

          Thanks, boccalupo! :)

          1. re: Angelina

            Fiore is Williamsburg. Cute place, nice ambience. Food is pretty good, not spectacular. Full menu plus grilled pizzas.

            Bar Tano in South Park Slope is a cute place with nice wines. Again, nice atmosphere. Wine bar. Food is decent. They have pizzas and bruschetta but I have not tried the pizza.

      2. Went to Motorino for lunch again today. I had the regular Margarita pie this time. Basically the same impression, actually I think it was a little better. One side was not underdone, and had some nice char but more importantly had more of a crust on the outside which reinforced my thinking the first pie was underdone. Still not very flavorful dough though. I would say again that if you are into the pizza scene in nyc it is worth a visit. I think it is much better than the impression I have from reading Angelina's post. If they could bring the dough up a couple of notches, it really would be a pizza destination in my mind.

        1. Tried to go last night. There was a half hour wait at 9pm (tuesday). Is it really THAT good? I don't know, I didn't wait. I did notice a lamb shank on the specials chalk board though which was confusing to me. Anyone try anything besides the pizza or is the lamb ON the pizza?

          1. i really liked the pizza (we had the special artichoke pie), although a bit more crispiness would have been nice. that said, the dough had great flavor and was nicely salty without being overwhelming, while the smoked pancetta was delicious and generously portioned. i would have appreciated a bit more artichoke, though. i really liked our app, as well: thick triangles of oven-roasted mortadella. it was basically an italian take on fried bologna, and it was very, very tasty. sadly, our salad was not great. should have gone with the fig/gorgonzola one instead of the panzanella, which was really bland. we were trying to balance out the meat and cheese with something lighter, though! as for prices, it all seemed quite reasonable to me. i probably wouldn't go by myself, but 2 can eat nicely for under $20/person.