East Village: It's been nearly two weeks since chef/owner Mathieu Palombino opened the first Manhattan branch of the popular Williamsburg pizza mecca Motorino. Not only does this mark the first expansion of the restaurant, but it also marks the closing of another well respected neighborhood fixture—Una Pizza Napoletana. Since then, waves of locals and food types alike have descended upon the place to determine how the much talked about oven is faring and whether the location is a worthy successor to an old favorite. So far, all signs point to yes. Though the service remains a concern for some, that could prove to be a minor kink that can be ironed out.
The Mixed News: A Yelper agrees that the pizza's are perfection, but finds things to be a little lacking in the service department: "The pizza is truly something to marvel at. The fresh ingredients, the savory crust and even the presentation all put Motorino in the running as one of my favorite pizza places in the city. My only quip is that the service here was lacking. Yes, they only opened a week ago, and yes, the place was packed so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. But the fact that our waiter was so inattentive and that the place itself isn't very large (mind you there were 3 waiters on staff for about 10 tables) was somewhat bothersome..." [Yelp]
The Great News: Slice gets in on some early word, friend and family action and pens a rave, telling Motorino fans not to worry: "A couple of serious eaters were lucky enough to be invited to dinner at Motorino Manhattan on Saturday, and anybody worried that Mathieu Palombino was not going to be a worthy successor to Anthony Mangieri can rest easy. The pizza was pretty damn good, light and crisp and lightly charred on the outside and tender and cooked though on the inside, even though Palombino said he is still getting acclimated to Mangieri's custom built-in-Italy oven. Serious pizza lovers, no worries. Mangieri's oven is in very good hands, and those very same hands are already producing excellent pizza." [Slice]
The "It's Way Better Than Keste" News: A 'Hounder sings praises for the new pie in town, while slamming the hammer down on everyone else in the nabe: "Went last night with my father...AMAZING. We do a lot of food things together and I have to say this was definitely the best pizza we've eaten in some time. We recently ate at Keste and left there utterly disappointed. Thanks Mathieu and Motorino for raising our spirits with your truly delicious pies. BRAVO...I live around the block and am much happier with Motorino in that space than I ever was with UPN. My apologies to Luzzo's, who I will more than likely make fewer and fewer appearances at....." [CH]
The Good News: Hidden Track writes a glowing review for their Friday 4 the Foodies segment: "The crust was just salty enough, perfectly crisped in the oven and moist to the bite. The combination of the brussel sprouts, smoked pancetta and the combination of Pecorino & Mozzarella di Bufala was a revelation with every bite. I have to say that the staff is very attentive, knowledgeable about the products they sell, able to offer great suggestions (without being pushy) and generally seem to enjoy working at Motorinio." [HT]
The Not as Good as Brooklyn News: A reader writes in to say it's good, but not as good as the original: "I'm happy for the Motorino team for their success but I'll be sticking to the Williamsburg location. The pizza at the new location is still delicious, but there was a bit more char on the crust than usual, perhaps a result of working with the new oven. I wasn't crazy about a tomato appetizer, but the octopus was excellent. Due to the size of the space, it will never be as open and inviting here as across the river." [Eater Inbox]
The Twitter Roundup News: The Twitterverse is abuzz, mostly with good things to say: @mariaLporcaro is still bitter about the late Una Pizza Napoletana, "suck it motorino, una pizza napoletanna can kick your ass any day," @thesassyfoodie isn't too sassy, but loves what she got, "Spicy sopressata & mozzarella di buffala pizza @motorino E. Village. Lovely charring, spicy & fresh tomato flavor!," and @maggiejane is quickly becoming a repeat customer, "Motorino EV again. Becoming a big fan. Smoky pancetta perfect on sprouts pie, Spicy sopressatta really high quality." [Twitter]