Motorino | 349 E 12th St. (bet. 2nd & 1st Aves.) | 212.777.2644 |

I'VE DECIDED TO draw the line. Actually, I drew the line a few months ago. I've given up not just labeling a food dish as "the best", but I've also stopped heeding similar declarations from others.

I've decided that, in New York City especially, where every type and style of food has been endlessly reinterpreted, reinvented and rediscovered, there can be no "best" of anything. No "best" fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, burger, cookie. And there definitely can't be a "best" pizza.

To me, that's like saying there is a "best" TV show, music composer, or season even. The word "best" implies an objectivity to something that is enjoyed—hopefully—by individual people with differently preferential palates.

So I've instead taken to "favorite" which implies and imparts the proper subjectivity as well as offering me the defense of recommending something to someone without being responsible for them not liking it (although I'll gladly take full credit if they do!).

And so it was this frame of mind that I approached upon Motorino today, an East Village pizzeria, offering the "new style"—or artisinal—pie (actually, it's more "old school", since this is how they were making pizzas back in Naples before Italians immigrated to the U.S., or New York City), with a softer, thinner crust, fresher and more varied ingredients, and lots of recent hype.

Many of the newer pizza joints most pedestrian eaters have been hearing about include Pulino's, Kesté, Veloce, Luzzo, No. 28, to name a few. Motorino, among them has been enjoying some of the most public affection, with TV host Rachel Ray and new New York Times food critic Sam Sifton both touting Motorino's pies as "New York City's best". Most recently, they won BEST NEW PIZZERIA in TimeOut NY Eat Out Awards 2010.

Add to that the pizza love from TimeOut NY (Best new artisanal pizza) and, again, the New York Times, and I wouldn't be doing my job as a foodie with a photo blog (and not a food blogger with a camera).

I quick 4 and L train trip to 14th and 1st, I was walking into Motorino for the $12 pie and dessert lunch special (!), getting scenic table by the front window, and settling in comfortably into its intimate, cozy vibe (must be a madhouse though at night when they're busy) and even a sign reminding me that I was probably reminded to come here from any number of sources.

I appreciated the sign saying BEST NEW PIZZERIA; I hoped it informed people that being the "best" new pizzeria doesn't at all make you the best, just the best of the last 12 months!

So, there signature pie is comes with Brussel sprouts, pancetta, and pecorino, and only moments after I ordered it, did this initially stunning visual of a pie arrive hot to my table top.

All of the artisanal elements were happily accounted for; the thin crust was dutifully capable of holding a fold, yet pliable enough to be playful but not chewy. The pecorino cheese, having a more mature taste and aroma, supplied nostalgic charm. The pancetta in chopped strips—half tender lean, half tender fat—layering the top of my tongue with porky goodness, salt, and the rest of my mouth with rendered juices. Mr. Sifton (a high school classmate, I love to mention), had referred to this particular pie as "a miracle", and he wasn't far off. Truly, the Brussel sprouts are purposefully on this pie, not as a parlor trick or gimmick, but to surprise you with the extra punch of flavor that is its charred leaves, all at once herbal, woodsy, and—maybe because of the sugars in the leaves—sweeter and less bitter than its always yummy un-charred parts.

On MenuPages, they list the dessert option as soft serve ice cream; this afternoon it was tiramisu. Knowing it came with the lunch special, I smartly saved the last half of my pie to save room for this properly not too sweet, airily-layered column.

It was easy for me to make quick work of this, and as I left—having left a 50% tip and still getting out for less than twenty bucks—I pulled my iPod from my jacket and started going through my different playlist, lucky that I had accumulated enough of my favorite albums to be able to enjoy any variety/order of all the songs I've come to really, really like. I couldn't imagine, much less have, my iPod if it only had one song on it....

Bun Apple Tea!


Motorino on Urbanspoon

Motorino | 349 E 12th St. (bet. 2nd & 1st Aves.) | 212.777.2644 |