RECOMMENDED: Complete New York pizza guide
319 Graham Ave between Ainslie and Devoe Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-599-8899)
Pie-maker Mathieu Palombino is a born-and-bred Belgian, yet his pizza pantry hits every Neapolitan note. His imported flour is of the doppio zero variety, while the tomatoes he uses are San Marzano, canned at the peak of ripeness. His cheese of choice is either tangy buffalo mozzarella or fior di latte, which is house-made at Motorino each morning. Then there’s the oven, a bell-shaped, ceramic-floored colossus that’s fed a combination of cherry, oak, birch and hickory woods and fired up to 900 degrees—each pie requires about one minute inside.
That fancy flour produces a bubbly crust so swollen that it risks engulfing the toppings. But the sauce more than holds its own: The DOP tomatoes come across bright and tart, an ideal foil to the dose of grassy olive oil and hit of musty pecorino that anoints each pie just before it’s served. Stick to one of the Margheritas to get the most out of the tangy buffalo mozzarella or the milder fior di latte. Motorino strays from the classics with seasonally inspired pies, including a version topped with brussels sprouts and speck—a tasty option, but you’ll have trouble detecting the formaggio’s subtle charms.
This Soho restaurant serves modern Japanese fare with a touch of French influence. The minimalist menu offers diners a few different options: They could either go for the omakase ($125), the prix-fixe menu ($55) or order a la carte. On a recent visit, the prix-fixe meal included seasonal sashimi, mackerel with truffle oil and Dijon mayonnaise, miso egg drop soup and several other dishes. If you’d prefer to pick out each dish yourself, you might be tempted by the wagyu beef with bell pepper jam ($39), uni with soy reduction and wasabi ($18) or the fluke with mountain yam ($13). To drink, order a bottle of sake ($31–58)—what else? The drink menu includes both beer and wine, as well.
Venue says: “Modern Asian eatery reside in downtown Soho. Prix Fix $55 per person for 7 courses”