Restaurant of the Week: Motorino

Alia Akkam

With Baci & Abbracci, Fiore and Fornino clamoring for the attention of pizza-craving Williamsburg residents, it's ambitious of Mathieu Palombino to attempt the same with Motorino. Far from the Bedford Avenue and Grand Street glitz, Motorino already has an edge: approval from the Neapolitan old-timers who call this off-the-beaten path home. Graham Avenue is one of the neighborhood's last bastions of Italian authenticity. Palombino, a disciple of cooking god Laurent Tourondel (of BLT), was reared in Belgium by a Southern Italian father and has always had a soft spot for pizza. Now he's giving it the same care as if he were in the BLT Fish kitchen. A mix of casual, jean-wearing couples as well as the aforementioned old-school locals, share plates of Berkshire pig coppa ($10) from the La Quercia farm in Iowa, and panzanella bread salad ($9) with tomatoes and capers while watching pizza dough rhythmically get slapped before meeting its fate in the wood-burning oven. The result is thick, spongy dough, surprisingly airy, with just a slight, appealing edge of char. The soppressata piccante pizza ($14), with homemade fior de latte and a generous drizzling of chili oil, offers hot bliss, while the classic margherita DOC ($11) with buffalo mozzarella, satisfies purists. Motorino is classic Brooklyn minimalist, with stark white walls, one of the borough's loveliest pressed tin ceilings, and snazzy red lamps that match the open kitchen's old-fashioned meat slicer. An inviting bowl of chili peppers sits on the counter. The bar area, with its green and white stripes and stools, adds a nostalgic soda shop element, perfect for sipping a well-made espresso and enjoying spoonfuls of homemade gelato.

319 Graham Ave., Williamsburg
(718) 599-8899

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