Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Motorino Chronicles, or How Vodka Is a Moron

Colatura di Alici Pizza -- Motorino

Motorino was not on our initial list for Best Thing I Ever Ate eating.  When Rachael Ray talked about it on the show's SLICED episode, she spoke of the Motorino in Brooklyn, a place we try never to go.  Upon further inspection, however, Vodka discovered that there is also a Motorino in Manhattan: a Motorino that Ginger had unknowingly already patronized.  She had also, by chance, eaten Rachael Ray's choice pizza, the colatura di alici, which Motorino serves as a special during the summer. 
We're Still Trying to Figure Out How to Pronounce "Colatura di Alici"
Incidentally, Ginger's foray to Motorino included a confrontational staff member who scolded Ginger and her three-person party for sitting (at the hostess's insistence) before their fourth member had arrived.  After berating both Ginger and the accommodating hostess, said waiter allowed Ginger's party to remain seated, seemingly only so he could give them the cold shoulder throughout their meal. 

Despite all of this hullabaloo, Ginger proclaimed the colatura di alici pizza a 5-star masterpiece, the perfect refreshing summery pizza.  Featuring a thin crust loaded with anchovies, cherry tomatoes, red onion, parsley, black olives, and fresh mozzarella, it overcomes the waiter's crankypants nature.  Based on Ginger's glowing recommendation of the food, if not the waitstaff, Vodka is eager to get her own fists on the pizza as soon as possible.

However, because Vodka is a moron, her efforts to taste a colatura di alici pizza went a bit awry.
Clearly, Motorino Has Cursed Us
Vodka decides to walk to Motorino while carrying her nudge of a dog in a bag.  This proves to be her first mistake, as not only is Motorino about as far from Vodka's apartment as one can get on the isle of Manhattan, but it's also the summer, and heat causes Vodka to turn into the Wicked Witch of the West Side.

Also, there's the whole business of the dog, who is not actually allowed in culinary institutions.  And since Vodka arrives at Motorino a half hour after their opening, the restaurant is completely empty, and a canine snout (albeit a small one) sniffing out of a tote bag could prove to be conspicuous.

For this reason, Vodka gets her pizza to-go.  Unfortunately, the efforts she has made walking to the other end of the earth in the summer sun have almost killed her and her little dog, too, and the prospect of hauling a bulky pizza box back to the subway seems like the least appealing idea ever.

And this is how Vodka managed to spend $40 in order to eat a slice of pizza.
Perhaps She Could Gain Employment as a Pizza Delivery Girl
Even without Vodka's taxi fare, the colatura di alici pizza itself costs $18, which is on the high end of the spectrum for a pizza with four slices.  Picking up her order, Vodka is at first confused by how light her pizza box feels, but not perplexed enough to open the thing until she gets home.

When she does, she finds an empty circle of cooked dough.
This is a Test of the Emergency Pizza Network... What Would YOU Do in This Situation?
Always one to jump to a complaint, Vodka is just about to get Motorino on the phone and demand a refund for their ineptitude when she decides to open the accompanying paper bag.  Inside, she finds a plastic container filled with the pizza toppings.  Apparently, this is a do-it-yourself pizza affair.
And Thanks to Bethenny Frankel, Vodka Now Knows How to Use Her Kitchen
Spreading the toppings onto the crust, Vodka still can't figure out how she's supposed to cook the thing, so she asks the only logical person: Ginger.

"I guess you must have to put it in the oven," Ginger surmises, seemingly unable to recall if the pizza is supposed to be eaten hot or cold.
Or How To, You Know, COOK A PIZZA
Still perplexed, Vodka calls Motorino and inquires.  "I just picked up a colatura di alici pizza from you, but how do I heat it?" she asks.

"How do you eat it?!"  The hostess is even more confused than Vodka.

"Well, that too.  But don't I have to cook it?"  You would think this thing would have come with directions.

"Oh no, you eat it raw.  It's like salad on top of pizza," the hostess informs her, so Vodka hangs up and takes a bite.

And pieces of tomato and mozzarella projectile across the room.

Let's just say the crust is a little tough.
Vodka Does Not Have a Future in Pizza Decorating
Trying again, Vodka manages to take a bite with the toppings intact, and she waits for the burst of glory that Ginger had guaranteed.  The toppings are indeed very fresh: the tomatoes are juicy, the olives tart, and the anchovies salty.  The mozzarella is texturally perfect, cut into vividly white cubes, and all of the toppings are coated by a very light hint of anchovy sauce.  The crust, however, is another story.
For One Thing, It Seems to be Missing Pieces
There is a lot of crust, as the provided toppings only cover the inner circumference of the pie, leaving about two inches to spare on the border.  According to pictures of other Motorino pies, this is their normal proportion, but the crust, in Vodka's mind, is not tasty enough to warrant this much attention.
Spread Yourselves Out, Toppings
In fact, the crust is so chewy that it almost ruins the pizza experience by being a slingshot against the toppings, and by the second slice, Vodka is eating the toppings off of the crust itself.
Should've Just Left This Bowl As-Is
The dough looks like it should be light and airy, but it is instead crispy and stiff.  It is naan-like in looks but baguette-like in bite, and while people like Ginger obviously adore this style, it is not Vodka's thing.

Ginger maintains that Vodka's Motorino's pizza must have suffered from its crosstown journey and swears that it is still one of the best things she has ever eaten, but Vodka refuses to give it any more than 3 stars.  As a compromise, we have settled on a 4-star rating.  If our experiences teach you anything, it should be to dine in at Motorino, assuming Ginger's gem of a waiter has since sought other employment.
Where's MY Slice?
Motorino's Colatura di Alici Pizza: 4 stars

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