Sam Sifton files his first starred pizzeria review, giving Williamsburg and East Village pizza spot Motorino one star while noting they serve "the city’s best pizza":
Motorino pies are great hot out of the oven, 5 minutes later, 10. You can order too much, watch a pie go cool on the plate, eat it anyway and discover: terrific.
You can order pizzas to take out, drive them across the boroughs in freezing conditions, get home and reheat the pies: still terrific. Even a slice in the morning, fridge-cooled mozzarella over tangy red sauce, exhibits the pliancy and flavor of bread, not cardboard.
Sifton makes mention of some standout appetizers, but he falls hard for Motorino's best invention, the brussels sprouts pie: "a winter-special pie of brussels sprouts and smoked pancetta, dressed with mozzarella, garlic and pecorino, is like something from a magic act, a dog speaking BBC English. It is great and unsettling, far better than imagination would dictate." [NYT]
Strangely, Alan Richman files his second review of Danny Meyer's Maialino. So nice he wrote it up twice: "Chef Nick Anderer, a veteran of Babbo, isn’t serving Batali-style food. His is less exuberant, closer to authentic Italian. Everything he prepares is under control, with not a single dish disappointing." [GQ]
Sifton also files a brief on the 40-year-old and still packed Soho veteran Raoul's: "It’s Paris in New York, Berlin’s Paris Bar in SoHo, a taste of the Manhattan found in Sondheim lyrics. Raoul’s is the place people are looking for when they walk off the campus at State for the last time and make the move east. Steak frites and a vin rouge can — just like that — become the taste of home." [NYT]
Plattypants files on two new museum restaurants this week, The Wright in the Guggenheim (one star) and Robert in the Museum for Art & Design (goose egg). On the former: "I liked the striped bass (nicely crisped on top and served in a delicate paprika sauce), but the suckling pig...was as hard as rubber..." And the latter: "I didn’t detect any artsy references in the generic, generally uninspired food at Robert, or even in the room..." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Pete Wells finds the cooking pure but the menu maddening at Roman's in Fort Greene, with the exception of a couple of dishes, Gael Greene loves what's going on at Faustina, Ryan Sutton writes that The Wright and Robert don't live up to the museums that house them, Sarah DiGregorio thinks something is a little off in West Village newcomer Recette, The Financial Times catches Sho Shaun Hergatt fever, The Brooklyn Paper is wowed by week-old Williamsburg Japanese spot 1 or 8, Robert Sietsema finds some huge disappointments and some pleasant surprises at Ethiopian newcomer Red Sea 47, and Jay Cheshes chronicles the decline of 20 year-old Lebanese stalwart Al Bustan.
THE BLOGS: Slice gives its seal of approval to Ovest the Chelsea location of Luzzo's, The Pink Pig discovers that the once great chef Christian Delouvrier is turning out clunkers at La Mangeoire, The Young and Hungry deem Hill Country surprisingly awesome, Immaculate Infatuation finds a lot to like at Hell's Kitchen cheese bar Casellula, the Hungry Roach is trying to figure out what the catch is at seemingly perfect neighborhood spot Jo's in Nolita, and Ed Levine gives an A- to Torrisi Italian Specialties on Mulberry Street.