Grub Street takes Mario Batali and Mark Ladner, his partner in Del Posto and Otto, on a tour of the city’s fancy new(ish) pizzerias: Co. (230 Ninth Avenue), Spunto (65 Carmine Street), Motorino (319 Graham Avenue, Brooklyn), and San Marzano (71 Clinton Street). Jimmy Fallon also comes along, lest Batali not have a random celeb in on it. Motorino comes out on top with big Mario praising “the balance of the lightness of the dough and the proper quantity of the condiments” and calling it “one of the top five [pizzas] in New York City.” Co. ranks second. Batali says “the toppings are phenomenal” but with “so much raw stuff on it the crust gets soggy. It totally compromises the integrity of the dough itself.”
While I haven’t had the chance to try San Marzano and Spunto yet, I’d definitely rank Motorino above Co. Sure, Co.’s got a great crust, but the toppings are inconsistent, the sauce fresh but lacking in zest, and they can be quite skimpy with the basil. Motorino strikes a great balance of good crust and good topping in both their simple and more elaborate pies. Their simply divine Buffaline pie is topped with a perfect balance of quality buffalo mozzarella, olive oil, sea salt, and raw basil. Motorino also scores extra points for its cozy, mellow Williamsburg location, which makes eating pizza fun not high maintenance, and often has a Shazam-worthy retro soundtrack.