In Ryan Sutton’s new piece about pizza on Bloomberg.com, he raves about Motorino’s new East Village location, but he didn’t have any accolades left for Lucali, Di Fara, and Grimaldi’s which he repeatedly trashes. Since I haven’t been to the new EV Motorino yet, I won’t comment on it in detail, but as someone who lives around the corner from the location, I can say without hesitation that I’d much rather trek out to Brooklyn for a large $25 cheese pie from Di Fara than spend $14 (plus tax, plus tip) for a personal pie at Motorino, no matter how good it tastes.
Sutton says that pizza, “isn’t about crossing town. It’s about crossing the street.” I wonder what he’d think about the Slice.com meetup in Hopewell, NJ last weekend? For me, part of the whole experience there (or any trip to Brooklyn pizza places) is the trek out there. What better way to pregame a pie than with a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge? Part of the whole Di Fara experience is watching Dom DeMarco make each individual pie as you start to salivate at his craft. For me pizza is about crossing the street. But it’s also about crossing town, state and city lines. Whatever you have to do to satisfy that pizza craving.
Other poor points Sutton makes:
(1) Motorino serves actual appetizers. That’s great, but nobody goes there for that. Co has amazing appetizers. It’s a great start to the meal, but other than that, a pizza review should focus on what’s important — the pies!
(2) There a great wine list at Motorino (can anyone else name a pizzeria with a master sommelier?). I sure can’t. But if you’re spending $60 on a bottle of wine, don’t throw a stink that pies at Di Fara are $25. Both Di Fara (off the record?) and Lucali are BYOB, so you can get a much better overall value at either place than if you’re dropping a wad of cash on some nice vino at Motornio.
(3) Di Fara isn’t worth the wait. Sutton’s entire review of Di Fara is: The cashier quoted me a two-hour wait for a $5 slice. A bunch of guys outside were smoking cigarettes and complaining about the place. They recommended Lucali. It appears that he never even waited to try the pizza. And anyone who lives in New York knows that wait times can vary. Obviously if you go on a Saturday night at 7PM it’s going to be a madhouse. Go to Di Fara during a time when you can avoid the lines. I’ve never waited two hours for a pie at Di Fara and I’d say the average wait there is about 1 hour when I’ve been. I’m sure the wait time at Motorino is comparable.
(4) Lucali and Motorino are date places. True. But Sutton leaves Grimaldi’s off this list and he even dares to compare it to Pizza 33, a slice joint with a couple of locations in Manhattan. Not only is the pizza far superior at Grimaldi’s, but I’ve been on some of the best dates of my life there. Romantic walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, a stroll down to the pizza place for a very affordable pie, and perhaps a little hand holding down by the promenade afterward. I’m sure Lucali and Motorino are great ways to impress a special lady friend, but leaving Grimaldi’s off the list incomprehensible.
I know that the Motornio is great and I look forward to trying it soon. But to trash three of the most iconic pizza place in New York City to give props to the “new kid on the block” just doesn’t make sense. I’m sure those who have been to Lucali, Grimaldi’s and Di Fara know how great all three places are. But to anyone who hasn’t been out to Brooklyn for pizza, I encourage you to do so… ASAP!