We’ll gladly go almost anywhere for a good meal; from transportation-deprived neighborhoods like Vinegar Hill and Red Hook, to an unmarked bar basement and the roof of Urban Outfitters, if the food is good, we will go. That being said, we never imagined we’d be dining directly under the BQE, after hastily criss-crossing a menacing, car-riddled intersection, sparsely surrounded by neon-lit gas stations and odiferous auto body shops.
Obviously, the unlikely location has done little to deter visitors to the full-scale Pizza Moto, who, even during the earlier hours of service, eagerly commandeer window seats, banquettes, communal tables and bar stools, commiserating over bottles of Natalino del Prete Primativo, and stainless steel pedestals of pies. They’re undoubtedly already acquainted with the scrappy Smorgasburg vets, who spent the last eight years operating out of wood-fired, mobile ovens. And to be sure, having a stationary, turn-of-the-century burner proves largely a benefit to Pizza Moto, allowing them to speedily churn out consistent, pliable, and evenly charred Neapolitan-style pies, that ably support their carefully considered toppings. Think: bacon fat and rosemary, winter greens pesto and olives, and potato, parsley, and clams.
That said, the primary point of Pizza Moto’s static, well-appointed space is to stretch their wings a bit, resulting in a collection of “Fork & Knife” offerings, now that customers don’t have to walk and talk with their meals. There’s a curious meatball tartare on toast, which infuses slow-stewed, Italian-American flavors into a squashy wad of raw meat; a bouquet of deep-fried, buttermilk-marinated broccoli, planted on an eddy of yuzu kosho curd; and a coil of guinzaglio—essentially one long, wide noodle glommed with beef shank ragu and bone marrow, revitalized with scallions and lush, raw leaves of celery. There’s also a non-pizza “From the Oven” section; comprising roasted beet mole needled with tarragon, crispy chicken agrodolce peppered with peanuts, and a fat-rimmed disc of porchetta, rolled around ribbons of salty nori and a savory paste of smoked oysters, it’s not to be missed. It’s impudently original, brazenly funky, and a dish worth darting under the BQE for.
338 Hamilton Avenue, Carroll Gardens/Red Hook (ish)