It's been almost two years since the Williamsburg outpost of Neopolitan pizza mecca Motorino was forced to close due to structural problems with the building. At the time, Chef Mathieu Palombino vowed to reopen, and though he's been busy with other projects, he's made good on his word. The pizza joint has relocated to a different section of Williamsburg and will officially reopen tomorrow evening on a section of Broadway between Driggs and Bedford.
The new space shares the same casual yet refined feeling as its predecessor and bears the hallmarks of the neighborhood: exposed brick, reclaimed hard pine floors, a pressed tin ceiling, and industrial-looking light fixtures. The focal point of the open kitchen at the rear is the Neopolitan pizza oven, decorated in sleek tiles that spell out the restaurant's name. A small bar offers seating for eight and there are lots of granite-topped tables, too, but if this outing is anything like before, expect a bit of wait during prime dining hours. Luckily, a small pedestrian plaza out front offers a place to hang out during the gentler seasons.
On the menu are a few special, Brooklyn-specific pies, including the Melanzane with fior di latte, roasted eggplant, tomato sauce, mint and pecorino and a Portobella Mushroom option. Returning from the first Brooklyn incarnation is the standout Pugliese topped with straciatella, broccolini, spicy sausage, garlic, chili flakes and pecornio.
Besides the pizza, an olive oil-fried macaroni cake called a Frittatina with provolone and prosciutto and a Farro Salad with roasted vegetables make for good appetizers. Roasted porchetta comes baked inside a crunchy, charred Calzone with pecorino and drizzled with lots of fruity extra virgin olive oil. Regional Italian wines, house-made cocktails and a selection of local and Italian wines comprise the drink list.
139 Broadway // 718-599-8899 // Open Sunday - Thursday from 11:30 a.m. - 12 a.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. - 1 a.m.