"Under the BQE" might not sound like the most appealing dining destination but that's where Smorgasburg vets Pizza Moto have landed for their first free-standing brick-and-mortar pie shop. After leaving Berg'n, where they operated a stall since the venue's opening last summer, co-owners Dave Sclarow and Anna Viertel are bringing their talents to the Red Hook border, slinging thin crust Neapolitan pies that began roaring out of the over 700-degree oven last week. A years-long search brought the duo to their Hamilton Avenue digs after discovering a long disused "turn of the century coal oven hidden behind a wall in a dark storefront" that began as a bakery in the mid-1800s.
While their mobile pizza oven gave visitors a peek at the pizza-making process, the team has doubled down for their restaurant, creating a chef's table that's practically inside the kitchen. From the six seat table, watch Sclarow and sous chef Joe Bliffen create pizzas layer-by-layer, from roasting mushrooms to finishing pies with a drizzle of olive oil. There's a nod to New Haven with the decadent Clams pie ($16) with cream, roasted garlic, bacon, potato, parsley and fresh mozzarella; a tart and spicy pie is on tap for another featuring green tomato salsa, jalapenos, fontina and fresh mozzarella ($14).
With significantly more kitchen and prep room comes an expanded menu of "fork & knife" dishes (salads and appetizer-type things) and a selection of entrees "from the oven." Ceasar Salad ($10) gets its fishy bent with smoked trout and an anchovy dressing, and like all good pizzerias, they're offering something meatball-esque—though here it's a tartare served with toast. There's also booze, of course, like cocktails ($12); the Mr. Bungadee's Choice sounds like a good option for the inevitable overeating, as it combines bourbon and calvados with stomach-soothing ginger syrup and candied ginger.
338 Hamilton Avenue, website