Fig & arugula pizza at Fornino
Given the task of writing about the food scene in New York is daunting. There are thousands of topics to cover, with another trend, restaurant or celebrity chef popping up each day.
But we all know there is only one place to start. The iconic, inimitable, the food of the people: New York City Pizza.
When thinking of NYC pizza, what comes to mind? Lombardi’s? Grimaldi’s? These are your dad’s pizza places. Especially if your dad is named Sal. The new generation of pizza is your pizza, and your pizza has locally-sourced ingredients, interesting toppings, vegan options and a whole lot more.
Three of the new generation pizza joints doing it right are Fornino, Motorino and Paulie Gee’s. While these places have been around a few years, this summer brought the re-opening of Motorino in Williamsburg, the opening of Fornino’s third location in Greenpoint, and curiously enough, Paulie Gee’s second location opening in Baltimore, Maryland.
Here is a quick overview of these three restaurant to keep in mind the next time you are in the mood for much more than a slice of pizza. All three serve personal sized pies, good for one to two people.
Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Brooklyn Bridge Park
Pies $8 – $50
While Fornino is definitely a new-generation pizzeria, the menu here gives praise to pizza’s humble beginnings. Here, you have the option of an OG Margherita Classica or a 4 Formaggi, along with new-generation pizzas like the suspiciously named Al Roker. This joint has the most expansive menu, so it may be the best bet for the pickier pizza eaters. The decadent $50 pizza, in case you were wondering, is topped with Black Winter Truffles.
Favorite Pizza: Special fig, proscuitto, arugula, gorgonzola
Non-Pizza Notable: Roasted clam and fennel sausage
Williamsburg, East Village, Hong Kong
Pies $10 – $18
A critic favorite, Motorino keeps us guessing with toppings like Brussels sprouts and cherrystone clams. The menu here is a fraction of the size of Fornino’s, so you’ll just find a few pizzas done exceptionally well. The Williamsburg location is bigger and a bit roomier, while at the East Village location you’ll have an up close look at your neighbor’s dishes, leading to either regret or confirmation of your pizza choice. The waits here can get pretty long, so arrive before eight to avoid the crowds.
Favorite Pizza: Brussels sprouts fior di latte, garlic, pecorino, smoked pancetta, EVOO
Non-Pizza Notable: Octopus salad, and a tastes-like-your-momma-made-it tiramisu
Greenpoint, Baltimore MD
Pies $12- $18
This place is well worth the trip, especially if you’re vegan or vegetarian. The ingredients are locally sourced when available, and the wooded, window-less interior gives an earthy feeling that is as transporting as the food. The vegan pizzas are topped with ingredients like house-made vegan sausage and cashew ricotta dollops, sure to satisfy all of your non-carnal urges. Check the web site before you go for the Secret Menu.
Favorite Pizza: Hell Boy fresh mozz, tomatoes, Berkshire sopressata piccante, parm, Mike’s Hot Honey
Non-Pizza Notables: A respectable local beer list and Van Leeuwen ice cream, both vegan and non-vegan
While the best pizza in the city is something that could be eternally debated, these are three strong contenders in the new generation game. Why isn’t Roberta’s on here, might you ask? Because when Bill Clinton, the King of Cool, visits your restaurant, you don’t need any further shout-outs. You’re good.