"If Ortine’s breakfast pizza is a demure young maiden, Motorino’s breakfast pizza is her wild, in-your-face, no-holds-barred party animal of a friend."
Pizza is a good thing. Breakfast is a good thing. Even cold pizza for breakfast can be a good thing. It therefore stands to reason that gooey, fresh, oven-hot pizza for breakfast should be a very good thing. So we checked out two Brooklyn joints with very similar breakfast pizza concepts—but very different tastes and results.
But I was here for the breakfast pizza. Visually speaking, it’s a beauty, its thin crust blanketed in goat cheese and parmesan with a generous handful of chopped pancetta, a sprinkle of herbs, and two hard-cooked eggs looking up. The flavors worked beautifully together: juicy, not-too-lean pancetta with every bite of egg; the hint of rosemary; the tang of parmesan against the creamy, melted, goat cheese.
That said, I wished the eggs hadn’t been quite so set. Even a bit of runny yolk would have added another gooey, breakfasty dimension.
But it wasn’t a crust worth eating on its own; the ends remained on the plate. By the time it appeared, I’d expected as much.
The first sign of a dried-out pizza is often the wait, and our pizza took around thirty minutes to arrive, despite a nearly empty dining room. And though I didn’t mind terribly, with morning light coming through the window and a mason jar mug of English Breakfast tea on the table, it’s never a good sign when a pizza takes its time.
As a friendly, comfy breakfast room, Ortine wins major points. Especially with free WiFi. And reeling back my pizza snobbery, I very much enjoyed the meal I had (though I’m not sure I $12-enjoyed it). As a creamy, cheesy, hammy breakfast, I would definitely endorse Ortine’s breakfast pizza. Just, perhaps, not the “pizza” part.
I’m a huge fan of Motorino. Wood-burning oven, chewy crust, reasonable prices, and toppings that walk the right line of traditional, seasonal, and unusual—my only complaint is that it’s not nearer my apartment. I guess that’s why God invented the L train.
So I had high hopes for Motorino’s Pizza Al’Uovo, a mainstay of their weekend brunch menu. And I wasn’t let down. Layered with fior di latte mozzarella, three fried eggs, pancetta, basil, and a quick grating of pecorino romano, it’s not dramatically different in composition from Ortine’s version—but the results couldn’t be farther apart.
If Ortine’s breakfast pizza is a demure young maiden, Motorino’s breakfast pizza is her wild, in-your-face, no-holds-barred party animal of a friend. This pizza explodes with flavor. The pancetta is smoky, sweet, and gloriously fatty, tiny cubes of bacon fat sprinkled right in with the bits of pink meat. The oil-crisped basil, sweet in itself, adds an unexpected bit of crunch and texture. The melted fior di latte is characteristically mild, a subtle, creamy counter to the sharp pecorino. And three quick-fried eggs, once punctured, ooze deep yellow yolk all over the pizza. A lavish splash of extra-virgin only adds to the fun.
Those who daintily dab the grease off their slices should stay away: this pizza delivers a beautiful pool of gooey cheese, runny yolk, pancetta drippings, and fruity olive oil. All cradled by Motorino’s tender, puffy-edged crust, emerging from the wood-burning oven in just four minutes and thirty-six seconds. (The beauty of having the oven in the open: you can time your own pizza.)
On Saturdays and Sundays, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., the Pizza Al’Uovo appears as part of Motorino’s brunch special, notable in itself—an entrée, coffee, and a glass of orange juice or Bloody Mary mix, all for $10. Not that their watery coffee is much to celebrate, but hey, a deal is a deal.
I only wish the Pizza Al’Uovo weren’t strictly a weekend event. I understand that eggy items sound better for brunch, but pizza this good should be a seven-day celebration. So Motorino, if you’re reading, consider this my official appeal: Liberate the Pizza Al’Uovo from the brunch menu. Serious eaters will thank you.
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