Editor's note: In "Apps Only," Ben Fishner will be eating his way through New York's appetizer, bar, and lounge menus as your guide to fine dining on a budget.
Moto is first and foremost a jazz bar in Williamsburg—a beautiful space, like a French cafe under the J train. And in addition to a nice selection of beers on tap and wines by the glass, they have a reasonably extensive menu, with plenty of starters and small plates. Perfect for those going apps-only.
We started with an order of the Eggs Stuffed with Tuna and Anchovies ($5). Two hard cooked eggs are filled with a mixture of their yolk and the two fishes. This hybrid tuna salad-deviled egg was quite tasty, a solid bar snack.
The Steamed Whole Artichoke ($7) served with a mustardy mayonnaise dip, on the other hand, was unremarkable—fine to nibble on with an after-work drink, but hard to get excited about.
We also ordered a Bulgarian Feta Salad ($8, pictured at top), a plate filled with sliced tomatoes, cucumbers ,and radishes as well as soppressata, olive, and mint. The salad stuck with the meal's theme: a decent snack but not a great dish. The soppressata was at once bland and salty, and while the feta was delicious, there was only one small piece of it.
The Manchego with Quince Preserve ($6) was good, the salty manchego pairing beautifully with the tangy quince. But like the feta salad, this cheese plate could have used a bit more cheese for six bucks.
The deal of the night was the side of Mashed Potatoes ($4), which was buttery but ultimately bland. At least it filled me up!
We had plenty of food at Moto, and we left full while staying within our $15 per person price range. But I wasn't particularly satisfied by what I ate, and there wasn't really anything that stood out as an essential dish. Perhaps this is the rare restaurant where the entrees outshine the appetizers—or maybe you're best off just stopping by for a drink and some live music. In any case, I wouldn't recommend Moto for apps only.