Friday, April 9, 2010

Perfect Day: Motorino + Momofuku Milk Bar + Jon Stewart + Shimizu Sushi

Sometimes you just get lucky and everything falls into place perfectly:  I scored tickets this week to see Jon Stewart on Wednesday (with guest Steve Carrell - squeal!), which enabled Greeshma and me to finally check out Motorino, have an excuse to stop by the Milk Bar and have a perfectly lovely sushi dinner to end our already wonderful day. 

I know you're sick with envy.  You love us, but you hate us.  Well, reading this blog entry won't help - you'll be even more jealous after viewing our day of gluttony !

Motorino dining room and bad fashion meets bad puns

G and I started our day @ Motorino, a spot that has been receiving rave reviews for its Neopolitan style pizza.  (Random thought: wouldn't it be so cool if a Neopolitan style pizzeria served a Neopolitan style dessert pizza with vanilla custard, strawberries and chocolate?  Million dollar idea, for sure!)  Everyone from Rachael Ray and your grandma has probably been here and loved it.  Waits during dinner time are long (hour plus), a result of the small dining room and even tinier kitchen.  Lunch, on the other hand, was the complete opposite: G and I pretty much had the whole place to ourselves.

Tiny kitchen.  That dude was making all the pizzas himself in one brick oven.

Another benefit to lunching at Motorino is their great lunch special.  Choice of pizza with a salad or soft serve ice cream for $12 (a pie alone during dinnertime can yield $16).  How great of a lunch pre-fixe is that?  Greeshma loves greens, I love ice cream - this lunch special could not have been more perfect for us during our perfect day (see the theme that will be going on here?).

We already knew what we were going to get without looking at the menu:
Greeshma: salad + brussels sprout pizza (smoked pancetta / mozzarella / pecorino / garlic)
Han: soppressata picante pizza (mozzarella / spicy soppressata / garlic / oregano) + chocolate soft serve (they offered two choices for soft serve: chocolate or raspberry; like that was even a tough choice)

Greeshma's salad came out first and was a really healthy portion (pun very much intended) of dark colorful greens:

Motorino mixed green salad

The dressing comes on the side which is a nice touch.  Greeshma was in love at first salady bite and said she could have eaten that for lunch alone, but I quickly told her how ridiculous that sounded.  Hello, our pizzas were coming out soon !

The pizzas arrived at our tables and were a sight for sore eyes!

Greeshma basking in the heat of her freshly baked pizza.

They were large pizzas and look ridiculous as one person's serving, but they were so very thin and therefore very manageable! (And plus, everyone was getting their own pizza at this joint; it's time to be selfish!)

Greeshma's beloved brussels sprout pizza

No sauce to muck up this beauty - just sprouts, cheese and pancetta

Spicy soppressata pizza: polar opposite of the brussels sprout pizza: utterly red and saucy

Mi amor, fresh mozzarella

Hello, spicy soppressata buttercup !

Pizza underskirt.  Apparently that is the thing for foodbloggers to do!

The pizzas were tasty enough to shut me and Greeshma up once they arrived.  The sauce on the SS was delicious - light but rich in flavor.  The cheese was wonderful and the flavor of the soppressata was great.  It was not, however, spicy.  Like maybe 1/100th of regular spicy.  Would recommend grabbing some red pepper flakes if you were expecting some real heat.

I tried a bite of the brussels sprout, because I would have never imagined eating a brussels sprout pizza in my life, and was surprised at the bright, clean bursts of brusselly flavor.  It was very nice!

After finishing my pie, they brought out my dessert!

Beautiful chocolate soft serve ice cream

As Diana previously stated: life truth - sprinkles make everything better.
This soft serve was the best thing in the whole world at that minute.

So the skinny: Great, flavorful pizza.  The one sort of negative on Motorino is the crust.  Because it is so thin, the sauce and cheese weigh the pie down and cause the undercrust to be rather soggy.  Do not come to Motorino if you only like crisp crusts.  If you're more open-minded, you will be rewarded with some tasty slices.

After Motorino, I insisted that we stop by Momofuku Milk Bar (since they are practically neighbors) to grab some sustenance in preparation for our long wait at The Daily Show. 

Milk Bar is one of the many Momofuku entities sprinkled throughout Manhattan as part of David Chang's empire.  You will not hear mention of one of his restaurants without reference to his "empire."  Indeed, he is a culinary force to be reckoned with. 

Milk Bar is attached to his other restaurant Momofuku Ko, home of his legendary pork buns, and features many sweet treats from crack pie (toasted oat crust, gooey butter filling) and candy bar pie (chocolate crust, caramel, peanut butter nougat, pretzels) to cereal milk flavored soft serve that supposedly tastes just like its name.  Milk Bar is standing room only - with high top wooden tables to eat at while you stand.  You can also choose to order pork buns here at the Milk Bar.

Today we had no time for all its charms.  We wanted to grab a few cookies and go.  But not before we got a free sample of their soft serve ice cream (shh, don't remind me that I just ate a bowlful of chocolate ice cream :).

Momofuku Milk Bar menu + soft serve machines

Flavors change periodically, and today's flavors included Red Velvet, Cream Cheese, and probably something else, but hello, my eyes could not move past the red velvet + cream cheese.  They limit one sample per customer because their samples are wonderfully generous.  We both ordered up the red velvet (of course).

Ridiculous red velvet ice cream from Milk Bar

I know.  Look at that texture.  It's so ridiculous.  After taking one tiny bite, I had to regain my balance - it was SO RICH.  Greeshma said that was why it was so good.  I told her I could not get past how rich it was.  She told me to shut up.  It had a noticeable cocoa flavor and a heavy taste, but was overall good; that sample was definitely enough as a portion size though.

We then headed to wait in line at The Daily Show. 

The Daily Show !!

The weather was now a lovely 90 degrees at this point.  We waited a little over an hour before I suggested we eat some cookies because surely delicious cookies would liven things up and make us forget the heat.

We had both elected to get the cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow cookie, because I really believe it is their best:

You can see the greasiness on the cellophane wrapper, a prime indicator of awesome tastiness.

Love the marshmallow.

The second cookie I had ordered, but actually ate yesterday: Blueberry cream cookie with dried blueberries and milk crumbs

Both cookies were super buttery but good.  The cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow concoction is more complex, with an interesting chewy texture, whereas the blueberry tasted like a simple butter-sugar cookie with blueberries.  It was good too, but you know where your heart is.  Cornflake it up, son!

Finally after two hours of waiting in the heat, we were part of the live audience and loved every quick minute, laughing our hearts out at every bit.

After the show ended, we walked over to Hells Kitchen and decided to grab some sushi from Shimizu before heading home.

The cuteness of Shimizu

 We were greeted with a hot towel from the cutest Japanese woman -- who does not love hot towels?!  Seriously the best start to any meal.

And then before our dinner came out, the waitress brought over an amuse bouche from the chef.  Who does not love surprise amuse bouche?!  Maybe an amuse bouche is the best start to any meal!

The amuse bouche: think Japanese potato salad; exquisitely creamy.

Freshly boiled and perfectly salted edamame to start

Mexican roll: chopped yellowtail, jalapeno spicy mayonnaise, avocado

The Mexican and the spicy tuna roll.  Diana would not approve - look at the rawness!

The sushi was very fresh and tasted great.  We were just too in love with our day, and terrific sushi was a perfect ender.

Giddy with happiness !

After they cleared our plates, the waitress brought over the bill and two lovely, complimentary cups of Japanese tea.  How could the meal get even better?

Oh, by having a bowl of these as we left the restaurant:

Little chocolatey mints!

Best NY day ever !

349 East 12th Street
New York, NY
Motorino on Urbanspoon

207 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 254-3500
Momofuku Milk Bar on Urbanspoon
318 West 51st Street
New York, NY 10019
Shimizu on Urbanspoon


  1. dude, i am about to BURST WITH JEALOUSY!!!

    life is just so not fair!!


    i LOVE brussels sprouts. and thank you for the warning re: soggy crust, cuz i do NOT do soggy crust. haha.

    and that red velvet looks SO red and divine! wow.

    and that choco cornflake marsh cookie looked like the PERFECT texture and super buttery - just the way i like it. sigh.

  2. also i looked up pics of the momo pork buns, and it is my new goal in life to eat one! hahah