"Times" Critic Names Best Pizza Place In NYC, Foodie World Spins Off Axis

by BILLY GRAY · February 17, 2010

Everyone debates the question of best pizzeria in New York. But rarely does a clear front-runner emerge like Motorino did today when Times food dude Sam Sifton, by far the most prominent restaurant critic in NYC, said it served "the city's best pizza."

Despite innumerable arguments over the years about NYC's #1 pie, the answer always seemed to revolve around a shortlist of time-honored usual suspects: John's, L&B Spumoni, Grimaldi's, DiFara's, Patsy's (the Harlem original, of course), Totonno's, Lombardi's.

Some young punks would occasionally intrude (Co., Keste, Artichoke, Veloce) but Sifton's endorsement of a clear-cut winner (and a newbie at that!) is big news to food snobs (don't call them foodies) and everyday hungry slobs alike.

Need proof? Sifton's review is currently number one on the Times' Most E-mailed list, a perch usually reserved for Frank Rich rants, parenting advice and, in a glorious reversal, diet tips.

The review is also notable for being Sifton's first really big splash since his Dining section debut last October. Arguably hyperbolic reviews often get noticed, like when Sifton's predecessor Frank Bruni said Minetta Tavern had the best steak in the city despite not being a proper steakhouse.

The bad news: your chances of getting past either of Motorino's doors (there's one outpost in Williamsburg and another in the East Village) anytime soon are about as good as a speedy completion of the Second Avenue subway line.