Williamsburg’s newest pie man, Mathieu Palombino, was born in Belgium, speaks French, and has cooked at Bouley, Cello, and most recently BLT Fish, where he ran the kitchen and earned a Michelin star. But don’t hold that against him. Deep down, Palombino — who opens Motorino on Monday — has always felt he was put on this earth to answer a higher calling. That calling, he has determined in this advanced stage in his career, is to flip dough, ladle sauce, and turn pizza around the oven’s hot spot. “I always believed in pizza,” says the chef. ”Pizza for me is not just a snack. It’s a magnificent thing.” It should be noted that magnificence, according to Palombino, doesn’t only reveal itself in classic permutations like the Margherita and the Marinara. Thus, Motorino’s wood-fired brick oven will also accommodate such freewheeling pies as the Gorgonzola-speck-and-cippolini-onion and the iconoclastic mussels and mozzarella. And, in the current Otto-inspired pizzeria-plus fashion, Motorino augments its carb-centric menu with salads, antipasti, cheese, salumi, and — equipment arrival pending — gelati.
Motorino, 319 Graham Ave., nr. Devoe St.; 718-599-8899