Yellow Moto Pizzeria, born of Flour + Water, is David White and Chef Oleg Sheyner’s breakaway endeavor from the F + W restaurant group. We’d been there many times before — it was our go-to for fancy pizza out — but the addition of a cocktail menu (F + W was strictly beer & wine) was too good to pass up.
The menu has the same fantastic quality pies, but also more and varied veggie and salad options. And, the space has a new look: oversized cheeky posters (a humongous butterfly floats over a black-and-white cityscape in the bathroom), bursts of neon yellow adorn the space, with yellow and white paper lanterns festooning the outdoor dining corrals — all in the service of the new name, which itself is inspired by White’s vintage electric yellow Italian scooter. We just had to check it out yet again. They take reservations now, another big plus, and the BF and I snagged an outdoor table.
First things first. I had a cocktail, the 18th Street (rye whiskey, cynar, dry vermouth, bitters), very much like a Manhattan, though mellower. With dinner, I had a smokey, delicious glass of red: Le Fief Noir, a cabernet franc and grolleau blend. There are six other cocktails to entice, as well as mocktails for those who don’t imbibe.
From the antipasti menu, we started out with the roasted carrots, a small plate of carrots, harissa, dates, and toasted hazelnuts:
I cannot rave enough about this dish. The carrots were charred and sweet, earthy, bathed in harissa, paired with pillowy, cool burrata, the satisfying crunch of toasted hazelnuts, and bits of torn mint for contrast. A subtle and nuanced dish, until you get a bite of harissa, when all the flavors explode in your mouth at once. A perfect starter. I thought that I’d like to replicate it at home, but why, when I can come here and have it?
Next, English pea arancini:
Another wonderful dish. I should have taken a picture of the inside, as it opened to a brilliant green (much like a falafel), nestled in a puree of sweet peas, drizzled with lemon oil. Tender and creamy inside, this was a homey little plate of food.
And, as expected, the pizzas are still top-notch. First, the mortadella salumi:
Thin slices of velvety mortadella, fresh corn kernels, shallots, ricotta, garlic, and Calabrian chili for bite. Juicy, swoony, with a perfectly chewy and charred crust, there was a hint of tartness from the charcuterie that I didn’t expect, and little pops of sweetness from the corn. This is pizza with heft yet lightness.
The all-cheese was next, with aged and fresh mozzarella, pecorino Romano, fontina, caciocavallo, garlic, and black pepper.
Basically, a cheese wheel, in the best possible and most decadent way. Simply luscious, milky goodness. The sharpness of the caciocavallo stood out with a deep umami note, and the fresh mellowness of the mozz brought it all together. The grating of freshly ground fresh pepper brings to mind a bowl of cacio e pepe.
We brought home an entire combined pizza as leftovers, always a happy event. I’m very eager to try more of their cocktails and, one day, linger at the bar over a few, nibbling at a clam pizza. The vegetable starters and salads change weekly/seasonally, sometimes daily, as you’d imagine. And they still have their wonderful soft-serve ice cream.
The vibe at Yellow Moto is fun, playful, European even, with café tables outside, where one can sit, doe-eyed, in a reverie, cocktail in hand, the aromas of good, melty cheese and warm dough wafting up at you, taking in all of Valencia Street. Yellow Moto feels upscale and buzzy, yet casual and comforting like a neighborhood spot should. It’s special. And even though they now take reservations, you can pop in and be pretty sure to score a table most anytime. Or pull up a stool at the bar with me.