Most people wouldn't travel to China to find delicious pizza, and after you've tried its most formidable entry into the contest, the aversion is understandable. But before giving away the ending, first the beginning.
Looking for the best pizza I could find in Hong Kong, I discovrered none other than Motorino. It weighed in at an impressive 4.7 stars on Google, but as their ratings provide nothing of value, I cross-referenced with the Yelp of the East -- OpenRice -- which offered a more modest 3/5.
I visited the Soho location, conveniently located next to the most impressive array of outdoor escalators in the world. If nothing else, being carried up the hill to your destination is reason enough to pay a visit.
It turns out that Motorino is actually a chain, originating in Brooklyn of all places. As exciting as that sounds to a pizza lover stranded halfway across the world, Motorino is actually a Neapolitan-style pizzeria trying to to bring the best of Italy to your table in the SAR.
The location itself is what I would describe as Business Pizza™ -- an establishment that prides itself on beautiful décor, tasteful drinks, a price tag to make ample use of your expense account, and a wholly inoffensive menu that can satisfy even the most difficult of client. In retrospect, this could describe nearly every restaurant in the Western neighborhoods of Hong Kong.
Motorino's sauce was respectable. Its most important flavor -- tomato -- maintained a solid presence throughout. However, it had a discernible bitterness to it, and could benefit from both more sweetness, and more acidity. Without calling it pasta sauce, it had a bit farther to go to achieve the Memorable Pizza Sauce award.
That said, its coverage was by no means lacking, and the entire pie benefited from an ample helping of sauce throughout.
To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what happened in the cheese department. The quantity of cheese was frankly a disappointment, even by margherita standards, and the cheese that did show up to the party was generally flavorless and had too much water content. Admittedly Asia shouldn't be your first destination for cheese, but I'd expect a New York import to offer more than tomato bread.
The crust had the characteristic softness, but was also thick and bready. It had the right amount of gluten to offer a reasonable chew, without being overly thick for a Neapolitan pizza. However, the center was actually a lot thicker than many similar pies, which was actually a welcome improvement to its overall structural stability. There was no risk of margherita soup with this one.
The crust also almost perfectly cooked, with little to no burnt edges. However, for some reason a slight bitterness still pervaded the dough. If the crust had a bit more chew and a bit less plush bread feel, we'd be on to something.
Sometimes it's all about intentions, and while Motorino won't likely earn a return visit in between escalator rides through a canyon, it achieved its apparent purpose -- a fair pizza that gets out of your way and allows you to focus on what's important: sweet-talking colleagues and signing on the dotted line.