Nestled beneath the Hews stop on the J train in Brooklyn, is an odd and misshaped corner building with a brown, rusted bicycle hanging from the flagpole outside. The doors, poised at the slenderest point of the structure, seem dilapidated and off-putting. Moto wouldn’t command a second look from most passersby in the industrial atmosphere of South Williamsburg, but once you get through the door; it’s definitely a hidden gem.
With 1930s era dark wood meets wrought iron fixtures and distressed brick walls, Moto feels like stepping back in time. Its atmosphere is clever yet casual. Sultry jazz plays in the background and glass canisters seen mostly now in retro apothecary companies litter shelves behind the bar.
The menu begins with inventive small platters and salads–from eggs stuffed with tuna and anchovy to marinated beets soaked with herring and sour cream. There’s a selection of five or six gourmet paninis, and more serious entrees of meats and seafood–even a Swiss Alps mac and cheese made with bundnerkase.
The cold asparagus with boiled egg shaved on top and a hint of lemon was simple yet delightful. The steamed mussels in a garlic cream sauce with dill had a delicate flavor. Not the best mussels I’ve ever had, but all were eaten happily.
Overall, the ambiance is a winner and makes this place worth adding to any “neat cafes I must go to in NYC” list. The food is creative, but not unheard of, and the pricing is at or just above what you’d expect to pay for a typical downtown meal – $5-$8 appetizers, $9.50 paninis and $12-$20 entrees. Cash Only. They sometimes host live music so check the website. 394 Broadway in Brooklyn, NY.
By: Kellyn Slone