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Otto Enoteca Pizzeria


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Admin: an archive of 2003 discussion on Otto Enoteca Pizzeria may be found here.

I went back to Otto last night, and the food was excellent.

At first, I was surprised at how bustling the bar was. And how young. Almost like it was a village hot-spot. It seemed to be filled with a lot more than just people waiting for tables.

We had a table of 14, packed a little too tight, but I'm not sure where else they could have put us.

We started with three types of appetizers. A cheese plate, that I didn't sample, but everyone enjoyed. A nice tray of sliced prosciuto, and other cured meats. Very good. The mixed cold antipasto was excellent. Six little cups of stuff: sauteed broccoli rabe with cheese, marinated cauliflower, marinated chopped mushrooms, eggplant, beets, and some of the plumpest, tastiest olives I've ever had. They were excellent.

Next came out a plate of little shrimps, and some amazing fried potato triangles.

We had a good range of pizzas as well. Four cheese, pepperoni, margherita, mushroom and clam (topped with little clams still in their shell). They each tasted great. And, more importantly, Otto has definitely gotten the crusts closer to the real thing. The first time I had Otto pizza, the crust was soft and unimpressive. although the pizzas are still very thin, the crust was now more robust, chewier and flavorful.

And the gelato is still wonderful.

Edited by slkinsey (log)
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i've always thought the place is terribly underrated by the experts. even if one doesn't like the pizza crust, surely a tasty meal could be put together with the wines, antipasto, gelato, etc.

glad you enjoyed it, and it's good to see some positive words about the place.

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We were there Thursday afternoon and it was excellent again. We sat at the bar at about 2 and left at 4.

Assorted meats, soprosatta, proscuitto & new sausage called fanocchio (suprised at the name because in Italian it's a slang word)

3 cheese, parmigiano-reggiano, a double Italian creamy blue cheese and a NY goat cheese.

2 pizzas, rocket arugola & proscuitto & a special with artichokes & mozzarella.

White wine, pinot grigio & Soave

Red wine, Gattinara.

This is my favorite afternoon place, bar is quiet, can read the newspaper and listen to some good Italian opera. Also the bartenders are better informed than in the past and are now able to lead you through the wines and explain the meats & cheeses better than they used to.

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Here's a brief, unillustrated report on our lunch at Otto (Marlene will supply the pictures once she's home, thanks to her husband Don's photographic assistance). It will also be a test of my memory, since I did not snag the bill listing what we ordered.

The group ended up as 3 eGulleteers (Marlene, hannnah, and yours truly) and our respective spice (Don, David, and HWOE). Pan, unfortunately, was too croupy to come after all. :sad: But we still had enough people to make a reservation, and so had a lovely large round table. Too bad it didn't have a lazy susan in the center, as in Chinese restaurants; would have been very helpful, since we shared everything.

Before any of our stuff arrived, we were supplied with three condiments to go with the cheeses we had ordered: black truffle honey, brandied cherries, and a sort of apricot chutney with chilies. Then and there, we knew we'd be happy -- David said, give him some bread with those and he'd be all set, a sentiment echoed by all. Marlene was even able to taste a bit of the honey, on the assumption that if the truffle in it turned out to make her sick (mushroom allergy), she'd die happy. Fortunately, she seemed to have no ill effects other than sticky fingers. The cheeses we ordered were robiola due latte (a special), gorgonzola dolce, and parmigiano reggiano. The robiola was as unctuous as any good brie, but not as strong as a really runny brie; gorgonzola was indeed dolce; and the parmigiano reminded us why it has such a good reputation. The portions were tiny :angry: but the flavors so clear that we all got a good idea of why these were great cheeses.

We also started with the large meat assortment: prosciutto, testa, and various sausage slices. All were excellent -- and the testa could surely make the headcheese-haters turn around: very little gel, a subtle orange-zest flavor (can you tell I love it?) The 4 fish-eaters among us also shared antipasti of anchovies (actually alici, the pickled white anchovies, with herbs and croutons) and calamari (itty bitty ones in a spicy salsa verde). I for one was glad that there were only 3 other people sharing those, instead of 5; more for each of us. :biggrin:

And then, THE PIZZAS: marinara, lardo, margharita, quattro formaggi, and pepperoni. Yes, the crust IS different from before: closer to what we are used to as a standard crust, and by now it has a bit of salt in it, so it has flavor. The entire table loved the crusts. As for the toppings, the marinara was a clear winner: tomato, garlic, chilies, and herbs; no cheese. Just spicy enough, with a good garlic kick and tomato flavor. Margharita -- the classic tomato, mozz, basil -- was also simple and elegant. Four cheeses were exactly that: on a base of tomato sauce, one quarter each with a different cheese: mozz, taleggio, cacio, and ricotta. How it tasted depended on which cheese you got. Not a great item to share with so many (2 would probably be the limit). The pepperoni was very good (I didn't like it as much as HWOE, but maybe because I'm used to spicier, greasier, non-artisanal pepperoni). And the lardo was . . . different. Razor-thin slices of pork fat covering the crust, with a healthy sprinkling of chopped herbs. The others may disagree with my taste, but I loved it. The fat supplied more mouthfeel than flavor -- the flavor was of the other 2 elements, the crust and the herbs. Well, I loved it.

The only difficulty with dessert was deciding which gelati and sorbetto to get extras of; otherwise, just bring us some of everything:

caramel

chocolate

vanilla

coffee

ricotta

olive oil

orange-date

hazelnut stracciatella

pistachio

coconut

Meyer lemon with blackberry gelati;

tangerine

blood orange

grapefruit with Campari sorbetti.

The caramel (HWOE's favorite from a previous visit) was a hit. Meredith, the pastry chef (known here as Wingding) happened past as we were about to decide, and allowed as how that was her favorite. (I think she was just being polite, because how could one choose among all those fabulous flavors?)

Beverages at the table were a bottle of a 1999 Montepulciano, Masciarelli, from Abruzzo, and a pinot grigio from Umbria the name of which sounded more German than anything else (something like Konererhofer??). Each was enjoyed by half the table. As were the caffe latte, espresso, and cappuccino. Well, the second cappuccino that came to the table was enjoyed; the first was the victim of a spectacular, slow-motion upending and fall to the center of the table. No time for Don to pull out the camera to capture it all, though. Ah well, no breakage, no splashing of people.

And of course, the conversation covered food and restaurants, but also the hazards of driving in snow, hints on preventing rashes when traveling (carry your own bed linens), and other such wide-ranging topics. It was again a delight to meet eGulleteers in the flesh, and share a good meal with them. :biggrin:

Edited by Suzanne F (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Here (finally) are the photos of our eGullet lunch at Otto recently

i3395.jpg

Sauces for the cheeses

i3396.jpg

the wines

i3387.jpg

Antipasti

i3388.jpg

Baby Octopus and something else?

i3392.jpg

Margherita pizza

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Took the folks to Otto. Again, the antipasti were excellent. Especially the mixed mushrooms, beets, and lentils.

I forced everyone to be daring and ordered the porcini & tallegio pizza and a Leo -- which was guincale (sp? -- cured pork jowl) and chickpeas. The first pizze proved that, indeed, good cheese smells like happy underpants. The folks winced at first, but then really enjoyed it. (Now that I think about it, that's a little sick.) None of was a fan of the Leo. The guincale was a little too sweet or gamey. The chickpeas didn't work at all for me.

We had a large sampling of gelati -- ricotta, hazelnut, meyer lemen, pistacchio, and olive oil. Again, everyone cringed at the thought of olive oil gelato, but it was everyone's favorite.

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Beverages at the table were a bottle of a 1999 Montepulciano, Masciarelli, from Abruzzo, and a pinot grigio from Umbria the name of which sounded more German than anything else (something like Konererhofer??).

This is making me hungry.

FYI, the PG in the picture is Alois Lageder, from Alto Adige. Very good.

Maybe I should post it in the wine forum, but does anyone have opinions on the relative merits of Italian Wine Merchants (Bastianich's store, on E 16th), and Vino (on E 24th)? I might have to pick up some Italian wine on my next visit.

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We stopped by shortly after our lunch at Otto, and it was a nice place. Personable staff, interesting selections (picked up a couple of the Bastianich whites), and it smells great! (They'd just finished a cooking demo.) They were also playing Willie Nelson when we came in, which scores them further bonus points.

Also, I loved their wine-fetching mechanism - it's a 4-bottle wood box connected to a garage door opener mounted on the wall. The box drops down through a hole in the floor into the cellar, bottles go in, box comes back up. Sure, you could spend $X thousand on a custom-built conveyer system, but why bother when a $200 garage door opener works just as well? :biggrin:

"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard
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Boy, did I get the name wrong! :blush: Thanks for the correction.

That Taleggio pizza is one of my favorites, but we couldn't get it because we didn't want to kill Marlene.

And I really appreciated that :biggrin:

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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  • 1 month later...

Enoteca OTTO pizzeria

Yet another of the Batali-Bastianich gastronomic temples delivers big bang for the buck. After a busy morning shopping in Soho, nothing is better than some hearty Italian fare.

Well,

House made Sopressata – toothsome, meaty, delicate and delicious. Accompanied by crusty Italian bread, I could have mad a meal on this alone.

otto1.jpg

Caprese Salad (Winter Style) – Sweet San Marzano tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella, basil pesto and pignoles. The tomatoes were as sweet as apples and proved a worthy foil to the fresh pesto, silky mozzarella, and crunchy pinie nuts.

otto2.jpg

Sicilian Olives – wonderful.

Calamari Salad – this salad was listed as having potato and red chiles. I didn’t pick up any chili heat or potato but it was a good never the less.

otto3.jpg

Hearty Seasonal Salad of Dandelion greens, ramps, endive, and fennel. Very powerful in flavor – not for the timid. It was a little overpowering for me when eaten alone but was quite refreshing eaten in conjunction with everything else.

otto4.jpg

Pizza Olivia – A pizza of tomato, prosciutto, shaved reggiano parm, pecorino romano, and 20 year old balsamic. Very nice with the hearty cheeses and complex balsamic complementing each other.

otto5.jpg

Gelato

A trio of Avocado, Pistachio, and Ricotta

otto6.jpg

A trio of Caramel, Hazelnut, and Coconut

otto7.jpg

We also enjoyed some quartinos of Soave, 93 Barolo, and Vin Santo. After a couple of espressos - it was back to the trenches.

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  • 2 months later...

I just checked out the new pasta selection (all $9)...the couple that I tried were quite good, generous portions too. The wine by the quartino list has expanded as well -- I'd say about 20 reds and 10 whites. The summer corn verdure was excellent as well.

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I just checked out the new pasta selection (all $9)...the couple that I tried were quite good, generous portions too. The wine by the quartino list has expanded as well -- I'd say about 20 reds and 10 whites. The summer corn verdure was excellent as well.

What's the new pasta selection? Are they expanding their menu? I've never really understood a lot of what was going on on the menu other thant the pizzas and antipasto.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, I'm a new member, first day, first post! We're creatures of habit and generally end up at Otto for lunch when we're in the city wandering the Village. We're never disappointed, but this past Sunday topped all visits. The current Caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes was incredible, the buffalo mozzarella particularly wonderful that day, the tomatoes like candy. The real surprise was the corn gelato, get in there soon to give it a try while it's in season. What a treat! Of course, everything we sampled in between was special as well. From the moaning going on at the table, people might have wondered what was going on.........

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Had a Sweet Corn, Ricotta, Olive Oil gelato combo last night at Otto...mmm soo good, no doubt Otto is my favorite ice cream place in the city...the olive oil was better than the olive oil gelato at Per Se ..... had one of the new pastas....the penne with prosciutto...so over salted it was ridiculous

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  • 1 month later...

Had a lovely dinner at Otto last night following the Winebow portfolio wine tasting. Shared the Heirloom Caprese salad and it was delicious. The tomatoes were like candy and so colorful with red yellow and green all on the plate. Bufalo mozzarella was very sweet and lucious.

Shared three different pizzas with two others - the Quattro Stagione, the Prosciutto a& Arugula and the Lardo. All were delicious but the lardo was just a bit too much. One bite would have sufficed as it's very rich and the sound of my arteries snapping shut was distracting for the rest of the meal. :raz:

Shared a trio of gelati - Olive Oil, Ricotta and Pistachio for dessert. All were delicious but the Olive Oil was just sublime.

I thought everything was of excellent quality, the wine selection was mind boggling and there are a lot of fabulous bargains on the list. Our server was extremely knowledgeable and helpful and service was very pleasant and professional. Otto is a bargain for an excellent dining experience and I'll certainly be back there.

As an aside, Chef Mario was bolting through as I was checking out the bar. Said a quick hello to him and complimented him on having such a fabulous place. I think he was rushing off to Babbo around the corner, since that appeared to be the general direction of his hurry.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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  • 3 months later...

HWOE and I ate there yesterday, for a very late lunch/very early dinner.

Escarole Salad with Jerusalem Artichokes: also some chopped roasted almonds and very fine crumbs of cheese (maybe ricotta salata?). It took a while to find the pieces of Jerusalem artichoke, which were kind of buried near the bottom. But they were crisp and sweet, less artichoke-y than when cooked. Very nice lemony dressing, maybe just a tad too much, but it was quite light so that was all right.

Weekly special Pizza with Guanciale, Radicchio, and Pecorino. Talk about porky goodness! Yummmmmm. Nice tangy tomatoes between the crust and this other stuff.

Pizza al Vongole, the infamous in-the-shell clams, lots of fresh mozzarella, a few parsley leaves. Less oceanic than the clam pizza at Arturo's on Houston, but it hit the spot.

A quartino of a Bastianich Tocai Friuliana, and of a Ramitello.

And since this is one of the few places where I actually look forward to dessert:

Olive Oil Coppetta, with olive oil gelato, (salted) caramel sauce, candied tangerines (or clementines?), and a little olive oil;

Tangerine Parfait, with tangerine sorbetto, cranberry granita, and almond crema.

Ahhhhhhhhh. The texture of the gelato was smoother than anything I've had, and the parfait was wonderfully refreshing.

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I was fortunate enough to stop in at Otto last week (after dinner at Babbo) to have some gelato. I agree, the olive oil gelato is sublime. It was in fact a revelation.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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