Sunday, January 23, 2011


Okay, quick disclaimer: This post is really old. I kept pushing it off. Anyway, it dates back to when the FBM girls did their holiday cookie swap in 2010. Yeah, yeah. I've been slacking off. Whatever! Now onto the food at Otto.

However, before that, a quick blurb about the restaurant. This Batali run joint is more casual than his newer places. However, it's quite popular because it's good to get a quick bite to eat or just hang out. They have a largest wine bar area for people who are just meeting up for a couple glasses of wine. They will serve you food if you decided to stick around for longer. Also, it's good for small groups that just want to sit around, drink, eat, and chat the night away. And that's exactly what we wanted to do this cold wintry night.

After we ordered a monstrous amount of food, they started piling up our small table. First, some accompaniments for the cheese and bread. Going from the lower left hand corner then clockwise: truffled honey, apricots, and brandied cherries. I loved the truffle honey. It was amazing. I started just eating spoonfuls of it. Even after that, I wasn't satisfied so I asked for a small container of it. And they obliged! I was sooooo happy. The brandied cherries were good as well. And the apricots were bleh but that's because I'm bleh about apricots in general.

And here are the cheeses ($15). I know we had triple cream, taleggio, parmigiano, fontina, and quadrello. I liked them all. Some weren't as loved (the stinky ones) so I gladly ate it. I love stinky cheeses! I think the other girls enjoyed the milder, creamy cheeses.

We also ordered some sliced American prosciutto ($9). Nice marbling of fat, salty, and had good meat flavor. If you don't know already, I loved prosciutto. I was glad when this was placed in front me. Lucky for me, the other girls didn't finish it. So I gladly took one for the team.
With Feisty Foodie's insistence, we ordered the grande fish appetizer. She mentioned that the value is really good considered you get so many different dishes for just $21. And she was right! First up, marinated shrimp and chickpeas (left), and anchovies with breadcrumbs. The shrimp was light and kind of refreshing. It felt like eating a salad but much tastier. The anchovies were really good. I love anchovies! The fishiness does not bother me at all. However, these weren't fishy at all. I think Feisty Foodie enjoyed these as much as I did since we dug greedily for the last pieces.
Marinated octopus and celery (just okay), mussels and peperonata (really flavorul and fresh), and calamari and potato (again, really good). We also ordered some vegetable apps at $4 each. The roasted beets were a big hit. Naturally sweet and rich in flavor, we enjoyed these a lot. The tuscan lentils were just okay for me. I really like lentils but these were a bit heavy. The broccoli and pecorino was good too. The cheese definitely helped. But I have to admit that Feisty Foodie's homemade roasted broccoli is better!
Here's a close up of the lentil. There was way too much of it! And on the right are the roasted brussel sprouts. The charred leaves were so delicious and sweet. We dug into these quickly and swiftly. We are brussel sprouts lovers!
And my pick, the sformato di parmigiano ($8). I actually didn't know what this was until I asked the waiter. He explained something pretty extensive but I was sold at cheese souffle. It was so soft and light as souffles usually are. But the rich flavor was really good. It was paired pretty well with the red cabbage salad.
And here's my first plate. It's a little taste of everything except for the cheese which I like to eat by itself. Mmm, so very very good.
And my second plate involved the individual cheeses and the sformato. So rich and creamy.
And that was only the appetizers! We also ordered pizzas to share. My pick was the potato, anchovy, and ricotta ($11). I really liked this. The potatoes were sliced very thin which crisped up nicely in the over. The anchovies were salt and briny which added the seasoning to the pie. The ricotta cheese was buttery soft.
Here's a quick upskirt of the crust. A nice light char on a relatively thin pizza. It was a little crunchy and a little soft at the same time.
KC picked the vongole pizza ($14) which is clam pizza. The clams come with their shells on this white pizza. Why in the shell? So you know it's fresh. It may be trouble some to pick your clam bellies out just for the pizza, but I didn't mind. I like freshness in seafood. The white pizza was a good vehicle for the clams. Why no sauce? Some may say it's sacrilege to put red sauce on it. Others may say that cheese and seafood are the devil's children. To each his own. I eat it all!
I was way too stuffed for dessert but some of us really enjoy sweets. KC had the same idea as me, but Feisty Foodie ordered a budino ($5). It was super small like a espresso cup. However, the flavor was strong with mocha and chocolate. It was similar to a chocolate mousse to me. I think she enjoyed it since she finished it.
And the biggest sweettooth was definitely the Blind Baker (as usual). She always saves room for dessert. She had 3 gelati ($7.50): olive oil, creme fraiche, and hazelnut. She went onto finish this big bad boy. I know she enjoyed it because she was mmm-ing the whole way through.
The meal was very good and left us stuffed. However, there were some pizza leftover that was happily enjoyed the next day.

If I were to come back, I would definitely order the fish appetizer again. I would also try a couple other of their pizzas. One of the good things about Otto is that they have a vast menu that pretty much anyone can enjoy. Definitely, a good night with the girls.

For more reviews, please check out Feisty Foodie's write up here.

1 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10003-4312
(212) 995-9559

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