Otto Review: Otto
As I discovered last week, starch and dairy can dominate a vegetarian diet or in my case lots of pretzels. If I had to maintain the diet, pizza and pasta would probably be popular choices as well. The restaurant Otto would satisfy both of those things at a semi-reasonable price too. Last week I stopped by twice, once to get pasta, and once to eat the olive oil gelato.
I had visited Otto once prior to last week, and every time I sat in the bar. The bar area is pretty spacious and allow you to sit and eat comfortably. Adjacent to the actual bar are these counter like things for customers to stand and drink with their friends.
Since I hate lines more than anything else, I strolled in around 2pm for a late lunch, and the bar area was quite lively. Maybe that is what you do in the West Village on the weekends – you cruise with MacLaren strollers (not to be confused with McLarens), name your kids something like Carlton or Geofferey, then sip Prosecco and eat personal pizzas. Mmmmm… and everyone at the bar seemed to know the bartender (Dennis). It must be easy to develop a rapport with the bartender if you drink in the middle of the afternoon… Oh yea and the pasta is pretty good.
On my first ever visit to Otto (not during vegetarian week), I had the “Rigatoni con sausage and cavolo nero” which apparently means rigatoni with sausage and kale (they have english translations on the menu, I did not actually do that by magic). It is a shame chinese restaurants do not do this, otherwise maybe they could sell “Phoenix Claw” to little Harry Potter fans… so we can breed new adventurous chicken feet eaters. Would that be evil? I think not. As for the pasta, sausage and kale go really well together but I end up wanting more of it and less of the rigatoni. Although for a $9 lunch at a nice place, there is not much to complain about.
Last week, I had penne with butternut squash, hazelnuts, and smoked ricotta but it sounded better in Italian – ” Penne con noci e zucca”. The smoked ricotta was shaved on top; both the fragrance and taste were a delight. Hazelnuts provided a crunch to the otherwise textureless dish.
The day after the penne, I went back just to eat dessert since they have Olive Oil gelato. Is it a popular flavor? I do not eat enough gelato to really know, but the idea of olive oil flavored gelato just sounded way too interesting to pass up. They have this thing called olive oil coppetta which comes with the gelato and blood oranges, kumquats, and tangerine sorbet. It was heaven. I am not sure how strong the olive oil taste was supposed to be, but it was faint and the gelato was delicious. When combined it with the tangerine sorbet it was even better, and every spoonful was a party in my mouth. You should go and just start your meal at Otto with dessert. Dooooo it
Otto1 5th Ave.New York, NY 10003212-995-9559
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