This weekend we tried a restaurant that had been on our to-do list, not only because it’s supposed to be great, but also because it’s owned by a favorite chef of mine, Mario Batali.
Otto is a casual Italian restaurant located in the West Village with high quality food and wine. They specialize in pizza and pasta, have an impressive wine menu to compliment the fare, and serve some pretty amazing gelato to boot!
We began the meal with a bottle of red and their Formaggi trio, choosing Pecorino di Fossa, Gorgonzola dulce, and the Ubriaco. It was served with a few accompaniments: garlic honey, sour cherries and sauce, and orange marmalade.
The cheese was absolutely delicious. The platter was small, but rich enough to satisfy. And the condiments to complement the cheese were on-point and really brought this antipasti to the next level.
For entree’s, we ordered the traditional Pepperoni Pizza and Taccozette con Stracotto (braised pork shoulder, tomato, basil).
The pizza alone was good, but what made it great was the thick-cut, smoky-spicy, pepperoni on top. Really a well-done pie and very tasty.
The pasta was everything a comforting plate of pasta should be (especially on a cold, cold night like that one) and more. The noodle itself was cooked perfectly al dente, and the pork shoulder was so tender, it melted in my mouth. The tomato sauce was simple, but definitely not boring. A really excellent dish overall.
Now prior to actually going to Otto, I had read some reviews and learned the Olive Oil gelato was where it was at. So we ordered the Olive Oil Coppetta (pianogrillo olive oil gelato, lime curd, tangerine sorbetto, fennel brittle, blood oranges) and I can die now… I have officially found my favorite non-chocolate dessert. The gelato and sorbetto were out of this world! The gelato was creamy as anything I’ve ever tasted, had a distinct olive oil flavor, yet was soft and sweet tasting. With every bite I could taste a sprinkle of sea salt that really made it unusual and special. The sorbetto had an intense tangerine flavor, yet was not too sour or overpowering. I actually disliked the fennel brittle a lot, but luckily there weren’t many pieces so I could easily pick them out. Seriously, I would go back for this gelato in a heartbeat.
We also ordered the Maple Rum Baba (mascarpone huckleberry swirl gelato, caramel bananas, spiced pecan) and it was really good as well. The gelato was served in a baba (yeast cake soaked in liquor) and drizzled with caramel. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the baba was lighter and more flavorful than I expected upon inspection of it. The gelato was again, very good, and the rum and banana worked very well together and were the flavors that most stood out in this dessert.
In addition to loving the food, the service was really good at Otto and the decor was attractive as well. Our server seemed to really know the menu and was happy to answer questions or make suggestions. The place became more and more packed as the evening went on, which is always a good sign, and the whole restaurant seemed alive with good food, laughter, and life. I will definitely be going back to Otto and am anxious to try new dishes, yet never straying from that olive oil dessert.