Otto Enoteca Pizzeria is an Italian restaurant owned and operated by Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. My friend K has been a huge lover and supporter of it for so many years now. She’s there probably every other week for their olive oil gelato dessert. As usual, I’m late to the game. I finally visited Otto’s this past month and cannot wait to get to know him better 😉
We started with the eggplant caponatina ($6). I was not sure what a caponatina is but ordered this as I am still on a eggplant kick. Caponatina is a cold dish of sauteed eggplant mixed with other veggies. I didn’t particularly like this because I didn’t know it was a cold dish. And it had a sweet and sour profile I don’t like. Not a bad dish, just not to my preference.
It can’t be a stop at Otto’s without pizza so we got a the Quattro Formaggi ($14) which is four cheese pizza. The cheese includes mozzarella, taleggio, cacio, and ricotta. I had to get it of course. Sadly, the cheeses weren’t mixed together. So each portion had their own cheese. I enjoyed the mozzarella and ricotta slices. But the taleggio and cacio were just too strong and pungent for me. The crust was great and the sauce was sweet with a nice mix of tanginess in it. Next time I would try the Otto Lardo pie.
Pasta is also a must get at any Batali place. We had was Taccozzette con Stracotto ($11) which is braised pork shoulder with tomato and basil. I really enjoyed this pasta because the ridges were a great vehicle for the sauce. It had a good chew to it. The pork was nice and tender and worked well with sauce. Simple dish done well.
For dessert, we went with two scoops of gelato ($8): caramel and hazelnut stracciatella. I really enjoyed the caramel, so smooth and creamy.
And we also got the famed Olive Oil Coppetta ($11). There’s many components to this; the olive oil gelato, orange granita, lime curd, and strawberries. At first you really can’t taste the olive oil-ness in the gelato but as you dig further down, it becomes more apparent. It’s an interesting flavor profile for gelato. I liked the lime curd but a little of it goes a long way with each bite. The strawberries are sweet little pops of flavor in your mouth and is a good foil for the lime curd and granita. Overall, it’s a dessert that works only if all the parts work for you. I’m glad I got to try it but I don’t know if I would necessarily go for this again the next time I’m here.
I’m happy I finally tried Otto’s. For a restaurant with such big names behind it, the prices are very reasonable for the neighborhood. And though I’ve seen quite a number of reviews citing bad service, our service was decent for a somewhat busy Friday night. I can see this place being a staple in my rotation if I lived in the neighborhood and had a pasta craving.
Otto Enoteca Pizzeria
One Fifth Avenue at 8th Street
New York City, NY 10003
Tel: 212 995 9559
*Photos courtesy of M