Otto - GelOtto & Pizza ~ Orderinny

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Otto - GelOtto & Pizza

We thought we were invincible. We had by either sheer luck or too much persistence managed to fish out a lot of kate spade goodies, in relative good shape, for very little moolah and were very pleased with ourselves. If we could pack so much shopping in such a short time, we rationalized, what's a short walk from Century 21 to the village for pizza and some oddly flavored ice cream? What's wrong with strolling in the sun, with no sunblock on a 90 degree day? We are from the tropics and therefore had a natural immunity to sweltering heat, or so we thought.
Just so you know, we did manage to get to Washington Square Park and did locate Otto. We also ate there. But the hour long walk was anything but short, and the initial excitement about trying olive oil gelato for the first time had died down somewhere between tribeca and soho. By the time we stumbled into the restaurant, thoroughly dehydrated and very sweaty at 4 pm we just wanted to crash into the chairs and be fed as quickly as possible.
It is under this premise that Ruoying and I tried the pizza and pasta at Otto, the most affordable Mario Batali-related establishment in the city. I had very inexplicably imagined the restaurant to be in a tiny and quaint cornershop, but it was pretty cavernous and comfortably dark. While it was extremely quiet at 4 pm, I can imagine it being a bustling and jam packed place during more normal dining hours. We ordered quickly and played safe on our choices. At 4pm, we really didn't need added grief if the pizza lardo (lard on bread, dad would kill to try this) didn't come up to our expectations. The server and efficient server, as if sensing our hunger (which is pretty apparent, it being 4 pm for lunch and all) served us rather quickly and plied us with bread and numerous refills of water. We tried the penne alla norma, very al dente, which is the way I like it but less to Ruoying's liking. But the eggplant was nicely done and Ruoying, normally averse to eggplant actually fought me to get to the last couple of eggplant bits on the plate. The ricotta also binded rest of the ingredients together well without being an overkill.. The pizza margherita was also very yummy with a thin crispy base. An afficionado of thick and chewy dough probably would not appreciate it so much however.
With our tummies sated and with us having sufficiently recovered from our unfortunate walk, we then contemplated our gelato choices. Pickings were mainly conventional save for the house specialty olive oil gelato. We chose that of course, as well as chocolate and the hazelnut flavors. The trio was quite a good balance, with the saltiness of the olive oil balancing the sweet nutty hazelnut flavor. The chocolate flavor was somehow less creamy and more sorbetty, and served as a palate cleanser of sorts. Oddly, I was a little disappointed by the olive oil gelato, i had imagined it to be a putrid green or yellow and tasting of solidified evoo. Silly me, Mario Batali and crew obviously have a more understated and sophisticated palate than that! After all, he is an Iron Chef..
The wine selection at Otto is enormous and given its surprising affordability, I can't wait to bring Peishan there when she's in town again =)


p.s.: I thought i saw susan sarandon while in the bathroom. She had curly hair and a nice mellow voice. I was probably mistakened, but after spotting johnny depp and spiderman in the past 2 wks, I wouldn't be surprised if it was her too... i love the cheap thrill of celeb spotting, don't you?
Otto
1 Fifth Ave (on 8th St)

1 comment:

Peishan said...

wah. i want to go! eh, issit the one we wanted to go to but got snowed out that freak snow storm in Feb?

and when are you coming to chicago? have you bought your tickets yet??? :D