Full disclosure, this is probably the 15th time I’ve eaten at Otto so I already knew what to expect.
Otto is owned by my number one most favorite celebrity chef, Mario Batali. I mean I really love Mario Batali, like I’d say I love him like I love a Kardashian and, trust me, that is the truest form I love thatI have to offer. In case you’re wondering how Mario Batali feels about me (and really how could you not be wondering that), sadly we haven’t met yet, but I feel 100% certain that if we did he would love me as much as I love him and invite me over to his place to share a delicious meal with his family. Obv.
I’ve had the pleasure of eating at two of Mario Batali’s very expensive restaurants, Babbo and Del Posto, as well as two of the more moderately restaurants inside his fabulous Italian food market, Eataly. Otto, however, is my favorite go-to spot and I was back there again this past Friday.
The food at Otto is always great, they are fabulous with food allergies and the prices are super reasonable. Otto was the first restaurant that started keeping my allergies on file in their computer system. These days many restaurants do that, but I’ll still never forgot that second time I ever made a reservation at Otto 3 or 4 years ago and, after typing in my last name, the reservationist calmly said, “and I see you have the following allergies,” and proceeded to read all of my allergies back to me! Now whenever I walk in my server and the kitchen have already been prepped. How awesome is that!?
I often start out a meal at Otto by sharing a cheese plate with my dinner companions. Since there were 5 of us on Friday we went with 5 cheeses. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it, but I assure you it was great. The best part of the cheese plate though is that you get the most awesome bonus accompaniment of truffle honey. Nope you didn’t read that wrong; Truffle Freaking Honey!
The main menu at Otto consists of pizza and pasta only and I have to sheepishly admit that I’ve gotten the same pizza all but two of the times I’ve eaten there. Both times I’ve strayed my choices have been delicious and I’ve taken enough bites of other people’s dishes to know that the Otto kitchen rarely misses, but I still hate to stray from my Romana pizza.
All the pizzas at Otto are thin crust roman style, topped with variety of fresh, and often seasonal, ingredients. The Romana, aka my perfect pizza, is topped with tomato sauce, anchovies, capers, chilies and mozzarella. The chilies are nice and spicy which pairs perfectly with the tang of the capers and the brineyness of the anchovies while the creamy richness of the mozzarella cuts right through those strong flavors and keeps them right in check.
When dining at Otto for the first time, I always warn everyone that it’s imperative that they save room for dessert. Otto is famous for their gelato, especially their Olive Oil Gelato. I know that Olive Oil Gelato sounds weird at first, but once people try it they’re usually converted. Think about really good olive oil you’ve had in the past. I don’t mean the bottle of Filippo Berio you have in your pantry for every day use, I mean the kind they give you at a great restaurant to dip your bread in. The kind that is light, floral and a tiny bit sweet. At Otto they’re using the good stuff in their gelato.
I must admit though that the Olive Oil is only my second favorite flavor. My favorite gelato at Otto is the Caramel which is not overly sweet, but has more of a complex burnt sweetness to it, similar to the top of Creme Brule. Per a past suggestion from a waiter, I usually ask for a side of sea salt to sprinkle on top to make it Salted Caramel Gelato!
As always the meal at Otto was great. We only had two glasses of wine between the five of us and the meal cost $40 each. $40 at a celebrity chef owned retaurant in Manhattan is like giving the food away.
One other awesome thing to note about Otto is that if you’re gluten free for any reason they can do all pizza and pasta’s gluten free.
Food rating: B+
Service/food allergy accommodations: A
Overall rating: Super Yummy