July 10, 2011


My friend Heather R was taking a staycation--enjoying some time off from work and also enjoying our city. She had read an article on cool treats for the summer in NYC, and Mario Batali's Otto is home to one of them.

We started with some savory stuff first--it's been a while since I've been to Otto (the pizza is just, well, okayyyy to me), so I'd forgotten everything I had before but the truffle honey (wait for it) and olive oil gelato (no, srsly, stay with me).

We ordered a starter of pepperoni. I was envisioning maybe 3-4 pieces each...not the platter that arrived moments later. Holy overserving--this was for 2 girls! Yes, Heather R took home a boatload of it.

I used my first FourSquare special---by checking in on FourSquare (a free app for smart phones) I got a free glass of Flor NV Prosecco. This was very dry and a refreshing quaff on the hot, humid, sticky muggy day. Did I mention how hot, humid, sticky and muggy it was that day?

We also ordered a cheese plate, and every time I get this I revel in the truffled honey. Dear Otto--please never stop serving this!

The cheese also comes with amarena cherries and dried apricots--wonderful complements to the cheese, especially nice, tangy, goaty ones!

The Cacio e Pepe (Salt & Pepper) pizza was next ($11). It had mozzarella, pecorino, and parmagiano cheeses, with a hefty dose of salt and pepper. This was a bit greasy, and while it was salty and sort of tasty, I wasn't wowed. I always expect to be wowed by their pizza and I'm just...not. Am I missing something? Why do I keep getting so-so pizza here? Is there a must-try that I haven't...well, tried?

Here's what I go to Otto to devour: their olive-oil gelato. If it sounds hinky to you, bear with me--it's just a vanilla flavor with an olive oil base. Not so scary, right? They sprinkle sea salt flakes on top for a salty, tangy finish. Holy moly this is good. I mucked it up by getting pistachio, too ($7.00 for 2 scoops)--I should have just stuck to the vanilla. It is smooth, rich, with a grassy note from the olive oil, and just a fabulous balance of sweet and salty.

HR ordered their ice cream sandwich--a brioche roll with strawberry-buttermilk ice cream in the middle and a shmear of Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread). These are $5.00, and according to Heather, worth every single penny!

The cheese plates and the olive oil gelato are the winners to me, but I'm still not wowed by anything else. Please let me know if you've had noteworthy pizza there--I'm game for a return!

One 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10003
(212) 995 9559

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