Tuesday, June 30, 2009


In February, I tried to get together for lunch with my friend, NY blogger David Dust. I chose Mario Batali's pizza joint, Otto, because it seemed like a good lunch place, plus it wasn't that far from where David worked. The bad news is he wasn't able to sneak out of work that afternoon, so we postponed our trip to Otto. The good news is that we were able to go there for dinner this past Thursday, along with friends Laura K and Roz.

We started out with a caprese salad. I was wondering what it would be like considering it's not quite tomato season yet...and was pleasantly surprised. The tomatoes had been oven roasted to bring out their sweetness, and the basil came in the form of pesto. Delish.

Another starter was a fennel and cucumber salad. I had expected shredded fennel along with sliced cukes, but the only fennel in the dish was a garnish of fronds. Still, nice and refreshing, and the only real vegetable I would eat for two days. (I actually only had two meals in two days in NY.)

Next came pizzas. We decided to get one each. I chose the funghi and taleggio from the "Pizza Otto" section of the menu....

...and David thought that the asparagus and goat cheese version sounded like a must-try.

Laura K went for the quattro formaggi from the Pizza Classica selection...

...and Roz chose the quatro stagioni (asparagus, mushrooms, cotto, peppers).

All of the pizzas were great, with crisp crackery crusts and flavorful toppings. My mushroom was my favorite - it was heavy on wild-flavored 'shrooms, and the cheese was tangy.

For dessert, we all went for gelati/sorbetti. I *had* to try the olive oil gelato. In fact, it was the real reason I had wanted to go to Otto in the first place. I also had the salted caramel and the pistachio.

The pistachio was mercifully not dyed green, and it had a rich nutty flavor. One of the best versions of that flavor I've ever eaten. Oddly, the caramel wasn't salty (it was dark and reminiscent of a good caramel sauce, slightly burnt and not too cloying), but the olive oil was. Salt in ice cream? A revelation! It reminded me of my mother's habit of eating Utz potato chips with vanilla ice cream. Only without the potato. Loved it!

The meal was terrific, but the company was better - thanks for a lovely evening! Oh, and I would definitely go back to Otto....

Otto Enoteca & Pizzeria on Urbanspoon