My most recent trip to the city involved revisiting favorite spots and exploring some new ones. Otto
(8th Street just east of 5th Avenue) is a place to which I frequently find myself returning. Seriously, I’ve probably been to this restaurant more
than 8 times in the last couple of years – it’s just really good. The design of the space is cool with the large bar area being designed to evoke an Italian train station, including a large destination board which taunts with the names of Italian cities I’m longing to visit. Damn you, Mario Batali! Perhaps if I spent less money in your establishments I could actually get to Italy with greater frequency…
We had intended to have a light(ish) lunch here prior to having something a bit more substantial later, but, we ended up making this our main meal of the day – leaving plenty of room for liquid calories. Don’t ever say I’m not a planner! Speaking of liquids; I’m usually all over the wine choices when I’m at Otto. They serve their wine by the glass selections in adorable little vessels called quartos (who knew this posting would be an education in Italian numerals!) which I love. It’s like getting a milkshake with a little extra on the side know what I mean? On this visit, however, we opted for beer, anticipating that we would be drinking bourbon later in the day and finally being wise enough to understand that it is best to stick with either grain or grape to minimize the pain of the morning after. We only had one beer each, but, boy were they good! I honestly can’t remember what Lisa drank (maybe a pilsner?), but I might never forget how tasty the Ommegang BPA was! It was the perfect temperature, beautifully hoppy and served by a man with an Irish brogue. How happy was I?
Here’s a picture of the pizza we shared – loaded with prosciutto and arugula, crispy and piping hot – divine! An aside: I think it was only after working in restaurants (for years), and having children of my own, that I truly began to appreciate how special hot food is. Do not underestimate the power of serving me hot food! We paired it with a couple of vegetable selections; my favorite spicy broccoli rabe with ricotta salata and some dynamite brussel sprouts. Can someone please remind me why I didn’t like vegetables like these as a child? They seriously rock my world these days and I am happy to say that I am now old enough that I can’t remember a time when I wouldn’t dive into these greens with gusto.
eat your vegetables!!
Whether you’re looking for a place to have a meal with the family, drinks and a bite with a friend, or even a (gasp!) date spot, Otto just might fit the bill for you. And, if you’re looking for someone to join you there, give me a shout. I’m always up for an Otto adventure.