As Summer came to a close and Fall began, my family got together to celebrate Aunt B’s birthday. As the resident foodie of the family, it fell to me to decide on the destination, with veto power resting with Aunt B. Since I like to try to expose my parents to as many restaurants outside of my neighborhood as possible, I suggested Otto. I have been there a number of times over the past couple years starting with the time I went with Yvo. I drank the Kool-Aid and have become a big fan. Although it is a Batali restaurant, it is not uber-trendy with ridiculous prices. We haven’t been there since last winter, so I was looking forward to another tasty meal.
While the restaurant is good for groups, they know how to pack you in. We were stuck in the middle of the back dining room with very little room for the servers to move around, let alone if one of us needed to go to the restroom. Not a huge deal though, wine helped.
We started with the must order large seafood platter. I get this every time. Five different seafood salads for $21. It was more than enough for the five of us even though it looks small. I especially like the rock shrimp and chickpeas.
CT says: Good, as usual. I always suggest this platter to diners and suggest trying all the dishes, even if they don’t sound appealing. I never would have thought I’d like anchovies, but these ones are amazing. Not even close to the canned fishy stuff one would expect.
We also shared the Otto Chopped Salad ($10). It was expertly dressed and delicious. Chopped salads are just better than unchopped. I think it has to do with the texture and mixing.
We decided that two pizzas and two pastas would be enough for all of us to share.
Balsamic Onion & Goat Cheese ($13).
This pizza sounded too interesting not to try. It was quite delicious and this is coming from a person who isn’t the biggest fan of onions. The onions had the sweet acidity from the balsamic which played perfectly against the tangyness of the goat cheese. Everyone at the table enjoyed it.
The thin crust was also good and had a bit of char from the oven.
Quattro Formaggi- Mozzarella, Taleggio, Cacio, Ricotta ($14).
CT has jumped on board the ricotta on pizza train and there’s no stopping her, so we got the four cheese pizza. We were taken aback when the pizza came out and we saw that each cheese was put on a different part of the pizza. How odd! How are we supposed to enjoy the four cheese goodness if we can’t eat them all together? I guess this pizza wasn’t meant for sharing? Regardless, the piece I did have was good with tangy sauce one of the cheeses.
CT says: I was a little disappointed that they were served only luke-warm, however they both tasted great! I was lucky that everyone agreed to pass over the ricotta for me. So yummy!
We also got two pastas to share.
Taccozzette con Stracotto- braised pork shoulder, tomato, basil ($10).
I enjoyed this pasta because the ridges stayed more al dente than the rest of it giving some good chew to it. The pork was nice and tender and worked well with sauce.
Pasta alla Norma- tomato, roasted eggplant, basil and bufala ricotta ($10).
I enjoyed the pasta in this dish more than the other. The super creamy ricotta was delicious. The eggplant got lost in the dish since I didn’t taste any as I ate.
CT says: Again, I enjoyed both pastas too. The food here is really great. I actually got a good amount of eggplant… guess I stole it away from TT. Sorry!
A trip to Otto is not complete without having some gelato or sorbet.
Since Dad was the odd man out when it came to sharing dessert, he decided to go big eventhough he could have been fine foregoing dessert. He got the Olive Oil Coppetta- olive oil gelato, orange curd, concord grape sorbetto and fennel brittle. Since it was such a large dessert, everyone had a taste. It was quite a unique combination of flavors, but my bite had too much dried fennel in it, which isn’t my favorite flavor.
CT & I shared some sorbet($7.50). Although you can choose up to 3 flavors, we went with two: concord grape and lemon basil. They were both great! The basil was very prevalent and worked perfectly with the tartness of the lemon. The concord grape was fresh and sweet. I love a good sorbet and these were some of the best I have ever had.
CT says: I’ve been on grape-kick this fall, so I was very excited to see this on the menu, and boy did it lived up to expectations. The lemon-basil was also a nice tart contrast. A great way to end the meal.
Mom & Aunt B shared a couple flavors of gelato($7.50): olive oil, roasted fig and dark chocolate. They were quite happy with their choices.
All in all, Otto was the perfect place to celebrate Aunt B’s birthday. The food was good, as always, even if the service was just ok. I was glad to expose the “old people” to something different in a vibrant yet casual environment. Happy Birthday Aunt B!