May 12, 2009

Otto - Batali on a Budget

How can you dine on Mario Batali food without spending too much? We headed out to Otto, his pizzeria, to see if this was possible.

The diners were a mixed clientele - all different age groups from all walks of like (from NYU students to tourists to those celebrating big events in their lives).

The bar was lively with the chatter of waiting diners and the atmosphere was fun with classic 80's music played during dinner.

We started with the cheese plate (5 for $15): Parmigiano reggiano (cow's milk from Emilia-Romagna), Marzelino (sheep, Toscana), Tuada (sheep, Toscana), Pecorino di Fossa (sheep, Tuscany), and Gorgonzola dolce (cow, Lombardia). Our favourites were the pecorino (because it's sharp and has a nice nutty taste) and gorgonzola (because it's strong yet creamy).

We loved the spreads that came with the cheese including truffle honey and cherries.

Our own quartino wine tasting (left to right):
Antico Broilo (2006 Friuli) Cabernet Franc ($17): slightly vegetal, light and not fruity, a little grass and earthiness. Good food wine.
Oddero Barbera d'Alba (2006 Piedmont) ($12): this had a menthol nose, slight cedar, fresh red fruit, medium to full body and cranberry finish.
Morellino Di Scanscino I Perazzi La Mozza (2006 Toscana) ($12): Very fruit forward and juicy in flavour, although a little too fruity with a short finish.

Eggplant Caponatina ($4): This was a cold, earthy, and hearty starter. It was simply made with eggplant, tomatoes, and garlic. Good balance between the salt and sweetness of the tomatoes, reminded us of mom's home cooking.

With so many pizza choices, we wanted them all and ended up choosing three, though we were full after one! The first one is the Meatball pizza (Tuesday special, $13): Thin crust and nice spicy meatballs. Loved the meatballs, could easily taste the herbs and they were not overcooked.

Pane Frattau ($13): With tomato, pecorino, and egg. We love breaking the yolk on anything. Thin, crunchy crust, combined with the saltiness from the sharp cheese.

Romana ($12): With tomato, mozzarella, anchovy, capers, and chilies. The anchovies were meaty... a great pie with sweet sauce and the spiciness of the chilies not overpowering the perfume of the anchovy and capers.

Affogato ($8): espresso, whipped cream, and vanilla gelato. Similar to a well-made iced coffee, this dessert was rich, creamy, and not too sweet.

Strawberry Rhubarb Coppetta ($10): Vanilla gelato, fragole zabaglione, ginger gelato, poached rhubarb, lemon polenta cake. Every bite was different, but somehow, all of the different flavours went well together.

Otto is located at One Fifth Ave (at 8th Street).

Otto Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

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