Monday, September 14, 2015

NYC Dining: OTTO Enoteca Pizzeria

When I was in New York City for my internship this summer, three different people told me that I had to eat at  OTTO Enoteca Pizzeria in Greenwich Village. They said the bustling Italian restaurant, owned by celebrity chef Mario Batali, had amazing thin-crust pizza in slightly strange combinations. I was eager to test it out – if three people recommend the same place, it has to be good, right?

I finally went to Otto with my dad, on my very last night in the Big Apple. We made reservations for 6:30 p.m. and were seated right away. Otto has a very calm, relaxed atmosphere. All of the signage and paper items feature the restaurant's signature red color. Even the lighting in the dining area has a slightly orangey tone. Compared with most other restaurants in New York City, Otto had a large and spacious interior. 

As we sat down, the waiter brought out bread and honey, and we also ordered red wine. Since my dad and I are completely obsessed with cheese, we naturally began our meal with a cheese platter. My dad simply told the waiter to bring out any five cheeses he wanted. I'm honestly not sure what we ended up with, but every cheese on the plate was delicious. Based off an educated guess, though, I think my favorite kinds were Tuada (sheep) cheese and Coach Tripe Cream (goat) cheese. Unfortunately all of my cheese plate photos turned out blurry... but here is a picture of the honey.

Moving on to the pizzas. The pies were medium-sized but very thin, so I think they are meant to be personal sized. We chose the Romana (tomato, anchovy, capers, chilies, mozzarella) and the Swiss Chard & Goat Cheese. I know the average person wouldn't find these appealing, but my dad and I are extremely adventurous eaters.

Both pizzas were incredible – savory, flavorful, and perfectly sized. I couldn't even tell you which I liked better. After having a slice of the Romana, I'd say, "This is definitely my favorite!" Then I'd take a bite out of the  Swiss Chard & Goat Cheese pizza and change my mind.  

I guess the two flavors are so different that you can't compare them. The Romana tasted like a traditional pizza with the added saltiness of anchovies. I'd stay away from this one if you aren't an anchovy fan! The Swiss Chard & Goat Cheese tasted unique, bold, and strong. If you love the taste of goat cheese, you'd absolutely love this.

Besides the awesome flavor combinations, the thing that really sticks out about Otto's pizzas is the crust. The thin layer was cooked to perfection – it was not too hard, not to dough-y, and had the perfect amount of char on the bottom. 

For dessert, we ordered the famed Olive Oil Gelato (well, technically, we ordered half olive oil and half vanilla). The combination of olive oil and gelato sounds gross, I know. But actually, the pairing worked amazingly well. The smooth, rich texture almost melted in my mouth, and the flavor reminded me vaguely of salted caramel... I guess it was the combination between salt and sugar. If you ever got to Otto, you must get this gelato!

The location of Otto can't be better, either. The great night life of Greenwich Village lies only a few streets away, and you'll find Washington Square Park right around the corner. 

Verdict: Believe all of the hype surrounding OTTO Enoteca Pizzeria! I've had loads of New York-style pizza in NYC, and the pies at Otto are my absolute favorite. In a world where pepperoni dominates, the unique toppings and flavors feel fresh and welcoming. I'd recommend the cheese plate and olive oil gelato as well.