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Observations about Otto

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Observations about Otto

Flynn | Mar 22, 2003 10:02 PM

Since so much has already been written about Otto and the pizza there, I thought I'd share some other impressions.

Stopped there early today as it wasn't crowded around 5-ish. I was immediately offered a seat at the bar and I asked for a table because I didn't want to seat elbow to elbow with others.

The table offered me was okay but near the busy kitchen so I asked to be moved which they did graciously. I wound up sitting in the back room near a window overlooking the mews. It was pleasant to look outside. Otto's room is IMO painted too dark a kind of coral color. What separates one room from the other is a partition that holds wine glasses and bottles. On the ledge next to my table, overlooking the mews, were dozens of magnums of what looked like prosecco and some other sparkling wine. What it was doing on the ledge is beyond me.

Two slices of bread wrapped in waxed paper are brought to the table along with commercial breadsticks which are also wrapped in paper. No olive oil to dip them in. The bread was very strange. It was like something one would put in a child's lunchbox.

I had a couple of ramekins to start ($4 each) - one was a delicious eggplant caponata; the best and sweetest I've ever had and artichoke with onions and almonds. Also very good. I dipped some of the bread into the ramekin but it would have been better if separate olive oil had been provided.

Of course I had to order a pizza just to satisfy my own hound curiousity. I saw a couple go by - a Margarita and one that looked topped with marinara sauce. No, I wanted something a bit different. I chose a swiss chard with goat cheese ($13). Well, everything I'd heard about Otto's pizza is true judging by the one I had. The crust was a combination of matzo and pita bread. If you've ever had the pizza at the defunct California Pizza on University Place, then you'll be familiar with the one at Otto. I liked the topping so scraped it off and ate it on top of the bread.

I also tried the much heralded olive oil gelato. It came with some strawberries and the first teaspoons were good. Nothing like I could have imagined. Just drizzles of oil on top of the ice cream. Once I got to the bottom half, I didn't enjoy the vanilla gelato and found it cloying and sweet. Disappointing.

Service was fine and polite. Lunch with two quartinos of wine came to about $55 before tip. Would I go back? Maybe with a few friends for wine and appetizers and some other gelatos. That's all folks.

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