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Manhattan

my Otto experience...

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Restaurants & Bars 14

my Otto experience...

Meils | Dec 15, 2004 03:28 PM

I went to Otto recently with a group of friends to celebrate a birthday and had a rather mixed experience.

Good things:
They were very accomodating when we requested a specific table and sat us before the last member of our party got there (it was a surprise for her.) The food was quite good. We got the daily bruschetta (white beans), the carne grande (which the meat lovers liked a lot), three salads, two pastas, and two pizzas- goat cheese and balsamic onions and a quattro stagioni. I had read the reviews that people had written on this board complaining about the crusts and was pleasantly surprised- crunchy on the bottom, chewy on the sides, not under or overcooked. And the gelato was all it was cracked up to be and more- we had hazelnut, ginger, caramel, vanilla and pumpkin. The ginger seemed to be the tablewide winner with the vanilla in close second.

Less desirable things:
Service started off okay and ended on a bad note. We put off ordering until the guest of honor arrived and we had had a chance to catch up. The waitress recommended that we get several antipasti, some salads, and then get an entree pasta or pizza for each person. I should mention that we were 7 young women (not to say that women don't have hearty appetites) and we had already said that we were getting the large meat plate. When we ended up ordering the amount of food that we did, she suggested again that we order more. I don't know what her intention was by suggesting that and she may have honestly just thought we had under ordered (the amount of food that we got was perfect for the group.) During dinner, it was an effort to find someone to refill the water glasses and our waitress was no where to be found for most of the night. We had to make a concerted effort to try and make eye contact with her in order for her to come over to the table.
I know that some people will disagree with me about the next piece of this but:
We had brought a homemade tart for dessert and had discussed it with the waitress and manager at the beginning. They suggested that we also order some gelato and we agreed. When it came time for dessert, we ordered 3 gelato and were told that was not enough. Although they don't have a plating fee, they wanted each of us to order a gelato. Had they said that at the beginning, we would have discussed what we wanted to do but there was no mention of that stipulation. We ended up agreeing to order 5, which was still too much. Once the dessert was brought out, our waitress disapeared again and we sat around after we were finished eating waiting for her to show up. It felt as though since the 18% gratuity was included in the bill that we didn't deserve attention, because the restaurant was not bustling at this point, or else that we didn't deserve attention because we hadn't ordered enough (we had also had 3 bottles of wine.) And once we got the check, the same thing happened and we ended up waiting another 10 minutes. Three of my friends were really annoyed by this and one ended up speaking to our server at the end of the meal and telling her about our complaints.

I liked Otto's atmosphere for a group gathering, enjoyed the food, and would go there again but was disapointed with the service, especially since it was a special occasion.

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