I know I'm supposed to call it "billyburg" in order to be as hip as the hood, but I just can't bring myself to do it. What I could bring myself to do was to venture out on Saturday to Oznots Dish, based on the recommendation of decidedly non-chowhound friends -- and what a pleasant surprise it was. I LOVE to be pleasantly surprised, and think you will too.
The wait was long at 8:00, of course, but the bartender was virtually attitude-free and the Hill of Contentment shiraz was delicious. We also had time to check out the whacky room with its tiles on the ceilings, vaguely Jetsons decor, and the least comfortable bar stools ever. There is also a back room that is similarly decorated, and a long hall full of seltzer bottles between the two.
I don't know why I had low hopes for the food, but everyone was happy happy with their plates. Three of us ordered a couple of appetizers for our mains, and the other two went for entrees -- a lamb-burger that was just delicious and pumpkin risotto that was just okay, although he who ordered it thought it was great. I had grilled octopus that was so good I was glad no one asked for a bite. I surely didn't offer. Big charred hunks of octopus served with a tangy green mayonnaise which I think was advertised as wasabi but wasn't. A mound of seared spinach on the side was perfect too. I also had the duck basteeya (sic) which was a very nice rendition of the sweetish savory ground meat in filo pastry. Served with a mint pesto on the side, it was small but very savory and also popular with my fellow-diners. Clams steamed in chimay were perfectly briny and served with little diced potatoes and a bit of bacon for smokiness. The vegetarian had some spinach ravioli that I didn't try but that hit her spot, and we ordered a bottle of the afore-mentioned shiraz.
The waitress was really good at pacing things and I saw her keeping a close eye on all her tables to ensure the service matched the food. Although we perused the menu, no one had room for dessert, and the tab came to just $33 a head, a relative steal for such a good meal.
Oznots is located at 79 Berry Street, which is the corner of Berry and N. 9th.