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Otto Enoteca

September 6th, 2008 · No Comments

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The perfect place for us to unwind and enjoy good simple food after the extravagance of Per Se.  One of Mario Batalli’s battalion of restaurants, this place hit the spot.  It is obviously a local favorite – still going strong after 11pm when we were seated.  Despite being busy and with no reservation, we only had to wait about 10 minutes to be seated.   Quirky system where they give you a tag with name of an italian city and on a large wall they have a train style (for lack of better words) schedule board which will bring up the city name when you can be seated   Although not initially hungry (or thirsty), the initial “let’s just walk by the place” which, after we glimpsed the crowded and inviting front room and bar turned into “let’s go in and have a drink” and quickly ended in the full meal deal (although less than normal for us – we shared the pizza), complete with bottle of wine.  The place is packed and the tables are close together but that adds to the lively atmosphere rather than deterring from it.   You can easily see what your neighbours are eating – in fact, we took our neighbours recommendation of the proscuitto and arugula pizza ( a great suggestion) and they even shared the house fruit-flavoured grappa with us (you get a selection of 3 rather healthy servings of grappa).  Extensive wine list from Italy with a price-point for all wallets.  The waiter suggested an interesting wine we had never tried – a savuto red wine made from a mix of grapes.  Complementary breadsticks and rustic bread start of the meal. We then tried the weekly special – mortadella sprinkled with pistachios and olive oil – vaguely reminiscent of bologna, the bastardized cheaper version of mortadella, the fat in this meat comes from the pig’s neck and the taste is incomparable.  Next followed the perfectly cooked thin-crust pizza topped with proscuitto and arugula.  Although we initally weren’t going to have dessert (who were we kidding?) – we opted with the gelato/sorbetto (you can choose from 1 to 3 flavors), from which we constructed a delicious combination of lemon basil sorbetto, salted caramel gelato and bufalo ricotta gelato (smooth and creamy).  We ended up spending more on booze ($42) then the meal itself ($30).  Of course the meal was a little cheaper since we shared an appetizer, pizza (most people order a personal thin 12” pizzas) and dessert although it was still plenty of food.   Overall, very reasonably priced simple italian food in a lively and noisy restaurant filled with people of all ages although mainly a younger crowd, at least partly due to its proximity to NYU.  We would definitely go back.

$75 for 1 appetizer, 1 pizza,  1 dessert for 2 plus a full bottle of wine

Otto Enoteca
1 Fifth Avenue (Entrance on 8th St)
New York, NY
212.995.9559


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Tags: Favorites · New York

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