Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Otto This World!
Like a lot of New Yorkers I absolutely love pizza. It's cheesy, saucy, comforting, (ok fattening) but always reliable. At times I feel I could eat pizza every single day. Were it not for my loving husband, I probably would.
This weekend Alex and I went to Otto--the pizzeria in the West Village that is owned by the Iron Chef himself--Mario Batali. I was so excited to go! First, it was an excuse to eat one of my all time favorite comfort foods and two, it served as a perfect date night! There was a bit of a wait (which is fantastic, considering the economy), but fortunately you have the option of ordering a glass (or bottle!) of wine while you wait. Twenty minutes later and bingo, we were ready to be seated! At first glance there are only a few menu items, but the combinations of the ingredients definitely gain your interest. Truly it isn't your ordinary pizza shop! I ordered Pane Frattau--tomato, Pecorino and a sunny side egg. Alex, a more traditionalist, ordered Spaghetti Alla Carbonara. In a word--Amazing! For dessert, we couldn't refuse homemade gelato. Again wanting to try everything we ordered three flavors: Crème Fraiche, Hazelnut and Salty Caramel. All I can say is that we entered Otto's with high expectations and left with them met.
Recall that I said this "weekend" we went to Otto.....well, I truly meant it. We returned on Sunday-this time inviting my mother in law. To start we ordered a cheese platter. The cheeses were accompanied with 3 little plates each adorned with a delicious surprise: black cherries, poached apricots and lastly, a healthy sampling of clover honey with shaved truffles. Main course? Well considering that I have a hard time letting go of favorites--I ordered the same delicious pizza from the night before. Alex ordered Buccatini All'Gricia (pig cheeks) and Alex's mom the Margherita D.O.P pizza. All of us were completely satisfied with the simplicity and flavorfullness of the ingredients. Magically each ingredient complemented each other and together created a spectacular meal, especially when accompanied with a lovely bottle of red wine. Room for dessert??? But of course! Again longing to try even more flavors--we replaced the Crème Fraiche with Olive Oil (divine-!) and chocolate in place of the Salty Caramel, and good old reliable Hazelnut remained.
Both evenings were nothing short of perfect. I was able to share a great dining experience with people I love and had the opportunity to relive my love affair with pizza (twice in a row!) What more could a pizza lover possibly ask for!
Posted by Chef Raquel Rivera-Pablo