tried otto last night with hubby. once seated, a busboy threw some stale, burnt bread on the table (no olive oil) and left. this was it for 10-15 minutes until we had to ask another busboy if we could order. waiter comes over, harried but nice. ok, fine. i don't have to hate this place. WRONG! our app seemed to be waiting in the wings somehow (are they psychic) bc it came within a minute. no joke. (shrimp w/chickpeas) odd and immediately made us feel they wanted our table turned....fast. not cool, esp after standing in their ill-designed bar for 20 min. underwhelming pizzas came (i thought i ordered some flavor but...) and i needed something to put on them. hot oil, perhaps? i asked twice. on third attempt, busboy brought it. we never saw waiter after ordering, nobody checked to see how dinner was. i was pi**ed. told mgr (she brought the check as waiter must have been out smoking something and i hope it was better than our dinner) and she insincerely apologized, told us they were busy (aren't they always?) and that she was sorry we won't come back. it is the first time we've ever left a 12% tip.
the bread never comes with olive oil...as with some areas of Italy.
there is no question that the service can be lacking in the back...which is why eating in the well-designed bar area is the way to go.
the verdure, carne and pesce always come out quickly because they're all pre-prepped and served cold--as is normal with an enoteca in Rome (like Gusto for example).
the pizzas can indeed be underwhelming...though again, more authentic than any others in NY. but I rarely order them since the rest of the menu is fantastic. the lardo pizza, however, is fantastic and flavorful.
how were your wines?
The bread is not burnt.. It has a chared crust and is supposed to come that way.. I would be really surprised if it were stale too.. Perhaps you did not like this bread.. I love it.Its from Suillivan St Bakery if I am not mistaken
The shrimp w/ chickpeas is a cold salad that has already been made.. I really like this dish and Mario who is a lover of chickpeas really lets them shine in this offering..
Agreed with that the waitstaff can be a little off..
What didnt you like about the bar? Why was it designed wrong? I think the bar is gorgeous as well as the marble counter tops in the enterance.. Also the wines are really great there.. Joe Bastianich as your wine guy certianly helps..
I wish you ordered dessert..
I always think of the film THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN when I watch people dining at Otto. It really appears as if they're paying to be abused, between the din of the place, the impatient servers and the unexciting pizza. At least they char the crust, which is good.I was shocked they wont give you extra sauce on a pie, but so be it. Still, people go there to be able to say the've been, I guess. The pasta is not good at all. It is a fun place to have a drink early-ish, though. They pour a fair glass of wine and the bar has life until it gets so loud you can't hear what your date is saying.
re: sing me a bar
I find that a little insulting for someone to say the only reason people go there is to say they have been .. Almost as insulting if I said, Mario Batalli cooks really good Italian food and anyone who doesnt like Otto should stick with Sabarros. Because they are not sophisticated enough to understand authentic Italian food. I understand that in the end its personal choice, but please dont discredit people who like this style of food. The same way the original poster had never had a perfectly charred piece of artisinal bread and decided to say it was burnt and stale? You say the pasta is not good at all? Have you tried every pasta? How could it not be good at all?
Sorry you didn't like Otto. Personally, I think the huge bar area is fabulous--it makes me actually not mind waiting for a table. And I love the flavorful Sullivan Street Bakery bread. And, while I don't think they have the best pizza in the city, I think it's pretty top notch and I love that you can get uncommon toppings like lardo and marinated anchovies. It is a harried, hectic place--probably not a good choice for a romantic meal or special occasion--but for a casual Friday-night dinner, I think it's great.