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Sep 20, 2007 06:54 AM

Otom Review

Two nights ago we ate at Moto's significantly cheaper and odd sister Otom (moto backwards). Food is more upscale, trendy (note that I'm not using trendy in a negative sense) comfort food. Excellent though. We started with salmon ceviche. Normally you don't make ceviche out of salmon but this was incredible. Served on homemade tortilla chips, the salmon shared the same cube size as cucumber and just perfectly flavored. No fishy flavor, just fresh simple flavors.

We also started with the trio of mini-burgers served on brioche- one was with a fried quail egg on top, one was with shitakes and swiss and the other was cheddar with thick cut bacon. Great, though nothing brand new. Nice though that our burgers were served medium instead of well like some places do. The homemade ketchup was heirloom tomatoes and the mustard was a very nicely spiced simple yellow.

For entrees we had short rib ravioli and mac and cheese. Both were stunningly good, but very classic preps. The mac and cheese isn't the homestyle you might be used to, but closer to a modern take on it with panko breadcrums and while creamy, not overly so. The ravioli are large ravioli with perfectly soft meat inside.

For dessert we shared an apple crumble served in a small crock with oatmeal and brown sugar crust. Simple, tart, sweet tasty.

Total bill including 2 cocktails and 2 glasses of wine was about 110 before tip. In my mind, very very affordable.

Service was perfect as we have come to expect from Moto, though at Otom we didn't know what to expect. Waiter was friendly, not pushy, and really knew how to attend to a table. Only very very minor complaint- I really hate those stemless riedel tumblers they use for wine. Riedel should be shot for making these. Wine glasses have stem for a reason. If this is all I'm going to get bent out of shape about, we're in pretty good shape :P

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  1. Glad to hear someone else's positive comments. I too enjoyed my meal at Otom. Here's what I already posted on LTH:

    I arrived at Otom tonight with some trepidation based upon others' reviews here. After the meal, I'm certain to return based upon having enjoyed fantastic service and excellent food. Based upon the menu offerings, I'm guessing (and sincerely hoping) that they've had an opportunity to judge what works and what doesn't.

    My friend and I arrived without a reservation, so we started off at the bar -- nice drink menu (generally, $12 for mixed drinks and creative martinis) and well mixed -- so far so good.

    We were seated within 10 minutes. Bread service featured three Red Hen breads -- a grain (can't remember more), pumpernickel-onion and french. The bread was typical Red Hen, no surprises, but always respectable. The butters (including the silky honey butter) were very nice, served at room temperature.

    Shared appetizer: the Cobb salad - Wonderful smoked turkey, Maytag blue cheese, crispy pancetta, avocado and vinaigrette. This was a very nice combination of flavors and the perfect amount of vinaigrette . . . a great beginning.

    Main courses: As our waitress explained, they just added my main course in the past week, which was the braised pork belly with a beet reduction and a rosemary reduction and a vegetable combination, resembling a mirepoix. This was fantastic. Crispy on the outside, tender inside, and wonderfully flavorful pork belly . . . one of the best pork belly courses I've had of late. This is not to be missed.

    Also outstanding was my friend's short rib ravioli -- tender pasta and melt in your mouth short rib. This could not have been better.

    We finished with the banana split -- essentially, three portions of frozen banana puree on lollipop sticks, all coated in semisweet chocolate, and one with maraschino cherry, another with pineapple and the last with caramel. Simple, maybe childish . . . but delicious.

    Service was excellent in all respects -- a waitress who knew the menu inside and out, a sommelier who knew the wine list, a capable bartender and perfect timing of courses. After reading the mixed reviews here, I was shocked to come away so happy. I'm hoping that my meal tonight is representative of what Otom will be turning out in the future. If so, they're sure to please. Tonight, they pleased the hell out of me.

    EDITED as follows: After a good night sleep and some reflection, I do have some minor issues with Otom. While I do not have the benefit of having a menu on hand, I thought the appetizer listings were a little too one-dimensional -- too many salad "type" dishes. I also think it's a mistake to offer the mac & cheese as a $14 main course. I think this would work better as a less expensive, splittable side. Finally, while I enjoyed my dessert and had difficulty choosing between the one I ordered and the sweet potato flan, I think they need more than four dessert choices -- maybe only one more, but at least 5-6. Anyway, these are just some of the thoughts that I have. But last night I was presented with a fantastic dinner in all respects and for that I am thankful.

    2 Replies
    1. re: BRB

      I found both reviews valuable...thank you.

      1. re: SandraB

        Any time- let me know if there are any questions I might be able to answer for you with regards to either Moto or Otom.

    2. I stumbled across this post, interested to hear what others thought of Otom. I have heard mixed, mediocre reviews so far. I live on Fulton, a few blocks from Otom, so naturally I had to check it out, having walked by it every morning with my dog.

      We started off with the Thai curry mussels with snap peas and coconut. The dish was good but I feel like I've had something similar at several other restaurants. For entrees, my sister had the sauteed grouper with crimson lentils, rapini & caper berries. Boy was this bland, we were both very disappointed. Luckily, the short rib ravioli that everyone else has praised, more than made up for the uninspiring fish. I would for sure order the ravioli again.

      For dessert, we ordered the banana split "lollipops." I thought they were really good and appreciated the creativity. I wanted to order more!

      I can't really comment on the service since we sat at the bar but I will say that one of the bartenders was extremely unfriendly. Considering we had 6 drinks plus the meal above, I can't believe how poor his attitude was. Speaking of drinks, they have an extensive drink menu, all with fun garnishes. Between my sister and I, we tried 4 of the specialty drinks and they were all excellent...the sort of alcoholic drink that can lead to trouble since they taste like candy (Flight of the Concorde tastes like grape Kool-Aid).

      Though the food didn't absolutely blow me away, I will definitely be coming back to try some of their other dishes and enjoy the pleasant atmosphere. I also would come back just to grab drinks.

      2 Replies
      1. re: LudBag

        I ate there again a couple of nights ago. I was without my fiancee, so I figured what the heck. I was mainly spending time talking with management and the bartender. Only thing I ordered differently was the mussels which I really liked but wish there were more of on the plate.

        1. re: LudBag

          I know that Otom has been around for a little while now, but I think it takes many restaurants quite a while to find out all of the dishes that work and those that do not work. Otom has enough big hits on the menu, and prepared with great skill, that I think it will eventually become a much better and more consistent restaurant . . . I hope so.

          I was also impressed with the outstanding service . . . better than most restaurants in my opinion, and I think that great service is usually indicative of a team that's all on the same page.

          From your review and reviews I've read elsewhere, Otom certainly has some work to do, and it'll be interesting to see what the next several months bring. I'm looking forward to trying it again.