HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
What are you cooking today? Get great advice
TELL US

Otto

m
MarkC Mar 27, 2008 09:37 PM

Anyone been lately? I'd chosen it as a kid-friendly Italian, but saw recent reports of mediocre food (maybe the two go together).

  1. Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. deborah24 Mar 28, 2008 06:51 AM

    I happen to love Otto. I think the food is very good and the wine is great. It's usually a zoo. We usually sit at the bar, which wouldn't work for you, I guess, if you are bringing kids. Maybe others feel differently.... I'm very biased, especially when Dennis is behind the bar.

    3 Replies
    1. re: deborah24
      MagnumWino Mar 28, 2008 07:33 AM

      I totally agree with deborah. My wife and I love Otto and make it a point to go there whenever we're in the city. We always go late in the afternoon for wine and appetizers and sit at the bar. We usually leave the ordering up to Dennis, he never disappoints.

      1. re: deborah24
        p
        pellegrino31 Mar 28, 2008 07:42 AM

        I'm a big Otto fan too and the last time I went was end of December for my birthday. Food was great and we had a lot of fun. I saw lots of tables with families - definitely kid friendly.

        1. re: pellegrino31
          f
          Feaster18 Mar 28, 2008 08:23 AM

          I think Otto has great food too! Great for kids because they have pizza and gelato and great for you because they have wine and antipasti and pasta dishes!

      2. r
        rrems Mar 28, 2008 08:28 AM

        I completely disagree with the other posters, and I am a fan of Babbo and Lupa, so I'm not a Batali-basher. The food we had on our one visit to Otto was bland. Aside from the pizza with bottarga (couldn't taste the bottarga, even after I got them to put more on it) I can't recall what we had, it was so forgettable.

        1. k
          kobetobiko Mar 28, 2008 08:59 AM

          I am much more fond of their antipasti and desserts than their pizza or pasta. Your kids will love their gelato! (Olive oil gelato is decadent!)

          2 Replies
          1. re: kobetobiko
            m
            MomoMed Mar 28, 2008 09:16 AM

            I love Otto because of its price proposition. It's high level food at a low level price. Very nicely executed food with good and interesting flavor. The proposition becomes even better when you throw in the festive atmosphere, big wine list(with very healthy pours by the glass) and fun design of the restaurant.

            I hate Otto because of its consistently bad service. Even at four strong, the hosts/hostesses can't seem to squeeze out a "hello" when you stand at the podium. People with reservations are consistently seated 20-30 minutes late. And try flagging down your waiter to get a check at the end of dinner. You'll at least get some exercise craning your neck.

            So it's love/hate for me.

            1. re: kobetobiko
              deborah24 Mar 28, 2008 09:27 AM

              The olive oil gelato is heaven on earth. Esp when you get those chunks of salt!! YUM!!

              Get it on the brioche with Nutella......

            2. charlie_b Mar 28, 2008 09:14 AM

              i love Otto, but for some slightly different reasons than posted below.

              1) i rarely drink when i'm out, so i cannot comment on the wine. i've had it their before, by the glass. their by-the-glass prices seem steep, but the pour is very generous, so i think they're pretty fairly priced. but i haven't yet found an italian wine i like, so i'm not moved. they tend to be too acidic for me all around.

              2) pizza and pasta, in my experience, are fine, but nothing special. then again, pizza and pasta are not my thing, and i rarely find either to be anything special.

              3) the antipasti vegetables are stellar, and are usually what i make my meal from. and/or special ensalates. i've not really tried the meat or fish antipasti, but i suspect they are good as well.

              4) i go to Otto for the gelato. amazing stuff, their gelato is. the olive oil is a can't miss. the pistachio actually tastes like good pistachios with no artificial color, flavor, or (ick) almond. the hazelnut is lovely. the butter pecan is again satisfyingly salty and complex. i usually enjoy any "unusual" flavors. last time i went, i tried one of their constructed desserts for the first time (i got the olive oil copetta) and it was amazing. i don't usually like sorbets, but the flavor intensity in them, esp. the tangerine, was jaw-dropping. and the fennel brittle, delicious (also good combined with the pistachio gelato).

              alekz

              1. b
                bouffe Mar 28, 2008 09:21 AM

                I love Otto because of Dennis (mentioned above). As far as kids go they will enjoy the pizza and gelato. For adults I would get the eggplant caponata, white anchovy/bread crumb antipasti, and any of the salads. Don't forget the house cured meats and the Coach Farms triple cream cheese! I am sure because of the volume that Otto does there are many "off nights" but for the most part I have always had consistent results.

                1. g
                  ginsbera Mar 28, 2008 09:34 AM

                  MarkC, Otto is a very fun restaurant. Great for small parties of groups. Kid friendly, well sure, they have pizza and pasta and although some variations offer upscale ingredients you will find something for kids. On the topic of food though, I have to say it's not all that great. I find the pizza to be extremely inconsistent, sometimes soggy and bland, other times nicely crisp and flavorful. Pasta is similar. Always cooked very al dente (a warning for some) some ingredients make sense, while others just don't work.

                  My favorite meal there was the most simple, cheese plate, bowl of pasta and two kind of gelato (with the olive oil being my favorite).

                  1. l
                    Lucia Mar 28, 2008 09:40 AM

                    Otto is great, and lots of challenging things on the menu--it's not a dumbed-down kids menu at all. I like the antipasti, salads, cheese, pizzas, pastas, and of course the gelato. The only bad thing I've had there was one pasta that was overcooked. Otherwise, I haven't been disappointed, and neither have the friends and family I've brought.

                    1. s
                      sangold Mar 28, 2008 11:42 AM

                      I love Otto! It is definitely kid friendly and the food is great. I tend to order a selection of their cheeses rather than dessert. I would recommend making a reservation, as it is a madhouse!

                      1. k
                        kpsquared Mar 28, 2008 12:14 PM

                        I'll add my voice to the chorus: Otto is great! My favorite menu items are the cauliflower, the (mixed) seafood antipasti (the octopus and the anchovies are standouts if you don't get the whole thing) and the funghi e tallegio pizza. Also, the cheeses are great - limited choices, but all good, and generous portions. For dessert, get the affogatto...delicious.

                        Hmm, now I'm hungry. Maybe I'll have to go tonight and brave the non-rezzie crowd...

                        Show Hidden Posts