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Apr 6, 2008 05:13 PM

Otto's just for dessert

I've read enough less-than-enthusiastic comments on Otto's pizza and crowding to avoid going there for a full dinner, but I'd still like to try their hot chocolate (rated 3rd best in NYC by the New Yorker) and gelato.

Does anybody know whether a party of four is likely to find a place to sit at the bar on a Sunday around 5:30 PM, and could we get the choco and gelato there? Obviously reservations wouldn't be possible for just dessert, but I'd rather not wait long for a quick snack, either. Thanks for any tips...

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  1. You should be fine at that time.

    1. When I've gone there for dessert, their "bar" consisted of a series of high counters at which you stand. I enjoyed the novelty of it once, but if you want to relax and linger, I am not sure that this is the best place. The desserts are all first-rate, though.

      1 Reply
      1. re: btnfood

        They also have a real bar in addition to the high counters. At 530 on a Sunday, there shouldn't be many people at the bar. Haven't gotten the hot chocolate but make sure you get the olive oil coppetta

      2. I think that you wont have a problem at 5:30 on a sunday - for dessert or for a full dinner either. The restaurant is usually not that crowded at that point, and you can likely sit down at a table in the dining room where you'll be more comfortable... Walk in, ask for a table for 4, and then when you sit down let your waiter know that you're just there for some snacks. The menu is more informal and designed specifically to encourage people who just want to come in for an appetizer, or just a cheese plate, a dessert etc.

        I think otto does an excellent job with their desserts - frankly better that at mario's other restaurants. Favorites are any of the gelatos, esp hazlenut, ricotta or goat cheese (very interesting), olive oil and pistachio. The only one I didn't enjoy was the carmel which tasted salty and burnt, although some might enjoy if they like very intense caramel flavor.

        The Black and White is a perennial favorite. Whenever i order this while out with a group it disappears instantaneously. The coppas are also consistently good too, I second the olive oil but check to see what they have during any particular week - i think they change them up based on the seasons. Their affogato, while a bit plain jane, is also very well executed and satisfying if you're in the mood for espresso.

        I would also recommend if you want some variety to try a cheese plate (you can get 3, 5 or 7.) Recommend a goat, a gorgonzola and a hard cheese. The cheeses themselves are very tasty but my favorite part are the "condiments" that come with - a sour cherry compote type of thing, an apricot marmelade and a HEAVENLY truffled honey. Try the honey with any of the cheeses and you'll be wowed. Need to get my hands on some of that. Enjoy!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Nikitenka

          Great tips, thanks--I don't think I would have had gone for an olive oil gelato without a big recommendation like this, but maybe I'll branch out...if I'm not distracted by that cheese plate.

          Being able to sit at a real table for dessert would be great--thanks for suggesting that. I just assumed they'd look down on anyone taking a table for such a small $ amount at any time of day.

          Black and White -- this is a gelato, not a cookie, right? Cool. Now I'm going to have a difficult time choosing...

        2. Make sure you try the olive oil gelato...

          6 Replies
          1. re: a_and_w

            Wow, so many votes in favor of olive oil gelato...I think I have no choice but to try it now.

            1. re: NYCWannabe

              You seriously have no choice but to order the olive oil gelato. Seriously, I would have never ordered it but for the unanimous praise from this board. The single best gelato I've ever had - period. I also second the recommendation of the cheese plate. As Nikitenka correctly points out, the truffled honey is amazing. Good Luck.

              1. re: NYCWannabe

                You can get the olive oil gelato plain or with some fennel brittle, sorbet, and some candied fruits. I prefer it plain but it might be a good idea to get a fruit sorbet with it because it can be kind of heavy. They let you pick three flavors if you order sorbet/gelato.

                1. re: NYCWannabe

                  Yes--definitely try it--agree w/the others that it's my favorite gelato in the city and to get it plain instead of in the coppeta.

                  1. re: Lucia

                    See, I'd recommend the coppeta with the salt and the fruit, rather than mixing it with other flavors of gelato. Somethign about the sea salt really makes it pop for me.

                    1. re: Lucia

                      I actually think the food at Otto is overrated and the noise level is insane -- but I suffer through it for the Black and White and Olive Oil Gelato!