A few questions for an upcoming visit (9/25) re: Otto, farmers markets...
Hey, all, just had a few questions as I'm planning a day of eating with a friend of mine.
Otto - Is there a consistently less mobbed time for lunch? I've heard it's very crowded and loud at dinner, so I thought about trying it out for lunch, maybe noon-ish? Regarding the menu, we were thinking something like this:
4 or 5 antipasti (I'm not sure how big the portions are and it seems difficult to tell from pictures)
Penne alla norma for each of us
5 or 7 cheese selection
Possibly gelato/sorbetti, but I'm thinking about trying Cones out.
We are fairly big eaters, so I'm thinking this will be fairly satisfying, but I'd love to hear any recent experiences. Also, if there is another place similar to Otto (cheaply priced pasta, a large variety of antipasti, etc.,) feel free to suggest. It seems the most common sentiment is that the pizza is mediocre and that the antipasti and well-priced pasta is the way to go.
Farmers markets - I've never been to one in NYC. Honestly, I did not want to wake up terribly early (I'm catching the train from CT) to visit before going to Otto and was hoping to go afterwards. Is there a certain time when say, vendors at Union Square begin packing up their things? I was looking to find a cider doughnut (doesn't have to be US, but it seems to the biggest, right?), which is my favorite sweet to eat in the fall, although I'm sure I wouldn't be able to help myself trying out other prepared food.
You should be fine at lunch. I like sitting at the bar to eat and the bartenders are always good at keeping track of who's waiting, etc. Never seen it mobbed during the daytime, especially a weekday.
The antipasti are all differently sized. I find that if we order a salad, vegetable side, one pizza, and one pasta that's enough for two. I'd split the pasta, personally, and order 2-3 antipasti with the cheese plate and gelato.
For the Union Square Greenmarket, the official hours are 8-6pm. Farmers do leave early if they sell out or the weather is bad. However, this applies more to the meat and produce vendors, and the ones with smaller booths generally.
The best apple cider donuts I've found are at Tree-licious. Fridays at Union Square.
I've never eaten lunch there that early, but I can tell you a late weekday lunch is never that crowded. Definitely get some cheese and charcuterie, though I'm not sure if you'll have room for 5-7 each. When I go with a friend, we usually get 2-3 each. I really love the carbonara there, but I've never tried their penne alla norma. I like Cones a lot, but I prefer gelato at Otto. I think it's one of best in the city.
You'll definitely see cider donuts at USQ farmer's market, but honestly I've never had a really good one there. I've found them usually leaden and unappetizing.