Mario Batali has a few restaurants scattered around NYC, including the easy-going and relaxed Otto on the corner of 8th street and 5th avenue. We’ve been a few times now, and I’m still struggling to find the substance through all the hype about this place.
The wine list is pretty impressive, with a couple hundred options spanning a wide price range, so that is hard to beat. And their cheese plates are delicious. They offer up three different dipping sauces to go along with the cheese: black truffled honey, apricot and black cherry, and the cheese are pretty good as well.
But the entrees are just blah. Last night was a pasta puttanesca and a pizza with artichoke hearts, chile peppers, bell peppers and garlic. Neither was particularly impressive. Ditto for the previous few visits.
Combine the food quality with the obvious high volume turnover approach to their service and I’m just not all that impressed with the place.
If you are looking for a fun bar scene for a pre- or post-dinner cheese plate and glass of wine, Otto should definitely be a consideration. But not really a great dinner option, especially when I compare it to the comparably priced Nebo in Boston where I had dinner a couple weeks back.
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