I am teaching at NYU-Stern this semester. As such, I have much of the Greenwich and East Villages within a 10-minute walk radius, and I am looking forward to exploring the restaurants and markets in both neighborhoods.
One thing I know for sure is that I’ll be eating at Otto pretty often. With pastas at $9 ($12 for the weekly specials), I think there is hardly a better value in New York.
Today I went by myself at 1pm, and was accommodated swiftly by the hostess, after being given the choice of sitting at the bar or at a table. I took the table, and had a wonderful server, which is infrequent in my experience at Otto.
But I’m going to disregard the past from now on, for I have decided that I am going to love Otto this semester. It’s going to be my canteen. I even took work out of my bag, put on the table, and did some reading on Critical Thinking while waiting for my food.
Today I had the first pasta on the menu, the Fusilli with Sweet Italian Sausage and Escarole. When I ordered it, I regretted that the sausage was of the sweet variety, not hot. And I was looking forward to the escarole, which I love — I love bitter greens.
To my surprise, the sausage was rather spicy for a sweet sausage. The server indicated that they were cured in-house. When I asked if they were made in-house, I got a vague answer, which I took for a no. When I say spicy, I mean that the sausage was yes, slightly hot, but mainly very well seasoned.
The escarole, on the other hand, had barely a hint of bitterness, which to me is a shame. The server informed me again that due to the genius of Batali the plate’s combination yields just that: “a sausage that’s not sweet, and an escarole that is not bitter”. A bit mystifying.
The fusilli was cooked to perfection, and the best thing was that it came in a light (I saw very little fat!) brothy sauce that by the end of the meal was fully absorbed. A generous amount of grated Parmiggiano and cracked peppers took the dish to my level of deliciousness.
This pasta is my idea of a balanced meal — carbs, proteins, vegetables, without being overloaded with fat.
The rosato I had along with the pasta was a Bastianich selection, and it was good, although I like more roundness in rosés.
Next up, the carbonara.