Lunch with a Gelato Virgin at Otto

Lately, I’ve been on a run with eating out with new stomachs people recently, which is refreshing since Helen can’t join me because she’s all the way up at Columbia University for her rotation (in other words, internship for her pharmacy program). Robyn and K are busy with work. So I met another reader, Drew, for lunch at Otto.

Prior to meeting up with Drew, we exchanged emails in terms of what he’s interested in trying. I found out he never ate gelato before. NEVER ate gelato?! That’s…sad. Since we’re here, this is the perfect spot to try out the best one, in my opinion for fabulous gelato.

Otto's menu Otto's Interior in the back Otto’s menu & Interior

When we met, we introduced ourselves, shook hands and asked for a table for two, we’re escorted to the back area of the dining room where it’s relatively packed with diners and the noise level is lively yet it’s tolerable enough that we don’t have to shout over each other. After talking over five minutes or so, getting acquainted to each other and discussing what is good here, we finally made our choices and ordered.

Lardo Bruschetta Lardo Bruschetta

Since I love pork and I do like fat a lot (to a certain extent), I proposed to Drew that we should share the bruschetta of the day, the lardo bruschetta. How can you turn down lardo? The paper-thin, translucent sheets of pork fat covering the span of thick, crusty toasts. We’re happy people despite spiking our cholesterol points up a bit.

Prosciutto Arugula Pizza, close up Prosciutto Arugula Pizza

I told Drew that their pizza is good but nothing like famed DiFara’s (I do admit I haven’t eaten there yet but hearing a lot of praises about it). But he can’t help it and ordered the prosciutto arugula pizza. The pizza’s thin, slightly crisp and chewy crust was unique in terms of how it was cooked – griddled, not baked in an oven. The unique combination of toppings of tissue-thin slices of salty prosciutto ham, speckled with creamy fresh mozzarella, and barely wilted, bitter arugula in every bite was pretty good. But the thing is, it doesn’t amaze me. It lacked an extra element that would take this pizza to extraordinary heights.

My Spaghetti alla Carbonara Spaghetti alla Carbonara

I ordered the spaghetti alla carbonara since I prefer their pasta dishes more than their pizza. The al dente spaghetti meets the creamy, salty (from the pancetta), egg-y sauce was sensational to my mouth. Probably a little too much salt than I would like but it’s still tasty. Drew liked my pasta more than his pizza, that I’m willing to give him a larger share since I want to save my stomach for…[points down]

Olive Oil Coppetta, close up
Olive Oil Coppetta, close up

GELATO! I love Otto’s gelato. I personally think it’s the best in Manhattan. The one you see above is their signature olive oil coppetta. Basically it’s a gelato sundae that has a large scoop or two of their dreamy, creamy, fruity olive oil gelato topped with lemon curd, candied kumquats, a tiny scoop of tangerine sorbet and fennel brittle, with a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt to kick up and unify the flavors like a harmonious symphony. Ahhh… I dream about this coppetta. In terms with Drew, the gelato virgin, he had multiple foodgasms for the entire span he had this coppetta in his possession (as you’ll see below).

Drew's no longer a gelato virgin
He’s no longer a gelato virgin

Yay! I spread the word on gelato deliciousness… He told me recently that he took a friend of his to Otto and try to convert her to liking it, except she’s not too fond of the flavor. Oh well…at least he tried.

Rhubarb Coppetta, close up
Rhubarb Coppetta

The other one we ordered (or more like me, since I chose them all) was rhubarb coppetta. I like to eat seasonal fruits or veggies whenever possible, so I took a chance at it since it did read interesting on the menu. The base flavor was Meyer lemon lavender gelato. Underneath it were cubes of semi-crunchy polenta cake and the entire concoction is topped off with a light and creamy Prosecco zabaglione, pistachios and poached rhubarb. What disappointed me was the fact that the rhubarb flavor wasn’t really working out well with the other components. All I tasted was the strong zing of tartness from the stewed rhubarb initially, then it dissipated (after five seconds) to the other parts of the coppetta that were disparate that left my mind thinking, “I want the olive oil coppetta back.” Except Drew’s eating the last bite as I was thinking about it.

So, that’s the end of our lunch. I have to haul my butt back to work, I left Drew to go to Joe since he’s craving for caffeine and I do love their coffee, as most of you might know.

I’ve been tagged…
I’ve been tagged by another food blogger/pastry chef of the blog, Eat Me Outta Here whom I honestly don’t recall meeting despite the fact she did say that I was there when she’s cooking that day. Hmmm…I meet too many people that my mind can’t fathom the myriad of faces I’ve encounter. I’m sorry!

Just to go along with this game, here’s the rules:
Once you’ve been tagged, you have to write a blog with 5 weird, random, facts, habits or goals about yourself. At the end, choose 3 people to be tagged, list their names & why you tagged them. Don’t forget to leave them a comment saying “You’re it!” & to go read your blog. You cannot tag the person that tagged you, so since you’re not allowed to tag me back; let me know when you are done so I can go read YOUR weird/random/odd facts, habits and goals.

1. I don’t drink a lot. I think most of you knew that but I’m slowly submerging myself into wine and spirits recently or soon (depending upon when you’re reading this and looking through my Flickr photos).

2. Whenever I eat out, I plan out what I eat 90% of the time, including how much I spend. The remaining 10% is to give some leeway if something sounds more kick-ass like the day’s special or something. Yes, I’m anal that way just because I don’t have an unlimited food budget as I would like.

3. My inner person is fat but trapped in a relatively average sized, petite body. Petite meaning I’m short, not tiny-skinny.

4. Despite the fact I do eat a ton of food, I would go to food detox after the gluttonous period and try to run like crazy on the treadmill.

5. Do agree with Helen’s statement about me in terms of fooding/eating out: I go out because of food. Food is my social scene; not bars or clubs.

I’m tagging:

  • The Girl Who Ate Everything: Robyn’s blog is AWESOME. She’s funny and adorable in person as she portrays herself on her blog. I just love her all around and her food photos. OMG…food.
  • Midtown Lunch: Zach’s mission of finding tasty and cheap eats in Midtown is a great reference. Hell, I want to meet the guy (and his wife) but our schedules don’t work out, so I’ve yet to have dinner with them.


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New York, NY 10003


I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.

  1. mike says:

    I’ve always thought that the chewy-ness of the kumquats doesn’t go so well with the gelato. I much prefer the olive oil coppeta with strawberries.

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