Chin Chin – A Trip to Otto Enoteca


So, my undergraduate alumni chapter is trying to revitalize here in the Big Apple. They are trying out various events to see if they can lure us out of our usual social circles to meet other people with whom we all share a common tie. The biggest draw has been [as is typical of a Southern school] Beer and Football. As we are a small school, and as the college football season is but a blip in the year, the alumni board needed to come up with other ideas to draw us together.

This month, they organized a wine tasting at Otto Enoteca Pizzeria, part of the Mario Batali-Joe Bastianich (Lidia’s son) restaurant group. Being on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent and the beginning of the period of sacrifice and reflection, I thought that that was an interesting choice in days. It turned out that the dark smudge on my forehead (I never can seem to get the priest who makes a nice, neat cross.) somehow became a talking point a few times during the evening. I even managed not to get any black flecks in my glass!

Here’s how we started out – with a Chardonnay (photo above).

Then, to the Bruschetta del Giorno: Escarole and Pine Nuts
[Another white whose name I forgot and a red whose name I also don't remember - we really needed dance cards for the tasting]
Then, time for a snack of Cheese with Fruit and Truffled Honey to go with the red wine
After a glass of Montepulciano di Abbruzzo, some of us sat down for dinner. My choice, having to steer clear of meat that evening, was the Pasta alla Norma (eggplant/aubergine, basil, tomato sauce, buffalo ricotta). It was lovely, and went very well with the last of the Montepulciano that I took with me from the tasting, not being one to let it go to waste, you know.
The eggplant was roasted with crunchy and chewy textures, the ricotta was smooth and creamy and complemented the tang of the tomato sauce. Scattered within were glistening kelly green leaves of fresh basil. This is something, that if I lived or worked closer to the Village, I could see myself being coming addicted to in short order. The prices, as well, were very reasonable and that, and the wine selection, makes this a place I’m going to try to drag my friends to very soon. Besides, I didn’t even get to try the pizza, yet!
Buon appetito!


  1. Mary

    so i’m just now getting caught up on your blogs, so sue me. but it seems to me that if you’re going to talk about giving up meat maybe you should share about the time you took me to a “restaurant” and didn’t know it was vegetarian. i believe my exact words were “where is the meat section to this menu?”

  2. theexperimentalgourmand

    You know, I was actually going to write about that in the post I did yesterday b/c that restaurant is one of my favorite cheap eats. Of course, once you pan fry the dumplings, I’m not sure how healthy they end up being, but they are tasty. I’m sure you wouldn’t even miss the meat.