We celebrated Coco's birthday last Saturday at the great Mario Batalli's Otto restaurant. It was complete madness in that place when we entered. We had an early reservation for our party but we lost it because no one got there on time (so Filipino what can I say?)! Gulp! However the consensus was not to look for another place and just wait for a table. And so we did....for 2 and half hours. Surprisingly the wait wasn't bad at all because we were able to sample their delectable Antipasti offerings by the bar;
Caprese ($8) - A spin on the traditional fresh mozarella salad - warm roasted tomatoes on top of mozarella and smothered with pesto and pine nuts. I always make this appetizer at home and I told Joel I will try this version since it was amazing.
Cheese Platter (5 kinds for $15). Jammy ordered Gorgonzola Dolce, Parmigiano Reggiano, Ricotta, Tallegio and Caciotta. They served it side-by-side a platter of honey abd cherry & apricot preserves. The combination of cheese and the condiments was superb. The playful contrast of the saltiness of the cheese with the sweetness of the the honey and preserves was spectacular.
The breadsticks and bread wrapped in brown paper were a treat too!
They use a train ticker sign (like the ones in European terminals) for the wait time which was pretty cool. I've never seen anything like it. We were given a ticket with city/place name in Italy (in our case it was 'Pescara'). After more than 2 hours, we were up. I just had to take a picture of it.
Buccatini Al' Amatriciana ($9) - guanciale, tomato and pecorino -
Prosciutto and Arugula ($14)
Vongole ($14) - clams, garlic, mozarella
Three scoops of gelati - creme fraiche, olive oil and dark chocolate ($7.50) with a wafer on top. The smooth olive oil gelato was sprinkled with salt which gave it a very distinct and innovative flavor while the creme fraiche was true to its name... light, nutty and slight sour. Thumbs up for both flavors. The third one was for Joel because I'm not really a dark chocolate fan.
For the 5 hours that we were there, I enjoyed the first part (appetizers) and last part (dessert) the most. The main course (pasta and pizza) was anti-climactic and very ordinary. Until the next time Iron Chef :)