Being that both my girls are under the age of 6, our mother/daughter dates are pretty much limited to doing kids activities which include play dates, kid-friendly museums, libraries and parks. I have to selfishly admit that I am not very fond of parks. They are a great addition to any city, don’t get me wrong, but the parental fauna that you can find in some of NYC finest and the interaction with such is funnily terrifying, as this recent New Yorker article points out.
Luckily (for us), the girls like to eat and some of our food outings include pizza (lots of it and on repeated occasions) or some other kid approved food while mom has a (well deserved most of the time) glass of wine. A recent Saturday morning La Petite Wasabi and I were walking around the West Village and after letting some of her energy out in the kids’ section of Washington Square Park, we both decided that it would be a good thing to grab lunch. After a brief deliberation, it was decided that (surprise!) pizza would be it and we agreed to check Otto out, as it was close by.
The space is ample and seamlessly divided in three different areas: the front of the house, to which you get in after walking through the heavy Art Deco style revolving door, fashioned after what could be an Italian train station bar, with its counters and tables, where you would mostly grab a drink and a bit standing; a second area with darker wood and some tables, which seems to be a doorway to the main dining room which, with its reddish colored walls, big wood tables and bottles on the window sills, is ample and inviting. It can be loud, but then, that is a good thing when you come with a bunch of kids. I could totally see myself going here on a date with Dad Vivant and sip some wine in the front of the house pretending to be in some obscure bar in the middle of Italy. Even without a reservation, and the big dining room being packed with families enjoying a pizza brunch, we were quickly sat in a table next to a really friendly French family and offered a high chair, which came handy, as the big furniture was a bit high for La Petite Wasabi. And best of all, when we sat we were offered not only bread (no olive oil to dip, which some people seem to take offense, but which is the norm in Italy) but also grissini torinesi, which made me think about a great trip long time ago in Northern Italy.
The menu is pretty extensive and straightforward and made us want to order most of everything: appetizers in the shape of vegetables, cheeses, fish or cured meats; salads; pastas in a variety of shapes and flavors and different types of pizzas. They don’t have a kids menu but, believe me, with this many options, I don’t think any kid would have a problem. The wine list is extensive and although they have really expensive wines, they also have some affordable options. We decided on a Quattro Stagioni pizza to share and a glass of Nero d’Avola for mom. The wine is decanted from the bottle and served in a quartino, which is as having almost two glasses, facts that I enjoyed immensely.
It is obvious that this place is very kid friendly. After setting our high chair, La Petite Wasabi was given a glass of water with a straw and a cover and instead of crayons, a little packet with Wikki Stix and a page where you could draw with the colorful sticks. Artsy without the mess. Genius!
I have to admit that I love pizza almost as much as my girls do. The crust was really thin and crisp, and the four seasons were delicious olives, peppers, asparagus and ham. La Petite Wasabi has the habit of deconstructing her pizza, eating the toppings and leaving the whole crust untouched on her dish. This time she proceeded to enjoy her pizza as usual, but after she was done wolfing the toppings and carefully placing (in an almost OCD manner) pieces of crust on her dish, she began munching on them until her dish was clean. Wow!
We decided to finish this feast with some dessert and agreed on the black and white, a decadent (and heavy) gelato based dessert that was delicious. Heard that the olive oil gelato is a must, so I guess we will have to order it next time.
The bathroom is behind the hostess, by the entrance on the right hand side. Although it is really cute, with its red accents and white tiles color scheme, it is very tiny, with two stalls and no changing table.
Overall a most fun mother/daughter date that I hope to repeat soon but with Dad Vivant instead.
Otto Enoteca Pizzeria
1 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10003
Monday – Sunday: 11.30am – 12.00am