Otto means eight in Italian, which is the street to remember when looking for the newest addition to the Batali-Bastianich Italian food empire. Ostensibly, this sprawling space on 5th Ave. and 8th Street is a pizzeria, but the chewy, thin-crust pizzas are only part of the story. Check out the antipasti, like tender beans cooked in fiasco; salsify saturated with saba, a sweet grape must; and the best caponata on earth. Order the fritelle of the day and offset them with salad—fennel brightened with citrus, or earthy scungilli sliced paper-thin. And leave room for homemade charcuterie. What to drink with it all? Babbo-transfer Morgan Rich encourages experimentation by offering two dozen wines by the quartino (about a glass and a half), not to mention more than half the bottles on his wide-ranging, all-Italian list at less than $50. No reservations taken.
One Fifth Ave., New York, NY
This story appears in the print issue of February 2009.
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