Skip to main content

For a Light Meal on Lexington Avenue: “Ottomanelli NY Grill"

Whenever I am asked what my favorite places are to eat in NYC I always draw a blank. Sure I eat at plenty of places but would I return? I always have another long list of places to try so for me to return to a locale not out of mere convenience but out of longing…well that is something special. So is Ottomanelli NY Grill.

Ottomanelli is a little gem on the Upper East Side of Manhattan coincidentally right near another favorite location of mine; 92Y (see previous post). That is how I found myself chowing down here.

The very first time was a few years ago. I was in the neighborhood, you can guess why, and I needed something quick to eat. I split a burger with my date for the evening and I was quite satisfied but managed to forget the name of the restaurant.

Then last year upon a date to see a Cooper and a Vanderbilt and I stumbled in once again. That evening I had an insatiable craving for fried calamari, a classic Italian appetizer. You can say that Ottomanelli hit the nail on the head.

It is by far and wide the very best I have ever had in my life. I gobbled it all up switching between dipping it in their marinara and cajun sauces. It was a moment of pure food ecstasy. One I would crave for an entire year until I sat down there again.

The only other time I had an order of calamari come in close competition with what I had experienced at Ottomanelli’s was during a visit to nearby Tre Otto (  

I don’t think the “Otto” in the names are serendipitous. I believe there is something more to it than that. 

Upon my return visit to Ottomanelli this past week I had eagerly been awaiting my favorite meal. The only thing I varied was that this time I went for the house salad unlike the Caesar salad I had last time. 

When I took my first bite I was rewarded with the light, crispy, sweet and spicy (from the sauces) flavors I remembered. I also had seemingly forgotten how huge the portions are here. The calamari went by in a flash but there was some salad left on the dish. Overall I was happy to be in a familiar place with familiar tastes in my mouth. 

The Ottomanelli family has been making their handmade traditional Italian meats and products in NYC for over one hundred years. The current owners are the second generation of this family to work the business. Brothers Frank, Gerry, Peter, and Joseph have worked in the business their whole lives beginning their training as  young children.  

The Ottomanelli’s are originally from Bari, in Southern Italy. This town is also home from my ancestors. Coincidence? I think not.

The family business all began when the founding father, Onofrio, began to make his mother’s famous lamb sausage, which he then had passed down to Frank who still makes this recipe daily. The family’s main store remains on Bleecker Street in Lower Manhattan but has expanded to include several other locations, as well as another restaurant. 

The next member of the family set to take on the throne is Matthew who is so far the only member of his generation to step up to the plate, the meat plate that is.

While I have not visited any of the Ottomanelii shops, I can tell just from the excellent service and high quality of food I have experienced at their restaurant, that whenever I have the need for a piece of the old country I know where to find it.

For More Information:


Popular posts from this blog

For My Madness During Migraine Awareness Month

Last weekend as I sat staring at the blank page in front of me, I was still surprised and elated that I had an entire day to myself and unlike past experiences it was filled with what I wanted when I wanted it. There were a few rough moments but when I consider the previous twelve hours (and the days to come) have been better than the last week. Especially this last week even though I had braced myself ahead of time, I just didn’t know I should have braced for a more serious episode. I am a chronic migraine sufferer for so many years I don’t quite remember when they started exactly which is ironic because I can remember every special event they have ruined. I remember plays or dinners I was at where I don’t remember what happened but I could tell you what I felt minute by minute. It amazing how the mind works, especially when it’s operated by a migraine brain. In the last few years, specifically the last few years since I have been going to the Montefiore Headac

For Find Out Friday - Why Do Emery Boards Make My Skin Crawl?

You know that sound a fingernail makes when it scratches against a chalkboard?  You know that feeling the sound of that action gives you? I, like most people, hate that sound.  I instantly feel like scrunching my shoulders up to my neck and closing my eyes.  I feel the exact same way when I am using an emery board to file my nails. This annoying sensation has a name: “grima” which is Spanish for disgust or uneasiness. This term basically describes any feeling of being displeased, annoyed, or dissatisfied someone or something.  It is a feeling that psychologists are starting to pay more attention to as it relates to our other emotions.  Emery boards are traditionally made with cardboard that has small grains of sand adhered to them. It is the sandpaper that I believe makes me filled with grima.  According to studies that are being done around the world, it is not just the feeling that we associate with certain things like nails on a chalkboard or by using emery boards

For a New Chain of Mexican Fast Food: “Dos Toros Taqueria”

When it comes to fast food there are the names we are familiar with: McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and Chipotle.  In you live in New York City, there is a new kid in town: Dos Toros.  Dos Toros is relatively new to this area but with any hope there might be one in your town soon.  Started by two brothers, Leo and Oliver Kremer, from Berkeley, California, the Mexican food you find here is inspired by food they loved growing up.  In California, the brothers grew up worshipping Gordo Taqueria, a favorite of Bay Area residents since 1977 (now promptly added to my San Francisco to eat list). Much of the recipes and even decor found at Dos Toros has been modeled on Gordo. Before moving to NYC in 2008, the brothers were living very different lives. Leo was the bassist for the band “Third Eye Blind”. Oliver fresh out of college, considered working in the technology or finance industry. Both disillusioned with their lives, they decided to pursue something they have l