photo credit: Oti

Oti image



Lower East Side

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There are just a couple of Romanian restaurants in NYC, but Oti is the first to attempt a “contemporary take” on the cuisine, adding a twist or two to traditional dishes for the Lower East Side crowd. The small space looks like a repurposed bar or gallery, sparsely decorated except for the restaurant’s mascot, a furry monster mask hanging on the wall. The makeshift kitchen is no bigger than the one at your house, which makes it easy for the chef to come around from behind the counter with stories about his Romanian roots, and dishes like herby lamb meatballs or mussels in beer broth. Not everything hits, but there are some bright spots, like the polenta with miso, and the pickled grapes. Skip the tasting menu, and go for a couple a la carte snacks instead, keeping in mind that they don’t have a liquor license yet.

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