Otway plays a lot of different roles on its quiet corner in Clinton Hill. In the mornings, it’s one of the most popular spots in the neighborhood to grab an iced coffee and a fresh pastry (if there’s coffee cake available, snag a piece). At night, it’s one of the better casual date options in the area, where you can usually walk in and still get a table at 8pm on a weeknight. It’s also somewhere that, pre-pandemic, would wheel a little meat and cheese cart around the dining room for you to pick out a nice stilton or some saucisson from.

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While the cart isn’t currently on call, Otway is still a pleasant place to catch up with a friend and drink a few glasses of wine over a crudo and some steak frites–either in the dining room or on their sidewalk patio. Nothing here is going to make you utter the words “wow” or “I think I need a moment,” but there are enough dishes to keep things interesting. And that’s a role few other nearby spots can play.

Food Rundown

Burrata & Stone Fruit

This does that magic thing where it hits a bunch of notes simultaneously: sweetness from the peaches, saltiness from the olive oil croutons, a spicy kick from the tomato ’nduja, creaminess from the burrata, and a bit of crunch and vinegar from the red onions to round it all out. Go ahead and start here.

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Summer Melon

A plate of melon is never a bad thing, but this one, topped with a flurry of za’atar and angelica, never really rises above being “just fine.” If you haven’t eaten nearly enough melon recently, go for it.

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Kanpachi Crudo

We’d never suggest that fish and grapes are natural friends, but here they get along quite well. The firm kanpachi takes on a bit of kick from some horseradish, and the not-overly-sweet marquis grapes provide little bursts of juice as you scoop everything up in one bite. This is the first thing we’ll order the next time we stop by.

Steak Frites

These are the kind of fries that will make you interrupt whoever your with’s story about a recent Zoom catastrophe by simply saying, “That’s a good fry.” Salty, crispy, and tasting a bit like high-end Arby’s fries, these somehow manage to maintain their structure even after taking a dip in the sauce Diane that accompanies the hanger steak. The pickled onions add a bit of acidic sweetness to an otherwise over-cooked steak, but hey, at least you’ll always have the fries.

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Coffee Cake

If you’ve ever thought, “I wish to make the perfect coffee cake,” let this one be your muse. The cake itself is buttery and dense enough where it won’t fall apart as soon as you take a bite and the crumbly top has just enough sweetness to remind you that you’re eating cake for breakfast, which must mean it’s a good day. Keep in mind, this is only available in the AM.

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