Restaurant Review: Ortobello

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I know I’ve been promising you a South Brooklyn Restaurant review, so in the words of Slick Rick, heeeere we go:

Slick Rick probably never ate here

Let me introduce you to one of Bensonhurst’s favorite neighborhood eateries: Ortobello, located on Bay Parkway @ 64th street.

Now, this was a tough one. This place has a substantial menu and so far I’ve only had appetizers, pasta and coffee. I’ve attempted to go back and try more but suffice to say their generous portion sizes haven’t allowed me to get past more than 2 courses! Due to time constraints, I will try to  follow up with a “entree review” in the near future.

Both times that I’ve been there the choice for an appetizer was clear:  Mozzarella in Carrozza. This is a serious dish; recommended to all the cheese-heads out there in Bloglyn. The mozzarella was deliciously deep fried in egg-battered bread and blanketed in a rich, cheesy rue. This is comfort food at its best. Thoughts of it have triggered a Pavlovian response on my saliva glands ever since. (Wipes drool off keyboard)

I’ve managed to try several different pasta selections; a combination of ordering for myself and sampling from the plates of others in my party.  So far I’ve tried the Linguini Arrabiata, Rigatoni Alla Vodka, Penne Siciliana and the Gnocchi Sorrentina. Every complexly carbed dish was home-styled and unique. Their vodka sauce was not the usual pink but a yellowish hue. I’m tempted to say the secret ingredient is egg. When asked about it, Andy who serves as waiter, host, floor manager and all around ring master at the restaurant responded very bluntly. He refused to answer; something about it possibly getting onto one of those annoying blogs…

The atmosphere at Ortobello is authentic Brooklyn all the way. It’s an eclectic mix of neighborhood regulars: Italian, Eastern European, Hispanic and Asian. Locals of all ages display the Babylonian Bouillabaisse that is the essence of today’s outer boroughs. On my second visit I witnessed the house patriarch, an elderly Italian man sipping red wine while holding court at a rear table. In short, Ortobello effortlessly creates a dining experience that more expensive “red sauce” places in trendier neighborhoods attempt but just can’t measure up to.

If you’re planning on going to Ortobello, expect to spend around 30 dollars a person before drinks. Keep in mind that the portions are very large so sharing might bring the tab down quite a bit.

You can also take advantage of their prix fixe menu which includes 5 courses (plus coffee!) and costs between 27.50 and 33 dollars, depending on your choice of entree.

I gave Ortobello a 4.5 for Affordability, 5 for Value, 5 for Service, a 4 for Food and 4.5 for Atmosphere. Based on the average of these five categories, Ortobello received a total score of:

4.6 out of a possible 5 inanimate objects.

Ortobello is located at the corner of Bay Parkway and 64th Street


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