To season or not to season? That is the question.
By Katie-Moore Gillon
Earlier this week, my friend’s and I immersed ourselves in the cave of Zero Otto Nove. I call it a cave because of the exposed, brick walls and the skylight in the center of the ceiling that creates wonderful, natural lighting. There are different levels throughout the space with a luxe private room overlooking the restaurant at the top of a staircase. The tables below are spaced out with such high ceilings that it feels roomy to say the least.
This spot is owned by Roberto Paciullo, who also owns Roberto’s, a restaurant just around the corner of Arthur Ave. Unlike Roberto’s, Zero Otto Nove also serves pizza.
(Antipasto Freddo: Provolone, mortadella, sopressata, pancetta, marinated eggplant, capicollo & fresh ricotta)
Before the pizza, we started out with Antipasto Freddo for lunch. On a wooden slab sat thick and salty provolone, fatty and lacy prosciutto and sopressata, chunky pancetta, hearty ricotta wrapped in refreshing lettuce boats, rich shredded eggplant, and tangy olives. It was the perfect amount to split between two people.
(Rigatoni e Zucca: Butternut squash, peas & porcini mushrooms)
We delved into a pasta dish next, enjoying the earthy and salty Rigatoni e Zucca. The pasta was perfectly cooked; pairing it with the warm, mashed butternut squash made for some delicious and satisfying textures. The peas offered a bit of a light ‘pop’ in between. However, it could have used a little more seasoning. Another pasta dish that didn’t need any extra seasoning was a special I tried one night: fusilli with basil pesto, cherry tomatoes, and burrata cheese. The dish was soaked in rich olive oil that the thick and firm fusili absorbed in its folds. The strong pesto meshed nicely with the light, cherry tomatoes and milky burrata. It also made for wonderful leftovers, as the portion was huge.
(La Carminuccio: Tomato sauce, pancetta, grated cheese, basil & spices)
I wanted to try a slightly different pizza than the typical margherita, so I opted for La Carminuccio. I was disappointed with the overwhelmingly salty flavors; a salty tomato sauce with salty pancetta was just too strong. There was a peppery aftertaste as well. There was too much going on, despite the fact that the dough was perfect.
(Margherita Tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, parmigiano & basil)
I decided that they ought to at least get the margherita pizza right, and thankfully they did. It was fantastic: the cheese was savory and smooth as it sat in a sharp, flavorful tomato sauce, layered on top of chewy dough. The sweet basil and slightly burnt, flaky crust offered some mild flavors to help compliment the more overt central components.
I’d happily stop by here again. Everything was cooked perfectly; the only trouble with some of the dishes lied in too much or too little seasoning. But Zero Otto Nove seems to have the basics down, and offers a spacious, relaxing atmosphere, perfect for any time or day of the week.