adventures in babysitting, luna bread crust, mashed potato pizza, micuccis, nyc style, otto's, pizza bias, things the missus loves

Edible Obsession: OTTO’s Pizza

When I moved to Maine, my pizza consumption dropped significantly. There just wasn’t, in my opinion, good pie to be had (which is to say, strictly in Portland). I wanted charred, thin crust pizza with just a touch of homemade sauce and quality cheese. What I found was overly doughy, covered in painfully salty sauce and plasticky cheese. Pizza Villa was my only salvation at the time (and no, I had, and still have, not gone to Flatbread for any other reason than an irrational bias against that style of pizza).

Then, even though it is the antithesis of what I’ve sought in a pizza, I fell in love with the sweet and pillowy ‘Slab‘ from Micucci’s. Truthfully, just based on the quality of ingredients(Luna bread as a base!) and the uniqueness of the sauce, how can one not find themselves just a wee bit smitten with it? And, while all was well and good and I was content with loving a chubbier slice, there was still a void.

Then the Missus introduced me to Otto’s.

I was a bit slow to come around to them, honestly. The first pie she brought home, just after they opened, didn’t really wow me. I think we had Fontina and mushroom but I can’t really recall. It just wasn’t that memorable. While the Missus has been back to Otto’s many times since then, I hadn’t really had the desire and was quite content with swinging by Miccuci’s when the pizza jones hit. Then, without reason, I asked her to bring home a pie from Otto’s last week when I was home from work and unable to cook because of an injury. The Missus chose her, and everyone else it seems, favorite: Mashed Potato, Scallion and Bacon pie.

Before I tried Otto’s, I had made my own attempt at the pie at home. Looking back now, I realize mine was more akin to the Pizza Skins from Pizzeria Uno’s. Again, I was facing a pizza that didn’t quite embody what I was looking for in a slice–there wasn’t even a drop of sauce on it, for Christ’s sake–but when I bit into the first slice, I smiled.

It was creamy with the rough mashed potatoes subbing for the sauce as the base, which was laid down on a wonderfully thin, crunchy and charred crust. The thin crisps of bacon added a nice saltiness while the scallions brought in a bit of pepperiness. I sat and ate four slices from the large pie, which is double my normal bored pizza consumption.

A week later, while babysitting a friends son, we picked up two small pies for dinner. We did grab one of their plain cheese and brought along another mashed pizza as our little friend said he was, “In the mood to try something different.” He’s 4. We thought he would love the pizza because what sane person (outside of my ex-wife) doesn’t like mashed potatoes? We were wrong. Little man spent the entire meal digging on the plain cheese.

“Who made this pizza,” he asked between mouthfuls.
“Otto’s. Do you like it?”
“MMM-HMMM.”

Can’t say that I disagreed with him at all. The cheese slice was just as righteous as I thought it would be. Their sauce, neither too sweet nor too salty, was more acidic than anything. The cheese wasn’t dense or plasticky and, again, the crust was perfectly charred and crunchy. It was a cheese slice that reminded me of so many I had eaten while visiting New York City before I moved up here.

I have finally, whether it’s a traditional or unconventionally topped pie, found what I was looking for in Portland pizza.

Otto Pizza on Urbanspoon

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6 thoughts on “Edible Obsession: OTTO’s Pizza

  1. I'm curious to hear more about your impressions of Flatbread's "style," since opinions on that place definitely seem mixed. On the advice of a reader, we keep it simple when we visit; mainly because I don't have a ton of patience for unconventional toppings, particularly from restaurants who can't even pull out a decent cheese slice.Perhaps because we have avoided their crazy hippie pies, I have found almost everything I look for in a pizza at Flatbread: A charred, thin crust, cooked quickly and at high heat, with a sharp sauce and a light application of cheese. The "vibe" of the place may not be for me, and I can't speak to their more "specialty" pizzas, but I think they are hitting the basics pretty well. What is it about them that puts you off?

  2. S. says:

    have never been to Flatbread–though I have gotten their frozen pies and I've found them to be 'blah'. Obviously, I can't-and won't-base my opinion on them as a whole because I've gotten their pizza, in a way, out of context.My actual issue is with the flatbread style as a whole. I've never really enjoyed it–too thin? not enough sauce?–when I've had it in the past so going to a place that sells only a flatbread style just doesn't draw me in. Shit, the hippie vibe is more of a draw than the style of pizza they serve.

  3. I've never tried their frozen pies, but I wonder if perhaps you may be getting too hung up on the name…there's actually not anything very Flatbread-y at all about their crust, at least when I have tried it. You might be surprised…I definitely was.

  4. S. says:

    I probably am getting hung up on the name–because I just imagine all of the bad flatbread pizza I've had. But, I'm very good at working through odd food issues I have and eventually I'm sure I'll work through this one, too.

  5. Flatbread pizza is crappy, because it's frequently soggy. It comes out with too many toppings and too thin in the middle, which makes it impossible to p/u and eat. And then it's soggy. Ewwww. And their toppings aren't that great either. I second the too thin & not enough sauce complaint.I just had a pickled onion, cremini, slow-cooked beef (short rib?) special pizza at Otto Monday, and OMG.

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