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joethefoodie

Marta

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The new Roman-pizza inspired place from the Meyer/Anderer team has opened (we're going tomorrow for dinner).

 

It has already been reviewed by Sietsema. He somewhat likes it. Ain't cheap - we're looking at half a chicken for $24 (per Sietsema, though this menu reads $21)...

 

Menus

 

 

 

 

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Some quick thoughts:

 

1) Beautiful room. Large, incredibly high ceilings, light and spacious. Tables are not crowded.

 

2) Loud. Really loud. One of the first times I've been bothered by the noise in a restaurant.

 

3) The not large pizzas have thin, crispy crust. If these are really pizzas. They're thin, flatbreads with some toppings. If that makes it a "pizza", ok. But, thin, like a single sheet of paper thin. And fairly bland crust, with most of the flavor coming from the dusting of flour. I'm guessing the recipe and process is similar to making matzoh for Passover. But thinner. They have a thin schmear of sauce (on red) painted on. And thinly sliced coins of cheese. not coins, actually, but more like a round sticker you'd put on a piece of paper. The crust around the edges is burnt in many areas, and so brittle in the rest that it crumbles to nothing more than bits of chips. The "toppings" on the Neopolitano were tiny slivers of onion and anchovy -- they offered some flavor, but little else. The toppings on the funghi was an adequate amount of very good roast mushrooms. The basic tomato sauce and basil was a boring as pizza as I've ever had.

 

I don't know or care if this is authentic Roman pizza. In America, this is something the restaurant gives you for free while you're reading the menu. It tastes fine -- good even. But it's barely an appetizer, much less a meal, no matter how many you order. If you thought pizza was thick, heavy chewy dough, with bold sauce dripping off, gooey strands of cheese pulling from your mouth and piles of toppings, you're just a uncultured, slovenly American who doesn't know how to eat. Classy Europeans eat thin, dainty pizza. (Although as one member of the group noted, this may be Roman pizza, but no one in Rome would eat this for dinner. It would be a bar snack.)

 

4) Ok, it's not all about pizza. It's also about really expensive appetizers. A "table sized" order of the octopus salad allowed each of the six diners to sample a pencil-thin piece, about 2-3" long. Ok, a thick pencil. They were spread over a large plate, apparently to give the appearance that it was a large order, on top of beans that had great texture and fine, although unremarkable flavor. $25?

 

Escarole salad -- about 8 leafs of escarole placed on the plate, with salad dressing and some bacon bits on top. $18?

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Sounds like Otto (which I thought was echt Sardinian). Really thinner and/or smaller than Otto pizzas?

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So, I imagine Stone, that you're never going there again?

 

Romans do eat pizza like that for dinner...I've seen it with my own eyes.

 

Also- I don't understand the pricing? On this menu, the octopus is $15 and there's not an appetizer over $16.

 

Marta menu.

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Joe-- they offer "family style" portions of the appetizers.

I couldn't see going back for pizza. Some of the entrees I saw come out looked good.

 

Wilf -- I haven't had an Otto pizza in a while. I'm pretty sure that if these came out 10 years ago, they would have suffered similar criticism. We've been taught over this past decade that really good pizza is thin and anemic.

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Mm, best picture I could find is an uncooked pizza, which certainly illustrates Stone's point. Not what I expected.

 

marta_alice-gao.jpg

 

(The photo is by someone called Alice Gao, I should say.)

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Ok - I just find it a bit disingenuous to say it's really expensive, when the menu seems to say otherwise.

 

When Otto first opened, its pizza was made on a griddle - I don't know if it still is. Marta's pizza is cooked in a wood-burning oven.

 

And quite frankly, we haven't been taught that really good pizza is thin and anemic; we've just been exposed to different styles of pizza than we grew up with.

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The appetizers we got were very expensive.

I think the pizzas were also very expensive, but I guess that's the going rate for pizzas.

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When Otto first opened, virtually every member on this board panned it.

 

Some of us remember what it was like back in the day. ;)

 

The crust -- flat, tasteless, cardboard-y, like a notebook.

 

Then, the restaurant woke up.

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Can't speak to the quality or quantity of what they give you, but the prices on the web site seem in line with other similar places.

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