We were there with Dr. S. (M.’s dad), who is vegetarian. Otto might not be your first thought for vegetarian cuisine but it’s got tons of options, and it’s long been one of his neighborhood haunts.
We had the special Monday night bruschetta: eggplant with chili and mint. It’s Dr. S.’s favorite (he had an order all to himself; M. and I split the other) and it’s almost Indian in its balance of heat and spice, as many of Batali’s dishes are.
Dr. S. told me that one of his nieces came to visit. It was a Monday. She is part of a particular Hindu sect that fasts on Mondays. But Dr. S. insisted: she just had to try the eggplant bruschetta.
"Why don’t you eat today and then fast for two days when you get home?"
She relented. The bruschetta really is that good.
By the way — fasting for one day once a week sounds like an incredibly effective (and doable) long-term weight control plan. Perhaps something to try when I’m older and no longer have a 29-year-old’s metabolism…. (You burn about 100 calories less every day for every decade you are alive. It’s brutal.)