Recently, we’ve seen the Italian bistro perfected, and the Upper West Side’s Osteria Cotta represents a milestone in the process. [...] The interior is dark and cozy, with raised tables radiating from a bar flickeringly lit by a wood-burning oven. [...] the pastas tend to be magnifico, tendered in heaping servings suitable for two—especially a linguine with baby clams that’s probably the city’s best version, briny and almost smoky.
At Upper West Side newcomer Osteria Cotta , small clams in their shells replace the bigger, unshelled clams usually found, and little red plum tomatoes provide brilliant spots of color and flavor. Spectacularly, the sauce retains its bitterness from the clams, which provides a foil for the al dente linguine, which is thereby made to taste sweet. Here’s a dish that tastes every bit as good as it looks.
The cozy, dim Cotta glimmers all day long…Upstairs, you can choose a balcony spot and watch the leaves piling up along Columbus Avenue. Or the charming back room is romantic for dining, or festive for private parties. To start, try a few bruschette, such as taleggio and mushroom. Pizza margherita comes with a golden, chewy crust. Meatball panini with bread, savory pork and beef is a scene-stealer.
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