Mozzarella is a staple in our refrigerator. We love its mild, pure taste and usually eat it in an unadulterated way (fresh, juicy cheese straight off the plate). Of course, you can eat mozzarella as fried stick, salad dressing, pizza topping, bruschetta spread, and 1,000 other forms. It's such a versatile food that all you need to make it right are the freshness of ingredients and the originality of recipes.
We saw Obica many times after shopping in Eataly and have always been interested in trying it out. (How can we call ourselves mozzarella fans if we ignore a mozzarella bar?) Hence we took the chance of Restaurant Week and got a great nosh from its lunch menu at its flagship location at Flatiron.
A brief intro on Obica: An Italian native, it has branches in Italian cities, London, L.A., Tokyo and Dubai, and its first NYC location, Obicà Café, is in the IBM Building on Madison Avenue. Its cheese, which is Protected designation of origin (PDO), gets specially flown in from the Campania region in Italy twice a week and is produced using only milk from the country's prized water buffalo. (While in the U.S., mozzarella is made of cow milk.)
We felt in love with Obica's interior immediately when we walked in. The restaurant is spacious to fit 120 people, with ample walking area and high ceiling. The exposed bricks and pristine wood balance the black theme color and sleek steel, together creating a modern rusty vibe in a dim ambience. That's a good start for us, even before the food.
What we also liked about is that, this place is full of energy. People enjoying the food and engaging in their conversations reminds me of the convivial southern European bistro. The wait staff is friendly (and cute) and knows every item on the menu. A big thank you to the lady who took the picture below for us!
We went with its Restaurant Week menu, which we believe is the best among all the places we hit this winter. The olive oil bread was so good that we finished them all off the paper bag, causing us overdose of carbs. Then we indulged ourselves in various facets of beauty of mozzarella: fresh, smoked, sprinkle on pasta, spread on bruschetta, and melted in caponata alla siciliana (egg plant stew). It was such an pleasant journey to Italy on the taste bud.
We already plan to come again before finishing the lunch. Its pizza (said to be one of the best) and negroni are on our list to try.
Its dessert is not to be missed either. We tried the ricotta di bufala (picture to the right) and nuts brownie (picture below), both amazing. In particular, the creamy texture of ricotta di bufala is fluffy and heavenly; and the candied orange peel adds a surprisingly refresh to the finish.
GRADED BY SYCOMORE