Throughout my culinary journey, I have always hoped to find more neighborhood gems that nobody is talking about but yet I felt more satisfaction than other more publicized and hyped openings. I have started to develop a fairly good hunch too when I see a restaurant being discussed on the Internet that this could have a gem potential. I sincerely believed that Otway, a restaurant in Brooklyn with all-female kitchen led by the team behind what used to Tilda All Day, has such potential to really wow me. When I stepped into the restaurant with my wife Jun after watching a movie (highly recommend the Shape of Water, by the way), the lovely vibe of the dining space instantly drew us in and we were positive we would have an awesome time here. It saddens me even more therefore to say that Otway is not a gem after all, as we saw too many more misses than hits.
The menu at Otway is divided into various hors d’oeuvre bites, smaller plates and larger main dishes. I can never say no to sea urchin, and the uni crepe was certainly a nice start to the meal (although Jun is not a fan of this creature’s texture in general and nudged me to eat the whole thing after one bite). When we discussed the menu with the server, we were hesitant whether to order raw venison. We should’ve stayed away from it, as it turned out to be a pretty gamey and tough piece of meat that was not easy to swallow even after multiple bites. Having huckleberry sprinkled throughout the meat didn’t help either.
The biggest disappointment of our meal was probably the duck breast with charred radicchio, red beets and Asian pear. Jun is obsessed with and therefore has high standards for duck meat, and she was not pleased at all that the meat was not cooked well (and the server didn’t ask what temperature we preferred). Instead of moist and juicy meat, what we had was surprisingly tough. In addition, charred radicchio had such a potent flavor that instead of complementing the duck’s flavor and texture, it quickly undermined them. The other large dish that we ordered, ricotta gnudi with cauliflower, maitake and brown butter, was more successful but it wasn’t enough to overcome the duck’s deficiencies. Despite our underwhelming experience, we did decide to order a dessert, and that turned out to be a smart choice, as we really loved the passion fruit tart with chocolate ganache sprinkled throughout that provided a beautiful combination of flavor without overpowering our palate.
Getting a reservation at Otway wasn’t too difficult and the dining space wasn’t quite packed (although by no means empty) on a Saturday evening. Booking in advance is probably recommended but not required. There is full bar with some nice cocktail selections to complement your meal. As noted above, I definitely give credit to the lovely space that can work for a variety of different occasions for casual hangouts in Brooklyn. After finishing the tart, Jun and I wondered how things would’ve turned out had this place remained a café like Tilda All Day (which I have never been to prior to its shutter) focusing on pastries because the tart was pretty memorable even though the savory courses that came before had flaws. Suffice to say that for now I’m not really to declare Otway a neighborhood gem.
- Creativity: 8.0/10
- Execution: 7.0/10
- Ingredients: 7.5/10
- Flavor: 8.0/10
- Texture: 7.0/10
- Value: 7.5/10
Address: 930 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11238
Telephone: (917) 909-1889