Pasta dish disappoints at Pizzeria Ristorante Da Enzo in Otterbach
By WILL MORRIS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 22, 2017
I know, I know. How could I go to review a pizza place and not even order the pizza? Trust me, by the time this article makes it into the paper, I will have been asked that question by five editors, three reporters, a couple of people in finance and, of course, my wife.
In all fairness, I didn’t plan it that way. I drove to Pizzeria Ristorante Da Enzo in Otterbach with the intention of ordering the biggest pie I could find.
But then I saw the English menu: 12 warm starters and 17 cold; 21 types of pasta; eight pork, veal and beef options each; and three fish dishes (under the appetizing heading “Fishmeat”).
There were, in case you’re wondering, 23 types of pizza, all of which were calling to me and all of which I ignored when I got stuck on pasta option 4, “Spaghetti alla Chef.”
And that’s where I went off track.
For the record, I am not squeamish or picky. I once ate dog food because I was curious what I was feeding my best friend. For the record, it wasn’t bad — a little tart maybe, slightly dry and it left a film in your mouth — but not bad. I am not a foodie, either. I have no illusions that I am going to do a tasting tour of Germany with Anthony Bourdain anytime soon. But I can tell whether people care about the food they cook and serve to others. Whoever cooked my food clearly did not.
The menu promised shrimp cooked in a sauce of white wine, anchovies and chilli flakes. What I got was a handful of salty salad shrimp thrown on top of a minuscule pile of pasta cooked or at least reheated in olive oil. Not worth the 9.50 euros.
My wife, however, fared better. She ordered the beef liver cooked in a white wine sauce, served with a salad and rice. It was well-prepared and the wine rendered a rich gravy from the liver. My wife smiled with every bite.
After dinner, I decided to order the classic Italian dessert tiramisu along with two espressos, partly because I was still hungry and partly because I have a sweet tooth. It was the only part of the meal I truly enjoyed.
Herein, as they would say in Elizabethan English, “lies the rub.” How is a restaurant that served such a bad pasta dish in business? By all measures, it is extremely popular. Every time I drive by it at night, it’s packed, often with a wait. Certainly the place has its draws: a solid wine and beer collection, a great location next to a nature walk, an excellent wait staff and a relaxed atmosphere that is both casual and classy.
Maybe the restaurant has some secret, something I didn’t try. Maybe beyond the endless options of pasta, beef, veal and fishmeat there is something they serve that demands such a loyal following.
All I know is: I should have had the pizza.
Pizzeria Ristorante Da Enzo
http://www.facebook.com/ ristodaenzoAddress: Obere Lauterstrasse 40, 67731, Otterbach, Germany. The restaurant can be reached via the 130 bus. It’s located just before the Otterbach Siedlung station.
Price range: 6-9 euros for entrees
Parking: On street and in the back of the restaurant
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to midnight Tuesdays-Sundays; closed Tuesdays
Phone: (+49) (0) 630-137-007, Facebook: www.facebook.com/ ristodaenzo