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Pasta dish disappoints at Pizzeria Ristorante Da Enzo in Otterbach

Plates of Spaghetti alla Chef and liver cooked in white wine sauce await diners at Pizzeria Ristorante Da Enzo in Otterbach, Germany. The restaurant has a large selection of Italian dishes, pizza and great service. Unfortunately the pasta dish tasted like salad shrimp dumped on a pile of pasta.

WILL MORRIS/STARS AND STRIPES

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.

morris.william@stripes.com

www/twitter.com/willatstripes

 

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

A slice of tiramisu with two espressos at Pizzeria Ristorante Da Enzo in Otterbach, Germany.
WILL MORRIS/STARS AND STRIPES

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