“Mozzarella is a challenging cheese and should not be attempted as your first cheese.”
—David B. Fankhauser, Ph.D., Professor of Biology and Chemistry, University of Cincinnati, Clermont College
Professor Fankhauser offers a recipe and instructions for making mozzarella. Could this be part of his class, serving as a science experiment? What could extra credit be, producing the perfect smoked mozzarella?
There is no experimenting at Obicà, advertising itself as the “world’s first mozzarella bar.” The mozzarella served here is made by old-world professionals. It is a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) cheese. Twice a week it is flown to New York from Italy’s cheesemakers in that country’s Campania region. It is produced only from the milk of Italy’s cherished water buffalo.
Obicà celebrated its 10th anniversary by opening its New York flagship restaurant in July 2014. The restaurant is in the shadow of the City’s unique Flatiron Building. This is the worldwide chain’s second location in the Big Apple. There’s a small cafe in the IBM Building on Madison Avenue; but name is spelled slightly differently, Obika. These venues join other Obicà restaurants in Italy (Rome, Milan, Florence, and Palermo), as well as in London, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Dubai. The Broadway location can seat 120 dinners.
At Obicà four different kinds of mozzarella are available; they include Bufala Classica; Bufala Affumicata, smoked using hay; Burrata and Burrata al Tartufo, with black truffle. The mozzarella can be eaten in several ways, including directly, as it is from a plate, as a topping for salads, smothering pizzas and melting into soups.
If you cannot make up your mind, why not order The Obicà Experience? This prix fix offering is made up of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, a selection of cured meats and grilled vegetables; the Caponata alla Siciliana (eggplant stew) and warm rosemary focaccina to start. Next is the Pomodoro pizza, and then dessert.
There is a long list of salads served in the traditional Italian way, with minimal dressing on the greens; this allows diners to add oil and vinegar as they choose. Freshly made pizzas include porcini mushroom; there is also an interesting version using spicy sausage and cool burrata, which is added after the hot pizza comes out of the oven.
The Five Squares and a Circle Tour travels up Broadway from Union Square to Madison Square. The tour passes this restaurant. For each tour group, I point out Obicà. It is a very good place to eat!
Obicà is located at 928 Broadway. To get there ride bus numbers 1, 2, 3 or 5 directly down Fifth Avenue. Exit at the 23rd Street stop. Walk one block to 22nd Street; turn left. Walk one block to Broadway; cross the street and turn right. The restaurant will be on the left hand side, middle of the block. Ride the N or R subway trains to 23rd Street. Surface and walk with the traffic along Broadway to 22nd Street. Obicà is mid-block between 22nd and 21st Streets. For reservations call 212-777-2754.