A Mozzarella Bar
“Obicà means ‘Here it is!’ In the dialect of my home town of Naples, this is how we describe something that’s happening right before your eyes, like a freshly made Mozzarella, still dripping from its brine and ready to be eaten there and then.”
—Silvio Ursini, founder of Obicà Mozzarella Bar
We dined at Obicà with friends shortly after it opened. It was an all-Italian evening, having just seen a screening of The Trip to Italy, starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. The meal was far superior to the movie, which lacked a beginning, a middle and an end.
After arriving, we were shown to our table quickly. Our waiter, a native of Italy’s Campania region, like the cheese the restaurant is known for, was helpful and amusing; he tried to teach us a bit of Italian, without success!
The mozzarella is special; it is a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) cheese. Twice a week it is flown in from Italy’s cheesemakers in the country’s Campania region. 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.
We shared a variety of dishes. Bruschetta, with heirloom tomatoes and olives (heavenly); Carciofini di Gragnano, marinated artichokes from Gragnano (these were disappointing, looking and tasting as if they were from a jar); Trofie al Pesto, pasta with homemade Genovese basil pesto, potatoes, and string beans (perfect pesto); Pizza Funghi Porcini, porcini mushrooms, quadrello di bufala, black pepper (this was the best pizza I have ever eaten); and Prosciutto Crudo di Parma air-cured, 24-month aged pork with cantaloupe (as the vegetarian in the group, I skipped this bit; the ham is another DOP)
The dining space is sleek and ultra modern; it is also on the dark side, especially around the mozzarella bar. We were seated at the back of the restaurants, which is much better lit.
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!
Address 928 Broadway
Directions 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. 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.
ALL PHOTOS AND TEXT © THE AUTHOR 2014–2019