Archive for August, 2012

OCD with Batali at Eataly

I am not obssessed with Batali/Bastianich eateries.. I am not obsessed with Batali/Bastianich eateries… I am not.

One just must understand that when I bark for mealtime and dish after dish is placed in front of me that continues to satisfy every epicurean cell of my being, I will return for that gastronomic experience like a loyal puppy. And so, Mario Batali has collared me and walked me to numerous establishments in New York City to lap up some luscious morsels that make me want to run around in circles over. There is one place that leaves me in the center of a culinary carnival with difficult choices to make whichever direction I face. That is the wonder of Eataly – an Italian food market modeled after the one in Turin, Italy. Mario Batali, Lidia & Joe Bastianich, and Founder Oscar Farinetti have joined together to bring this permanent food festival to NYC.

Walking into Eataly feels like you’ve entered a European cafe with hightop tables for those ordering gelato and/or coffee. As you traverse the center aisle, smells of Italian products waft through the air – from packaged Baci chocolates to

Sicilian breaded Swordfish

cheeses and cured meats. The carnival really begins when you turn the corner to the counter of La Piazza, where crowds are standing at marble tabletops, delighting in platters of salumi and formaggi, sipping on wine. The making of fresh mozzarella is displayed. If you make it past here without ordering something, your will is stronger than mine. Two eateries are eye-cathingly at the center: Le Verdure, which pops with colorful plates of fresh, local, seasonal products but no meat, and Il Pesce, serving seafood dishes with all the fish coming from Eataly’s Seafood Counter. This is the place I found myself sitting twice. Although you are essentially dining in the center of a ‘supermarket’, it feels nothing like a

Grilled Cod on roasted corn w/basil, yellow/red grape tomatoes

Grilled Shrimp and mixed greens w/speck, roasted figs & balsamic reduction

food court and everything like a piazza with the case of fresh made pastas being sold just across the way. The sight and smell of the plate in front of me tend to take full hold of my attention to notice much else.

There are 12 eateries in total to feast upon, which guarantees you’ll need to return for a different meal. They vary from casual pizza and pasta to a new rooftop beer garden to an upscale “meat palace”. Because each place is so specialized, the only problem lies in that everyone in your group needs to be in the mood for the same type of food (meat, fish etc.). If there’s a vegetarian, and there’s someone that wants fish, they’ll be eating in separate quarters but can meet up at the dessert or espresso counter or to shop afterwards.

Food and Italy – since they seem almost synonymous, Eataly is a harmonious combination of both that everyone should rejoice in at least once.

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More Than a Bite at Bocconi restaurant

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