Thursday, January 13, 2011

When In Eataly, Do As The Eatalians Do

Sofia Loren picnicking with classic Italian fare

When I think of Italy, I think of three things:

(1) Food.
(2) Sophia Loren.
(3) A much needed return to Capri.

Of those three, the first is the easiest to attain. After seeing the wonderful pictures on my friend Sukhie’s blog, I made it a point to visit Mario Batali’s Eataly.

Eataly is located in the Flatiron district in New York on 23rd and 5th. The setup is similar to your average market, but with a twist. Eataly draws you in because everything is beautifully set out and the smell of fresh brick oven pizza and pasta make it difficult to leave (not to mention that it gets so packed it’s virtually impossible to find an exit). In addition to being a fully stocked market selling meats, fish, vegetables, and deli goods, Eataly also houses several small restaurants to sit and enjoy the chaos around the market. To beat the lines, Alex and I decided to dine in their standing-room only Piazza.

We started with the Pesce Azzurro and Peperonata: marinated sardines with sweet peppers. Unfortunately this is not what I expected. I was looking forward to larger grilled sardines similar to the type they serve at Koo Zee Doo in Philadelphia. Instead, we were presented with a small plate of thinly sliced and marinated sardines. The thing is, I have those same sardines in my fridge because they are sold at every Eastern European supermarket for very cheap compared to Eataly. Mario Batali, you ain’t fooling me.

While we were less than excited about our starter, we still looked forward to the next plate: Grande Piatto Misto di Salumi: selection from Eataly’s salumeria. This was an assortment of different meats and salami’s served with fresh bread. I liked how the meats were served on a wooden cutting board to add to the appeal of being in a modern Italian market with a rustic touch.

The bread was what I really enjoyed in Eataly. At the Focacceria where they sell a wide array of freshly baked loaves of bread, they also make hot and fresh focaccia. We tried both the classic margherita and the onion, both of which were simply delicious.

Finally, on our way out we stopped by for a cup of coffee. The coffee they brew is wonderful and doesn’t need any sugar or milk. The only thing missing at Eataly was a ferry to whisk me away to Italy.

Ciao bella!

La Piazza

The Godfather

Grande Piatto Misto di Salumi


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