September 10, 2010

Batali and Co's EATALY: Part 2 - The Restaurants

After grocery shopping at Eataly, we definitely worked up an appetite seeing all of the food.  There are numerous places to eat...and everywhere required a wait.  In addition to sandwich counters and a couple of restaurants, every section of the grocery store seems to have a corresponding dining area.  We decided to immediately put our names down for a spot at the pizza/pasta place (spots for 2 at the counter took 45 minutes, though we overheard a table of 4 state that they waited roughly 90 minutes), then wander around/wait in other lines (like the panini line which was roughly 20 minutes).

The coffee bar opens an hour earlier than the rest of Eataly (currently 9 AM) so you can enjoy an espresso, like co-owner Mario Batali, or try any number of desserts ($3.80-$5.80)
Even the chocolates are flown in from Italy...
The longest lines were for the panini which are pre-made and are either cold ($4.80) or pressed hot to order (up to $8.80).  The panini are surprisingly small - and seemed more like a snack than a full meal (several people in our line remarked on the size and opted to buy 2...which can add up to a fairly expensive lunch).
We tried all three hot paninis and surprisingly found the Mushroom and Taleggio ($6.80) to be the tastiest.  The cheese was melted and the mushrooms were so warm and earthy.  We were more disappointed with the Spicy Sopressata and Provolone panini.  It was not worth the $8.80 we paid for it as we could have just bought a whole package of sopressata and made the sandwich ourselves.
My husband liked the Bresaola with arugula pesto ($8.80 each) because it was soft and quite tasty despite the hefty price tag (he loves bresaola!).  I thought the sandwich needed more pesto and that we could have just bought bresaola from the deli area.
Lots of dining spaces including charcuterie standing tables/counters, the wine bar, the pizza/pasta restaurant, and the fish area. 
Those who didn't want to wait for pizza went to the bakery instead and got a slice of flatbread.
After our 45 minute wait for a table, we sat past the two wood-burning ovens and were seated at the counter in front of the pasta station.  After mulling over the various options, wines and beers, the server encouraged us to try and share one pizza and pasta, but we opted for the pizzas.
The Margherita pizza was the second cheapest option at $13 (and seemed to be the most popular pie eaten in the restaurant during our visit).  Like a lot of the Neapolitan pizza being offered in the NY area, it had a soft and slightly charred crust.  It's small enough that one person could eat the whole thing.  The fresh basil was fragrant, but the star of the pie was the creamy cheese on it.  Overall, we thought this pizza pie may not be the best in NYC, but it is definitely worth a try.
We splurged on the $20 Frutti di Mare (seafood) pie with fresh mussels, clams, shrimp, and calamari. No cheese on this pie, but we liked the tasty sauce with the briny shellfish and shrimp.  The pie isn't too greasy and is probably one of the better seafood pizzas we've enjoyed.  Beautiful to look at and even better to eat, we were glad we ordered this pizza pie.
Penne with tomato, mozzarella, and basil ($14), Tagliatelle with bright green Pesto Genovese ($14, a popular choice), Fusilli with a meat and tomato sauce ($17, the pictured server's favorite pasta), and my neighbor's Spaghetti with cheese and black pepper ($13).
Though we didn't order any pasta dishes, sitting at the pasta counter gave us great spot to "pasta-watch".  At first a lot of the orders were for pasta but that died down quickly while the pizzas kept being churned out from the wood-fired pizzas. 
Vegetarian Lasagna with eggplant, mozzarella, and tomatoes ($16), Traditional Lasagna with a meat ragu ($16), Ravioli filled with meat ($16), and Paccheri with the Daily  Chef's Selection ($18).
The pasta options looked good, especially the fresh pastas, but are priced high for the small portion size.  Though many of the ingredients are imported from Italy, the prices still seemed high considering Eataly's a combined market restaurant concept. 

Overall, if you have the time, put your names down for the pizza area and then wander around.  We probably would not wait in the panini line again (but if it was short, we'd go for the mushroom panini), and would opt to make our own sandwiches by buying some sliced meats with bread from the bakery.  The fish/raw bar area also looked very tempting, so we'll probably check that out the next time we visit.

Eataly is located at 200 5th Ave (btwn 23rd and 24th Sts) in NYC.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this glimpse inside Eatly. I suppose it will eventually calm down but right now it seems so crazy!!


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