My kiwi friend who lives in NYC, has been raving about how much, being half Italian, I was going to love this place. Si Si, d’accordo!. My jaw just dropped every second once inside this foodie hall. I didn’t know which way to turn, as I didn’t want to miss a thing. Everything looked and smelled so delicious, and I could have eaten and drunk my way through the entire shop; from chocolates to cheeses, meats, fish, vegetables, wines plus there is amazing kitchenware to purchase. I felt like Willy Wonka.
Eataly is the brainchild of Mario Batali (the famous NYC Italian chef who also has his own cooking show), in the FlatIron District of NYC, on 200 Fifth Ave, 23rd St. There is also one in Chicago, and I hear they have plans to go global. It is not far from the other foodie heaven, Chelsea Market.
There are 7 restaurants to choose from, and our Philly friends booked us into Birreria-the rooftop restaurant/brewery, for lunch. This is co-owned by Joe Bastianich. Mmm I checked out Joe’s profile and he’s a hottie, Italian/New Yorker son of the famous chef Lidia Bastianich, who runs the Scuola NYC (Cooking school). It sounds like you’re swearing when you say their surname :). Bastianich! Bastianich! I’ve also watched Lidia’s show on tv, and tried some of her amazing recipes. No sight of any of them though.
Birreria pride themselves on their traditional hand pump brews that are unfiltered, unpasteurized and naturally carbonated (sounds like milk or carbonated water). I loved the female Italian names for some of these; Giuseppina, Sofia and Gina. Sorry Nina (my current cat and Lucia previous cat), these are my next Italian cat names. They also had a huge selection of alla spina (tap beer) and alla bottiglia (bottled). The extensive wine list featured reds and whites from Spain, Argentina, Italy and California.
The menu focuses on good comfort Italian food, influenced by Austria and Germany. We weren’t overly hungry so opted to share plates. We had an antipasto misto with salumi, olives, picked veges and parmesan, beer braised pork shoulder (which got our highest vote), a pork sandwich and a polenta with a meat ragu. Mmm oohs and ahs and quiet reigned over the table, while we indulged.
The portions aren’t large (what? I hear you say, this is America?) and they are expensive, but this is NYC and it’s quality food.
Reservations are a must. The views are breathtaking including the Empire State Building, Madison Square Park and the cool Flatiron building and yep, this is factored into your bill. The service here was good too. Io ritorno!