|Eataly is a New York food experience like no other --photo courtesy of Eataly|
Walking into Eataly for the first time is a New York food experience like no other. It's not uncommon to stop dead in your tracks, look up and around, and say “Wow!” After you enter, it will be only seconds before a dozen or more people walk in the door behind you, urging you to keep exploring the abundance of fresh ingredients and prepared dishes from which to choose in this foodie's marketplace.
If you can find a place to sit, I highly recommend having an appetizer before your meal. (The Italian way to kill time!) There are separate fish, cheese, meat, and vegetarian eating areas. Yes, Eataly is that big! Also keep in mind --- the restaurants La Piazza, Il Pesce, Il Verdure, and La Pizza and Pasta do not accept reservations. Tables are only available on a first come, first served basis. But, there are plenty of other areas of Eataly to keep you busy and stop you from starving while you wait. You can even grab a glass of wine while you shop!
|Eataly has a large selection of cured meats and cheeses--photo courtesy of Eataly|
At last our table was ready and we were seated and pizza was on our agenda. My parents and I shared the classic Margherita ($14), with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, and the Capricciosa ($18), with mozzarella, mushrooms, ham, artichokes, tomato sauce, and black olives. The dough was thin and soft--just the way I like it. I am the first to admit that my love for basil is more than average, so I was disappointed in the Margherita because it only had two small leaves of basil on the whole pie.
|Although the pizza was tasty, I would've liked more fresh basil.--photo courtesy of Eataly|
|Freshly shucked oysters at Eataly with a glass of Ribolla Gialla|
Gianna and I shared two dishes: the Spaghettone Cacio e Pepe, ($18), served very al dente, like in Italia, with cheese from Lazio and black pepper, and the Lasagne with Ragu alla Bolognese, ($16). The spaghetti was just as al dente and black peppered as the server had described. I felt it might have been a little bit overpowering for my liking because after a few forkfuls I was ready to try my piece of lasagne. Perhaps what had turned me off was the heaviness of the pasta (spaghettone is a thicker spaghetti) and the generous amount of olive oil in the dish. Gianna, however, loved it and finished my portion. The lasagne was very well balanced with tender meat sauce and mozzarella cheese, and it worked out perfectly that Gianna and I ended up happily finishing the pasta and lasagne individually.
|Spaghettone Cacio e Pepe at Eataly-- by Muy Yum via Flickr|
The Eataly experience doesn't come cheap, though. I am always guilty of spending more money than I would like, but I just have to tell myself the fresh, delicious food, attentive service, and Italian ambiance are worth the cost.
The original Eataly was opened in Turin, Italy in 2007. Eataly was founded by entrepreneur Oscar Farinetti and restaurant geniuses, Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and Lidia Bastianich of B& B Hospitality Group.
200 5th Ave at W 24th St