Friday, September 3, 2010

Oh Mario! A Quick Visit to Eataly

Fans of food, Italy and Italian food have been abuzz this week. The Mario Batali-spearheaded superstore, eatery, meeting place, bookstore, wine shop, gelateria, etc., etc., aka Italian Food Heaven, Eataly, opened this week across the street from Madison Square Park (and Shake Shack) in Manhattan. I know you already know Mario Batali.

He's been on Top Chef multiple times, Iron Chef America, likes to film TV shows where he traipses across Spain with Gwenyth Paltrow and wears orange Crocs.

First of all, I know that many of you who live in places where your supermarkets are large and spread out are probably like, "What's the big deal?" Well, for us here in NYC, Eataly is a big deal. Why?

This is an approximately 50, 000 square feet SPECIALTY food store that only sells things from or about, or in the style of Italy. While probably not as big as a Walmart, for the middle of Manhattan, this is enormous. Whole Foods, this is not. If you want to find any food stuff from Italy or anything to help you cook any Italian cuisine, then you are going to have to come here at some point.

What's there?
A bookstore. Mario's books will be there too. Don't worry.

All kinds of Italian bottled water that you haven't heard of.

Handmade pasta. It's an Italian grocery store. Hello!

There's also lots of pasta that you might not have heard of. Have you heard of Ruote? I haven't. Don't front. You know you haven't as well. :)

Tajarin? Haven't heard of that one either, but I'm now interested in learning.

No shortage of bread

Lots of game. I'm glad to know that I know have a reliable source for rabbit (Sorry, Bugs).

Seafood. The seafood guy says that they're getting so much more stuff in the next few weeks. Might be a reason for another pass through.

An extremely important section, the chocolate...

Could you get through a big ol' slab of chocolate like this one?

This is not just a place to buy grocreies or books for your fabulous at home Italian meal, but it's also an opportunity to eat Italian food. While I did not eat here, there are small mini-restaurants emphasizing a certian ingredient or type of food whether it be fish, cheese, charcuterie, and, most importantly, pizza. People can eat here at La Piazza (pictured below) or at any of the sections devoted to that mini-restarant.

There's also a more high-end mini-restaurant with a wine emphasis lest we leave out the high rollers.

If you just want dessert, you can find that too. What CAN'T you find here? in other words you can live here all day (I'm not sure if there is free wi-fi), and then buy stuff to make dinner at home. I'm still pretty much in awe. While I was there I walked right next to Joe Bastianich. You know who this guy is. He's the dude with the soul patch on Master Chef on Fox, BUT he's also a powerful restaurateur and, along with Mario Batali, has established a restaurant empire here in New York City. His mother, Lidia, is a legend herself.

Ooppss..I was about to forget the wine shop in part because I almost walked past it on the way out. New York State does not allow the sale of wine (or liquor) in grocery stores (you can buy beer. There's a section for that too...but of course!), so while attached to the main building, the wine shop has a separate entrance. I was still doing legislative work when the "wine in grocery stores" issue was up for consideration. It didn't pass this year either.

There are reasonably priced bottles here, so if you need something under $20, you can add this to your list of wine shops.

My only issue with Eataly would be prices. I remember this guy whispering to his friend, "Dude, this is $18." He was talking about a very small whole chicken (maybe it was squab?). I know we are used to high prices here in New York City, but I wonder if Eataly can keep us coming back for more imported Italian goodness in this economy and in the years to come.

Anyway, at least I have a place where I can get my pappardelle when I can't find it at Whole Foods.

Do you have any favorite local specialty shops?

200 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York


Ali @ His Birdie's Nest said...

JEALOUS! I should probably Google this but I wonder if he is planning on opening on in LA... or Newport Beach (hint hint Mario, hint hint).

stephanie michele said...

I am drooling over here...I so wish I lived in NYC and had all of these faboush places nearby! You are a lucky gal!

BigAppleNosh said...

I spy razor clams!! Yum! :)

Ghenet said...

I passed by this place the other day and now I definitely have to check it out!

Cathleya said...

Oh man... heaven! We have a tiny but amazing Italian market in my hometown that I love so much but it's sooo small compared to this one!

D. Marie said...

I love watching Mario on Iron Chef...he is one of the nicest chefs on there. I loved watching when he was on there with Rachel Ray! Between this place and your summer time pictures of peach ice cream in the BBP Im jealous and in Love with NYC...I need to get out more! I havent even been to down town Philly in a few yrs...last time I was down there was at the art museum. Hoping to get to NYC to see Wicked! :) Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Mrs. Hot Cocoa said...

Oh my goodness. I have found paradise, and it is in NYC.

Creature Gorgeous said...

YOU.ARE.SO.LUCKY to have this near you!! You had me with WHOLE RABBIT and absinthe candy!!!!!!!!! Also, can I come over for dinner sometime? You have such great foodie taste!

BWB said...

ahh an italian supermarket, I love it! I'll definitely have to stop by sometime.

Katie said...

Ahhhh this looks SO FREAKIN awesome! I'm so jealous. So so jealous.


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