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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Going to Eataly

"Chicken of the sea" - fried blowfish tails
Raw razor clams with jalapeño, scallion and mint
Roasted branzino ('al forno') 
Collard greens
"Grande piatto misto salumi e formaggio" - assortment of cheese and cold meats
A mess of wine and food on a too-small table
"Pesce azzuro e peperonata" - marinated sardines with sweet peppers
LOCATION: Eataly (we ate at Il Pesce and La Piazza), 200 5th Ave., New York, NY 10010
At Il Pesce: glass of 2010 Langhe Arneis, Brandini, Piemonte and a glass of 2009 Orvieto, Campogrande, Santa Cristina, Umbria
At La Piazza: Monte Rossa, P.R. Rosé Brut, Franciacorta
WE THINK: We like buying groceries at Eataly--the giant Italian food hall on the corner of 5th Ave and 23rd st. In the fruit and veg section we'll buy white aubergines, fiddleheads and morels... yellow tomatoes, English peas and a bundle of ramps. We'll buy nice sparkling wine in the wine store, great pecorino in the cheese section and fresh pasta from the pasta counter. And it's not even that expensive. It's also possible to dine at Eataly. This, however, is expensive. There are a dozen different eateries, ranging from sandwich and cake shops to fine dining--even a vegetarian restaurant. And there's a newly opened beer garden/restaurant on the rooftop with views of the Manhattan skyline. We had lunch at La Piazza and Il Pesce on two different days. At Il Pesce, as the name suggests, it's strictly seafood. Renowned seafood chef, David Pasternack, serves up a selection of crudo and cooked seafood with ingredients from the neighbouring fish counter. We were not impressed by the blowfish tails (crust was dry and almost cold, boning was inconsistent, and the dish just wasn't that tasty), we liked our razor clams and we loved the baked branzino with plenty of lemon sprinkled on top. Collard greens were "meh". We asked for olive oil to accompany our bread and got it after asking 4 times, at the very end of our meal. It was very good olive oil. A second bottle of water never arrived but was politely struck off the bill. White wines by the glass were decent. At La Piazza you stand up and eat from tall, marble-topped communal tables that are way too narrow for the serving plates they use, and too small for the amount of people they stuff on each. Quite frankly pretty inconvenient. Our experience was nice, though. We had some tasty salumi and cheeses and some cute little yummy sardines, and the rosé prosecco was beautiful. 

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