Serious Eats: Talk
Eataly - First Impression
- the space is big and pretty, but awkwardly laid out and cramped.
- absolutely packed with top notch merchandise. I didn't really examine the prices but first impressions are that produce and meats and breads and pastas made on premises are fairly priced, imported stuff seemed expensive. Buon Italia shouldn't feel threatened.
I spent the most time at the butcher stand, which is very well stocked, and has very good prices. I got a Piedmontese sirloin steak which was $11 and change / pound. They had whole rabbits, which can be hard to find in NYC, as well and skin on pork belly. They are not making their own sausages yet, but when the beer garden opens they will.
- The restaurants are peppered throughout the space. There's a veggie, seafood, pizza and pasta counter with table service, as well as counters for sandwiches, gelato and coffee. I didn't see the white tablecloth restaurant.
- I sat down and had a bowl of fusili pasta with tomato pork ragu and a menabrea beer. The pasta was good but nothing revelatory. Just good, bordering on meh. Portion was small, and cost $17. Overpriced. Beer was $6.80 for a 33cl. Weird pricing, as all the beers were $X.80
- a couple sitting next to me was pretty upset with their portion and even called over a manager to complain. I don't think they were rewarded for their efforts.
The manager had a lame excuse, saying "I'm from Italy, these are the portion sizes in Italy" but this is bullshit. The portions are primi sized. The pasta restaurant serves nothing but pasta and salad. Therefore the plates should be portioned as main courses which they are not.
I will be going back, I'm curious to see how the other restaurants fare for price/serving size. The pizza looked great and priced along the same lines as other Neapolitan pizza restaurants like Kesté.
I'd say after this first run that the hot pastas are a rip off. Avoid them. Pizzas look good, buy those. Produce and meats also. Imported products are hit or miss.