[Originally Posted in November 2011] I finally made my way to Eataly in NYC. I used to work on this block back in the 1990s for 10 years. What used to be a Toy Factory is now a Food Factory! Its easy to get overwhelmed in this place, I don’t even think I saw half of it. Unless I brought a cooler, and hundreds of dollars, I could not take full advantage of the experience. There were foods there in the market I’ve never seen before, like the artichokes with the full length stems still on; mushrooms and tomatoes of so many varieties, imagine an entire mall dedicated only to Italian food.
The shortest table to wait for at 2pm were the Fish and Vegetarian sections… I opted for the fish, I could never get enough GOOD fresh, fish! It was worth it. Here was the special appetizer, grilled baby octopus, so tender, so perfectly cooked… served over a bed of arugula, fingerling potatoes and chipollini onions with a Meyer Lemon drizzle. Delicious, probably one of the best, if not the best appetizer I’ve ever had (and should be for $17)!
While the Frito Misto was not what I expected, it was good, and the fried mint leaves added a flavor which was incredible. I don’t know if I was looking for fresher, lighter, or what, but I would not order this again, though its always been a long time favorite.
But by far, the winner was fresh Spanish Mackerel served on a bed of lentils. Delicious, not at all fishy tasting, even quite light.
I will be back to Eataly for sure, if not for the fresh foods that might spoil even if in a cooler on the ride back to Jersey, definitely for the breads, fresh pasta made before your eyes and to go there something AFTER 3pm when the crowd clears out and you can really enjoy all it has to offer.