Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Have you ever dined at a nice restaurant and wondered, why are there not grocery shoppers with shopping carts weaving between the tables? Or, have you ever been buying groceries and thought, what would make this even more interesting is if a waiter carrying the dishes and glassware for a party of six were to cross my path? If you answered "yes" to either of these questions, Eataly's got you covered. The place also takes the 'stand while you eat, it's not annoying, it's European!' trend to a new level. Not only do customers at the what's-Italian-for-charcuterie (antipasto?) "restaurant" have to stand at free-standing "bars" in the middle of the food hall, but customers using the place as a supermarket could make one wrong turn and oops there goes the Chianti.

If the groceries were just decor - and I kind of assumed they would be, what with the press about the "vegetable butcher" - there'd be no shopping carts, and the cost would be in the 'is this a store or a museum?' range. Yet the prices were... unremarkable. I wouldn't say cheap, but assuming you're looking only for the sorts of things that never are (good meat, fish, vegetables), and you're not the sort to fall for the 'hmm, that dry pasta is $8 a box, it must be so much better than De Cecco' hoax, you'd be no better off price-wise at Whole Foods.

The other advantage over the Greenmarket - or the more apt comparison, Chelsea Market - is that you can pay for everything at once, and with a credit card. Which I sure did. Baby artichokes at $3.50/lb, this is a delightful way to make a dinner non-blah. (I "butchered" them myself, and with one hand mostly out of commission.) I also picked up fish and steak, each of which were $10 for two. (One can only base so many meals around the concept of plumping up legumes or dry pasta in water. Even grad students gotta eat!) And, uh, some Barilla bucatini. It's really a shame the place is so hard to navigate, because food halls are, in theory, the greatest thing in the whole world.


PG said...

Good to know for me, as I like food. My husband was mostly excited about Eataly because of the Dogfish Head pub connection -- is that open yet?

Phoebe said...

I saw a whole section devoted to beer, but didn't notice a pub. That doesn't mean there wasn't one - the place was a zoo, so it was hard to tell what they had.