Upon finding out that an impromptu NYC trip was in my future, I immediately knew that Eataly had to be a stop on my marathon food tour. The renowned Italian food market came to NYC straight from Italy in 2010, and shows no signs of slowing in popularity. Along with being a food market to satisfy any lover of Italian cooking, Eataly houses seven ‘tasting rooms’ (as described by co-owner Mario Batali)- Il Pesce (seafood), Le Verdure (vegetarian), La Pizza & La Pasta (pizza and pasta- some of these are pretty self-explanatory), La Piazza (family style cheese and salumi plates), Manzo (mostly beef but also other meats), Birreria (the rooftop brewery) and Pranzo (lunch). After being informed that the wait for La Pizza & La Pasta was over two hours, we meandered around and found ourselves at Le Verdure, where we were seated immediately (go figure). We started off with the daily bruschetta, which was topped with burrata and kabocha squash. The squash was perfect, and the only thing I would have added were a few chilli flakes to top everything off. Between the four of us we ordered the polenta, gnocchi, farrotto and cannelloni. All four dishes were incredible- the polenta was filled with rich, earthy notes of fall, with the parsnips and garlic. The gnocchi, prepared with roasted tomatoes and piquillo pepper purée, was bright and made the most of the last summer tomatoes- it tasted so fresh, especially against the more autumnal notes of the other dishes. The farrotto is not for one who never grew out of their childhood aversion to broccoli- it was not only topped with lovely, multi-colored florets, but also in a lovely broccoli purée dotted with leeks. And finally the wild mushroom cannelloni- I’ll save you my usual wild mushroom praises, because this time it was the fresh pasta that stole the show. It’s difficult to describe what sets fresh pasta so far above its boxed counterpart- the smooth texture and perfect al dente bite are only the beginning. It was truly incredible, and left me wishing that we had time to give La Pasta another go on a different night. Eataly lives up to its reputation, as far as I’m concerned, and I could easily spend days meandering through, exploring the pastas, cheeses and wine, while dropping into a different tasting room every time I got hungry! I’m really happy that we ended up at the Le Verdure- I make pasta a lot and got many interesting ideas simply from the all vegetarian menu. I’m sure it is not the first tasting room on everyone’s list, but I can’t encourage you enough to stop by! Beautifully composed dishes with veggies as the star of the show- what’s not to love?
Daily Bruschetta- Burrata with Kabocha Squash
that lion ring.
Farrotto con Broccoli
Gnocchi Alla Romana
Cannelonni Ai Funghi
Polenta with Parsnips
pumpkins greeted us upon walking in
and this massive sign showed us the way out