Check payable: Mario Batali

I’ve written before about Lupa and its status as my favorite place to eat, specifically their bar, when I’m in NYC. It would be misleading though to deny my absolute love for pretty much all Mario Batali does, food wise, in New York City. A recent overnight trip illustrates why I have often joked that I should simply write a check directly to Mario Batali to minimize the number of times I have to take my wallet out when I’m eating my way around New York.  Here, I’ll show you what I mean…

I was traveling with my bestie and we had nothing but time so we began at Eataly’s amazing rooftop beer garden, Birreria.  Although I’ve been to Eataly a number of times, this was my first occasion to visit this hip hangout and I will definitely head back there again.  The elevator to reach Birreria is a bit hidden, but well worth finding.  I was committed to drinking grape rather than grain, so it was a pricy and pretty rose’ for me – Fontana Fredda Langhe Rosso 2008 $18, 250 ml.  Refreshing and tasty.

We found our way back down to 23rd Street and enjoyed a leisurely walk down 5th Avenue to the West Village and our destination, Lupa.  Yes, I know I was just there barely a week ago, but it was Sunday and Sunday’s Piatto del Giorno is hands down my favorite $20 entree in the city, Braciola alla Cacciatore.  I mean, look at this plate:

In addition to this plate of gorgeousness, we enjoyed two salads, Escarole, Walnut, Red Onion & Pecorino ($11) and the Panzanella ($12) to start, and an order of dynamite Sweet Corn Cappellacci  ($18).  The pasta was incredibly tender and light and absolutely epitomized the wonders of using the freshest seasonal ingredients in a sublime and simple fashion.  Fantastic.  We ate at the bar, natch, and thoroughly enjoyed the friendliness of the other guests and the staff.  Perfect.  I had a couple of glasses of wine, a rose’ to start and a red which was selected by our bartender and completely met my request for something earthy and smoky.  I was a tad beyond taking notes at that point, but I intend to get there again Labor Day weekend and will try to not get too drunk remember to get the name.  So much fun!

Monday morning was a lazy, slow starting day for me.  I did a little wandering around and met a friend for coffee in Union Square before making my final stop at Eataly for some provisions to bring upstate.  I have a friend who has been quite particular about his favorite brand of gorgonzola recently and I thought it would be fun to have a little blue cheese tasting to broaden his horizons while simultaneously constricting his arteries.
With assistance from the cheese guy, I ended up with a domestic blue cheese and two imported varieties made from an array of milks – goat, cow and raw cow.  Our absolute funky favorite was the gorgonzola cremificato guffant – it was beautifully creamy and pungent and was perfect with our accompaniments of rustic bread with olives, 24-month aged prosciutto and Ligurian olive oil.  The simplest of foods, each perfect and flavorful, made for a lovely evening’s repast upon my return to the DelSo.  But prior to catching my train to leave the city there was still lunch to be had…
I wasn’t feeling anything in particular for lunch, other than a desire for something kind of light.  Eataly’s fairly new restaurant, Pranzo, had a menu that fit the bill.  The philosophy of this place is a marriage of food and education and each month they focus on a particular region of Italy.  I went with the $27, two-course prix fix and started with a fresh salad of arugula, strawberries and pecorino followed by pasta with basil and blistered tomatoes.  The seating is a combination of individual tables and communal seating and my server was cutely enthusiastic about what she was serving.  A nice meal served with friendliness is always a good way to say arrivederci, don’t you think?  It will be interesting to see how this place evolves and I like the idea of a menu which changes at predictable intervals.  Maybe I need to try to make a monthly trip for educational purposes?

So, 2 days and 3 distinct Batali restaurants, as well as a retail splurge…yeah, let me just get my checkbook, Mario.

5 thoughts on “Check payable: Mario Batali

      1. It is a bit further afield (that is to say, taking the train for about 45 minutes to eat and then come back is a bit much, perhaps; apparently there’s one in Westport, CT too; Will there be any Mom & Pop restaurants left?), but IMO, they had decent food. Taken straight from their website, I enjoyed this: Goat Cheese with Pistachios and Truffle Honey, but maybe it’s not your thing. Also, sadly, I haven’t tried any other Batali places but, ehem…parts of Eataly. Have you been to Felidia?

    1. Love Otto, Sandra! It’s a great spot when I’m traveling with the boys – I think Quinn was 8 days old the first time he was there. Try changing a baby in that bathroom!

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