Eataly’s Verdure Makes a Vegan out of Me

Everyone and their mom has been to Mario Batali’s Italian-supermarket-on-baseball-player-steroids, Eataly. Everyone, that is, but me. So I went with my mom.
The grocery store was amazing. Beautiful, clean, spacious, and – at 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning – mostly deserted! 
Thank heavens…because, seriously…I hate most people. Not you, of course…but most people.
 I want to focus not on what I bought there (which was plenty), but on what I ate there.
I know, I know. I ate at the vegetarian restaurant. I know you are thinking that some alien has overtaken my body, because have I EVER eaten a meal without an animal product in it?
Well, this meal was VEGAN.
And it was ethereal, satisfying and impeccably crafted.
I know…I am shocked too.

The bread came wrapped in brown butcher paper. Very cute, but not very tasty. Dense, stale, kinda tasteless…just not feeling it.
And then…this happened.

The daily bruschetta offering. Cremini, Oyster and Shitake Mushrooms sauteed in olive oil with parsley and a touch of garlic, served on caramelized onion jam covering thick-cut toasted bread.
I mean…really?
This dish was so meaty, hearty and umami-filled that I would have sworn any NUMBER of animals had died in the making of it. The shrooms were thick cut, toothsome and incredibly juicy. The onions had clearly been cooked for HOURS, and were a sweet, sticky counterpart to the charred bread and meaty mushrooms. The parsley added a light and grassy touch, and the whole thing was just a perfect combination of flavors and textures. 

The Citrus and Fennel Salad. Thinly shaved fennel, redolent of licorice and a grassy, vegetal taste and grapefruit, blood oranges and oranges lending their sweet and sour tastes to the dish. All of the citrus was ‘supremed’, which I just LOVE. Theer was no sign of bitter pith or tough connective fibers, just the soft, juicy segments of the fruits. Plenty of pepper, a tough of salt, and extremely light olive oil brought all the flavors together. This dish is going on my ‘to cook’ list, stat!
A Selection of Warm Vegetables and Farro Salad  in a Nebbiolo Vinaigrette.  WHOA! So simple but sooooo divine! Think fennel, turnips, brussels sprouts, celery root, red peppers, asparagus and scallions all roasted with very light olive oil so the veggies are all a bit charred, a bit crisp, a bit caramelized and totally delicious. The salad was light, with a variety of flavor and textures from the bitter radicchio and tender frisee lettuces. Not going to lie, the farro reminded me a bit of couscous and nothing else, but the light and tangy vinaigrette added a light note to the hearty and root vegetable-focused dish. I would order this again and again.

Last, we tried the Braised artichoke with Tomato, Olives and Potatoes. This was Marmie’s favorite dish of the day, and I was quite taken with it, too! Think acidic, sweet tomatoes with creamy potatoes and softly braised artichokes. Add in the salinity of green olives, some well caramalized onions and some pillowy foccacia, and you have yourself a satisfying meal that anyone would want on a cold day. Or a warm one. Humidity. Whenever, really. The dish really accentuated the unique taste of artichokes without being too heavy or not filling enough.
This meal was totally vegan. It was delicious. It was casual. It was expensive, but hey…you only live once, right?
Next time, I can hit up the sausage counter for dessert.
That’s what she said.

Comments

  1. Hungry says:

    I went there on a Sunday afternoon. It was terrible! Waaay too many people. I couldn't even ogle in peace.

  2. Joanne says:

    10 AM, eh? that's when I need to go? I'm on it.

    So now I am officially the LAST foodie in NYC who has not been to Eataly yet. Sigh. I feel like a failure.

    this meal…I love it. My kind of food.

  3. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @hungry-yeah, i heard it gets beyond crazy!
    @joanne-you got it lady! omg lets GO TOGETHER!!! for reals!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    The Beer Garden/ Brewery is opening this Spring.

  5. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    Suh-WEET!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I thought I was the last person in ny to go so I went last week. Never again. Tourists, tourists and more tourists. Who wants to eat a meal with swarms of tourists around you? Not me.

  7. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @anon-oh i would have hated eating somewhere that crowded, too! but that's why i went so early in the morning-it was a total delight!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the information, as I'm planning a spring jaunt to NY which will surely include a visit to Eataly it's much appreciated.
    I cook professionally and love eating around in our own strongly touristed city, New Orleans, and I simply do not share in the broad tourist disdain repeated above. While tourists may often lumber about like landbound manatees, speak as loudly as chainsaws and be generally uncool they also bring money, lots and lots of money, enough to keep many of my favorite places thriving.
    When we chose to live where people from all over the globe wish to be they will come, thankfully. Get over it or better still, usher them in and draft in their beneficial trail. If you are indeed a savvy local you'll learn how to slip by when not in the mood. If not there is likely still some vacant space in North Dakota.

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