La Piazza at Eataly
200 5th Ave (at W 23rd St.)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (646) 398-5100
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Area: Flatiron District
If you've been to Eataly you know how difficult it can be to choose the right station to get you fill of Italian food. One of my favorite spots is La Piazza which has the feel of a European market where diners gather at tables while nibbling on various cheeses and charcuterie. And of course, there is plenty of wine to go around.
le Cucine is one section where the housemade mozzarella is the star. You can have it served with basil and extra virgin olive oil, prosciutto, or sauteed spinach with roasted fresno chilies. My dish revolved around a mound of fresh mozarella that was so soft, so silky, it cut like a pat of butter. A drizzle of neon green basil pesto adding some bite to the mellowness of the cheese which sat atop several slices of the sweetes, most wonderful roasted eggplant I've tasted. I may be a diehard meat lover, but this dish could easily make me give up meat forever. But, if you do desire meat there is plenty to be had, ranging from prosciutto di parma to salumi along with a vegetable station and another dedicated to fish, which is also terrific.
After your meal you can stock up on an assortment of cheeses and cured meats at prices that surprisingly won't bust your budget. In the meat section, small portions go for five or six dollars. We spotted spicy copa, sweet copa, imported bresaola, mortadella, roasted pancetta and an assortment of prosciutto.
La Piazza reminded me of a trip I made to Italy when I was still in college. In order to save money we would buy a loaf of bread and pile on the fresh mozarella and prosciutto. Tourists and New Yorkers alike can do that here. Mangia.
Review By: Thomas Rafael