This week, in lieu of a review, Sam Sifton files a Critic's Notebook piece on Eataly, the megamart and food hall from Joe Bastianich and Mario Batali. He asks, "Is Eataly a menace (so big and corporate) or an answered prayer (OMG, they sell Barilla bucatini)? Does it represent a step forward for Italian food at the upper end of the economic spectrum of New York, or is it simply a mass-market retail play that capitalizes on the fame of its most visible partners, Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and his mother, Lidia Bastianich?" It's a little bit of everything, meaning there's a lot to like, a lot not to like.
What Sifton likes: The groceries, Il Pesce, the food at Manzo (not the setting), the imported dried pastas, the prepared sauces, the desserts, the bread. What he doesn't: the carbon footprint, the pizzas, the crowds. Over on Diner's Journal, Sifty asks readers to talk about other grocers in Manhattan and their rise to prominence, but so far the commenters mainly want to complain about Eataly or squabble about details in his article.
Ryan Sutton files a take down of Mario Batali's overpriced and underwhelming Del Posto: "I would like to report that the Benjamins are justified, that Del Posto is to pasta what Masa is to sushi, but it isn’t. It’s not even Batali’s best (that would be the still-brilliant Babbo). Not with a Bolognese this boring, nor with soggy, inedible potato chips at the bar, and off-season asparagus in October." [Bloomberg]
Meanwhile, the Cuozz has a slam for tiki wonderland The Hurricane Club: "...does food need to be acceptable to normal humans if the drinks and the scene give you a good enough laugh?...Although it’s hard to stay mad at a place that looks so good, the menu here really is quite terrible." [NYP]
The Robs award three Underground Gourmet stars each to Brooklyn neighborhood spots Roman's and Lot 2: "...Lot 2 has more in common with Roman’s than a neighborly vibe and creative house cocktails. There’s the fervent locavore streak that permeates the small, often-changing menu, the reliance on local farms for fresh produce, the short but thoughtful beer and wine lists." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Betsy Andrews files an Under on ramen world newcomers Hide-Chan Ramen and Totto Ramen just in time for the cold weather to settle in and Gael Greene has a twofer on the new, packed iteration of Bills Bar & Burger and the relocated Dinosaur BBQ.
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats gives an A- to The Hurricane Club, The Pink Pig has a rave for Jehangir Mehta's sophomore effort Mehtaphor, Jay's NYC likes the food and service but can't get past the awkward location of Riverpark, Eat Big Apple is enamored of the food at The Lambs Club but hates paying $18 for cocktails, The College Critic likes his meal and gets paranoid that he'll be spotted at Riverpark, The Food Doc has some hits and misses at Osteria Morini, NYC Foodie is overly enthused with Bar Artisanal replacement Pelea and regularly enthused with Osteria Morini, Law and Food gives a shout out to Karen DeMasco and her influence over the brunch at Locanda Verde and NY Journal is annoyed by the atmosphere at Eataly's Manzo, even if the food is darn good.