So I finally visited Eataly, the much-hyped Italian mega-world-store backed by Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. Eataly offers anything you can possibly want in terms of Italian ingredients, as well as a wine bar, pizza restaurant and other dining options. It was bright, lively, and full of delicious aromas. Yet all I could think was:
Will someone please give me a instruction book?
Alright, so I might not be the most directionally adept person in the world, but I found it ironic that I was less lost in Italy (yes, the country) than Eataly. Yes, there were signs telling me where everything was:
but little guidance on how everything worked. For example, there is a large center section where diners stand at tall tables and can enjoy cheese, salumi and wine. The place was pretty packed, but I managed to find a table spot. I waited a while, but no one came by to take my order, so I walked around – perhaps it was a cash and carry dealio. However, I couldn’t determine where to order the food. Then I found a few paper menus strewn on some tables – so maybe someone was supposed to take your order after all? I determined what I wanted from the menu, and once again – tried to find out if someone was supposed to take my order I asked around, but no one knew. After about 15 minutes, I gave up and left.
I then tried to get a seat at the pizza bar. The wait was 2.5 hours (which I wasn’t too keen on), but I was told I could enjoy some wine and walk around. Again, if I knew how the beverage ordering system worked, I’d consider it. Boo.
Eataly did have some great food displays:
There was a noticeable price premium – if I were getting typical dried linguine, I’d probably purchase it elsewhere. However, Eataly did have a good selection of harder-to-find ingredients, which was nice.
In the end, I left without buying or eating anything – Eataly is relatively new in NYC, so hopefully the experience will improve later on. However, I found it too unorganized and not user-friendly to make for an enjoyable experience. I’m holding off on a rating until I can visit it again.
Ironically, there was this sign at the exit:
…and I wanted to leave some feedback. But the comment cards were at the entrance, and not the exit. How does that make sense? I wasn’t about to loop around again, but if they really want feedback wouldn’t it be more prudent to leave the comment cards at the exit? Boo.
200 5th Ave. (at 23rd St.)