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Ecco Eataly
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  • Post #91 - February 3rd, 2014, 6:14 pm
    Post #91 - February 3rd, 2014, 6:14 pm Post #91 - February 3rd, 2014, 6:14 pm
    Roger Ramjet wrote:
    zoid wrote:With the Italian mom and pop shops along North Avenue and Harlem, along with places like Caputo's and Freddy's in the Oak Park-Cicero-River Forrest area I'm struggling to figure out why I would slog downtown.

    With a great high-quality Italian store right downtown offering a ton of outstanding options, I have no reason to slog out to the far reaches of North Avenue, let alone the Oak Park Cicero River Forest area! Hurray!!

    I'd take J.P. Graziano, PQM and Bari over Eataly -- and they're all in the same general area as Eataly. One hardly has to leave this part the city to get genuine goods. But if one is frequently in River North, Eataly's got to be a fine addition.

    As for produce, from what I've seen at Eataly, even Jewel surpasses them, and they're ubiquitous.

    Upthread, my friend Vital Information compared Eataly to Las Vegas, which I thought was really interesting. To me, it was more like Disney World (and not because it's in the former ESPN Zone space).

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #92 - February 3rd, 2014, 7:26 pm
    Post #92 - February 3rd, 2014, 7:26 pm Post #92 - February 3rd, 2014, 7:26 pm
    Well okay then.

    "Produce" - that's the stuff they make salads out of, right? Don't think I care much about produce, nohow. :mrgreen:
    fine words butter no parsnips
  • Post #93 - February 3rd, 2014, 7:38 pm
    Post #93 - February 3rd, 2014, 7:38 pm Post #93 - February 3rd, 2014, 7:38 pm
    Roger Ramjet wrote:Well okay then.

    "Produce" - that's the stuff they make salads out of, right? Don't think I care much about produce, nohow. :mrgreen:

    It's a necessary evil! :lol:

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #94 - February 5th, 2014, 12:11 pm
    Post #94 - February 5th, 2014, 12:11 pm Post #94 - February 5th, 2014, 12:11 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    Roger Ramjet wrote:Well okay then.

    "Produce" - that's the stuff they make salads out of, right? Don't think I care much about produce, nohow. :mrgreen:

    It's a necessary evil! :lol:

    =R=


    Love the new quote. I was able to watch a season of Brooklyn 99 on planes over the past few days and that episode and line stood out.
  • Post #95 - February 9th, 2014, 2:25 pm
    Post #95 - February 9th, 2014, 2:25 pm Post #95 - February 9th, 2014, 2:25 pm
    I live and work within 5 blocks, so I've stopped by a few times. Mixed thoughts. A tomato and cheese topped focaccia for $2.80 (paid on the spot) was a good and tasty deal. The restaurants have been too crowded at the times I'm there. So far. The cheese section is huge, but I have to wonder how active are the sales. Happy to find Ligurian olive oil for making pesto. Bemused to find Garafalo spaghetti priced far higher than what I pay for it. At Costco. I bought some French-style radishes that worked out--but the rest of the produce was not impressive. I'm looking forward to the store being open late into the evening in warm weather--a good destination for a walk or a 5 p.m. gelato con passagiata to the river.

    I ignore the branding (years of practice on banner ads).
  • Post #96 - February 9th, 2014, 3:17 pm
    Post #96 - February 9th, 2014, 3:17 pm Post #96 - February 9th, 2014, 3:17 pm
    Picked up a gorgeous tray of Santa Barbara uni for $22.99 and some squid ink pasta for one dish and some freshly made gnocchi (from the pasta makers pan into a box--minus any semolina to keep them from sticking but they pulled apart pretty easily) to accompany a truffle recently arrived from Petite Gourmande's sister's backyard in France. All were delicious. Passed on the $5.00 cauliflower and picked up the same brand at WF for $3.00. Also grabbed a loaf of the rustic bread--love the stuff. I called ahead to see if the uni was in stock and the fishmonger called right back and offered to put a tray aside for me. What I like about Eataly continues to please.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #97 - February 9th, 2014, 4:50 pm
    Post #97 - February 9th, 2014, 4:50 pm Post #97 - February 9th, 2014, 4:50 pm
    hsm wrote:Bemused to find Garafalo spaghetti priced far higher than what I pay for it. At Costco.


    I'm also shocked that the prices at Eataly are higher than those at Costco.
  • Post #98 - February 11th, 2014, 8:47 pm
    Post #98 - February 11th, 2014, 8:47 pm Post #98 - February 11th, 2014, 8:47 pm
    Popped out of work (reasonably close by) and had lunch today with my wife and youngest son at the pizza and pasta place. This was my second visit, but first at which I ate at one of the restaurants. Pizza was cooked perfectly -- slightly soggy center, but not soggy elsewhere and great texture throughout. Pasta (buccatini all'amatriciana) was a bit more of a miss; just seemed oversauced. Have not had the dish in Italy, but have made it multiple times using reputable recipes, and this one just seemed to have way too much tomato and was generally out of balance. Not sure if this was a miss or if what I have had in the past is inauthentic, but I prefer it more delicately sauced -- basically a sheen of pork fat and tomato, whereas this was more of a heavy coating.

    I will say that the set up with the various restaurants being separate and it being difficult to discern whether/how it is possible to order things for different stations and eat together is less than user friendly. Although I can imagine the reasons behind the general setup, would have been helpful if someone could have told us how my wife could get a prime rib sandwich, the little guy a pizza, and me something else, but for us to still be able to eat together in the store instead of acting flummoxed when we asked.

    In terms of other observations, produce actually looked pretty good on quick glance. Was excited to check out the selection of amari, as I've been on a bit of a kick since a recent trip to Italy. Good selection generally, but only a fairly small handful of things I have not seen at Binny's. For what it's worth (and perhaps unsurprisingly), most bottles are a couple of bucks more expensive than at Binny's.

    Overall, happy to have this in the vicinity of my work, as the pizza was great and there is plenty else I would like to try.
  • Post #99 - February 14th, 2014, 3:40 pm
    Post #99 - February 14th, 2014, 3:40 pm Post #99 - February 14th, 2014, 3:40 pm
    I agree about eating together. You have to agree on what you feel like eating. I went to Verdure and LOVE the farro vegetable salad. That was just fantastic.

    One other time I went there to pick up some things for dinner, though, and I was surprised to find that there is really very little you can take out. Even the rotisserie stand was empty and a few chickens were not done yet. Really not a take away place. Which is fine, but when I went to Verdure, I decided to go about it the way it seems to be intended, which is to say as a place where you meet friends, have a drink, and eat a bite. But there's something frantic about the place that prevents you from fully embracing this use of the place either. For one, they were harassing us to order and move along! If you want to be Euro, DON'T do that!! But they finally did leave us alone and we had a great (and DELICIOUS) evening.

    Other thoughts: the cheese and dried sausage are fantastic!!!!! As is the coffee bar and the gelato.

    Everything is soooooo expensive though. Chocolate bars for $30, etc.

    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    BR wrote:
    jordanhojo wrote:Although the crust is delicious, I found the pizza to be extremely soggy, caused by a combination of things, with the excessive use of olive oil drizzled over the top the primary culprit. Great ingredients, poor execution.

    My understanding is that they're going for authentic Neapolitan, where the crust gets wetter/soggier towards the middle. It's not my personal favorite style, but I believe that's the exact style they're going for. They used to do that more at Spacca Napoli although at some point SN transitioned to pizzas that are far less wet in the middle.

    I've heard from a couple of other folks that pizzas were soggy throughout, not just in their centers. Give them time, I guess.

    I found Eataly to be remarkably annoying and I was there when it was fairly empty, at about 7 pm on a Monday evening.

    I'm sure shopping can be fine. I found it an overwhelming, stressful branding gang-bang that felt pasteurized, soulless and insincere. I know that many of the items on the shelves and in the cases are of good quality but prices were high and it would take a great deal of costly trial and error to learn what's great and what isn't. Conversely, at a place like J.P. Graziano, for example, I know the proprietor, trust him and know that if it's in his shop, an item has been suitably curated. With 'feel good' billboards touting self-created brands throughout the shopping area at Eataly, it felt the exactly opposite. Totally impersonal. Additionally, produce was abysmal and I don't see how on earth they're going to move some of that inventory (salumi, cheeses) before it expires.

    I ate at 2 of the foodcourt eateries upstairs: Verdure and Carne. Verdure was the better of the 2. I liked the 3 dishes we had but the bill for those and a round of tap water came to $48 before tax and tip. Ouch! I also didn't appreciate our server trying to upsell us on the $44/bottle balsamic vinegar that adorned one of the dishes we ordered.

    At Carne we had 4 dishes. 1 was great -- the Cotechino. A lamb shoulder steak was tasty enough. Beef hearts were overly chewy and lifeless. A poorly cooked strip steak was virtually devoid of flavor. It was seared on only one side and was not allowed to rest long enough before it was served. Fail.

    I think the overall set-up is lousy, too. It's really hard, if possible at all, for a group of people to get food from the different upstairs eateries and then all eat together. I know there's a pen for eating food from the upstairs grocery counters. I know this because it was pointed out to me by a manager-type while my companions and I snacked on some prosciutto I'd picked up while waiting for our dishes to arrive at Verdure. I got a brief lecture on how they don't typically allow that but they would in this case. I'd offered to pay for the $8 of prosciutto at the counter where I got it and also again when the manager spoke to us, but neither of those were options. Instead, I was told to keep the sticker from the butcher paper and make sure to pay for it downstairs when I left. I assured the manager that I was an honorable person, while thinking how incredibly short-sighted it was that customers were expected to go all the way downstairs to pay for such items.

    I can see making a special trip for an ingredient that I might not find anywhere else but I cannot imagine making this a regular stop. In fact, given the location and the parking situation, I'd find it fairly surprising if anyone who doesn't live or work in the immediate vicinity stopped in here on a regular basis for anything.

    =R=
  • Post #100 - March 4th, 2014, 9:22 am
    Post #100 - March 4th, 2014, 9:22 am Post #100 - March 4th, 2014, 9:22 am
    We stepped into Eataly after stuffing ourselves at David Burke's. After 8PM and on a full stomach appears to be the way to shop, as it wasn't crowded at all, and we didn't have the temptation to splurge. Overall, I wasn't that impressed (but I wasn't there to eat). We bought some caciocavallo (since Mario's always raved about it), a small piece of his father's rosemary salume, one package of brass-die linguine, and some 00 flour (which was labeled "for cookies" -- is there a different 00 for pasta?)

    The only part of the place that really held any thrills for me was the cheese/salumi counter. I can see how that could be mobbed at prime times, and the other centers didn't hold much interest for me. I didn't see anyone around who could tell me why I'd prefer one olive oil over another (they need a counter like the wine counter for that): I might have bought a bottle of mid-priced oil if I knew its attributes.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #101 - March 28th, 2014, 7:32 am
    Post #101 - March 28th, 2014, 7:32 am Post #101 - March 28th, 2014, 7:32 am
    Eatlaly NYC gets in trouble for liquor license violations:
    http://nypost.com/2014/03/26/eatalys-wi ... sales-ban/

    I hope these don't affect Chicago...
  • Post #102 - March 28th, 2014, 1:31 pm
    Post #102 - March 28th, 2014, 1:31 pm Post #102 - March 28th, 2014, 1:31 pm
    The panini on the first floor has been a very good and reasonably priced quick lunch option for me.

    Today, I finally got around to getting back upstairs for some focaccia: $3.80 for a HUGE slice of ham and fresh mozz is one of the best values in my lunch radius (Loop/River North for me), irrespective of quality. Factoring in quality, it could be #1. The bread was thick, but light and airy. I could see some arguing that the bottom crust was too oily, but I like it that way. And the ham and cheese were both pleasingly mild. No line for the foccacia station (don't get it confused with the continuous line for pizza).

    I agree the majority of the place is overpriced, but no one should be condemning it for not providing options for the budget-conscious. I'm putting it on my regular rotation, and will probably splurge for one of the pricier options every now and then.
  • Post #103 - March 28th, 2014, 8:12 pm
    Post #103 - March 28th, 2014, 8:12 pm Post #103 - March 28th, 2014, 8:12 pm
    Pie-love wrote:Eatlaly NYC gets in trouble for liquor license violations:
    http://nypost.com/2014/03/26/eatalys-wi ... sales-ban/

    I hope these don't affect Chicago...


    No, it won't. It has to do with the NY State Liquor Authority. Eater NY has a good story on it...only affects Eataly NY.
  • Post #104 - March 28th, 2014, 10:22 pm
    Post #104 - March 28th, 2014, 10:22 pm Post #104 - March 28th, 2014, 10:22 pm
    I've found myself going to Eataly a bit more than I expected ... it's quite near my office and taking home a prime rib sandwich and some gelato is a tempting indulgence. With coworkers, we've twice run over for pizzas and wine after a rough day and while the setting is not particularly relaxing, the food and the wine suggestion were great - with no rush on turning the table either as we sat for quite a while. I also ran down earlier this week at 9:30PM to grab a gelato when I realized I'd been working at home from 7AM and just desperately needed a quick treat - that was fun and nice to have an easy destination for a 20 minute break.

    What impresses me over time is that at some of the counters - most particularly the Salumi/Cheese, Foccacia and the Gelato stations - they have hired really quite wonderful staff who give that personalized, happy to give tons of samples, cut an odd amount, etc of the products that makes the real mom and pop stores such gems. While clearly Eataly is a mega touristic faux sort of place, these experiences make it really quite lovely - and easy for those of us who don't have a car to venture to less central spots. I still can't comprehend why they have such bad produce ... and the confusion of what you can eat where and need to pay for where remains.
  • Post #105 - November 18th, 2014, 12:21 pm
    Post #105 - November 18th, 2014, 12:21 pm Post #105 - November 18th, 2014, 12:21 pm
    I have a dumb question that I wish I'd have thought first. What do they call the Eataly locations in Italy (or Japan, Turkey, and Dubai, for that matter)? The pun (or play on words) doesn't work outside of English...
    "I've always thought pastrami was the most sensuous of the salted cured meats."
  • Post #106 - November 18th, 2014, 12:31 pm
    Post #106 - November 18th, 2014, 12:31 pm Post #106 - November 18th, 2014, 12:31 pm
    Royale with cheese.
  • Post #107 - November 18th, 2014, 12:35 pm
    Post #107 - November 18th, 2014, 12:35 pm Post #107 - November 18th, 2014, 12:35 pm
    Independent George wrote:I have a dumb question that I wish I'd have thought first. What do they call the Eataly locations in Italy (or Japan, Turkey, and Dubai, for that matter)? The pun (or play on words) doesn't work outside of English...


    Si chiama "Eataly" in tutto il mondo.
    fine words butter no parsnips
  • Post #108 - November 18th, 2014, 7:01 pm
    Post #108 - November 18th, 2014, 7:01 pm Post #108 - November 18th, 2014, 7:01 pm
    Stopped by Eataly this weekend- had not been for months and months and they've been moving things around a bit. The necessary evil produce was moved upstairs and actually was much more appealing - pricey but at least decent quality with lettuce that was not wilted for example.

    Other areas were switched up a bit as well but everything was crazy busy. I grabbed a loaf of bread and some gelato and was out the door.
  • Post #109 - February 17th, 2015, 10:20 am
    Post #109 - February 17th, 2015, 10:20 am Post #109 - February 17th, 2015, 10:20 am
    Eataly Replaces La Carne With Osteria Eataly, an All-Around Italian Restaurant

    http://chicago.eater.com/2015/2/16/8048 ... ria-eataly
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #110 - October 18th, 2015, 9:01 am
    Post #110 - October 18th, 2015, 9:01 am Post #110 - October 18th, 2015, 9:01 am
    Needed a lunch break yesterday while doing Open House Chicago and stopped at Eataly and we had a great time. Busy, but not packed and the prices seemed to have come down quite a bit on shopping items.

    Split a delicious fennel rubbed, roasted turkey panino and then got some excellent nocciolo and pistachio gelato.

    Didn't spend a lot of time in the wine section since we still had more locations to get back to for Open House, but picked up some hard to find bottles that were less expensive than my other limited options. Great produce, which was priced no more than other stores and the guy who helped us loved to cook and volunteered how he uses everything. Also bought a couple types of fresh agnolotti (goat cheese and a braised veal), hot Italian and wild boar sausages, and a piece of 'Ndjua sopressata.

    Will not wait so long to return, we really enjoyed ourselves.
  • Post #111 - October 18th, 2015, 10:16 pm
    Post #111 - October 18th, 2015, 10:16 pm Post #111 - October 18th, 2015, 10:16 pm
    I haven't been since spring but love the food and shopping here. Oh and that gelato!
    Last edited by pairs4life on October 19th, 2015, 12:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #112 - October 18th, 2015, 10:54 pm
    Post #112 - October 18th, 2015, 10:54 pm Post #112 - October 18th, 2015, 10:54 pm
    pairs4life wrote:I haven't been since spring but love the food and shopping here. Oh and that gelato.!


    Mind-blowing discovery is outstanding pistachio gelato at Connie's in the Viagra Triangle. Better than anything I had in Florence, so full of nutty flavor, amazingly good.
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #113 - October 19th, 2015, 12:19 am
    Post #113 - October 19th, 2015, 12:19 am Post #113 - October 19th, 2015, 12:19 am
    David Hammond wrote:
    pairs4life wrote:I haven't been since spring but love the food and shopping here. Oh and that gelato.!


    Mind-blowing discovery is outstanding pistachio gelato at Connie's in the Viagra Triangle. Better than anything I had in Florence, so full of nutty flavor, amazingly good.


    Connie's? I have not heard of it.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #114 - October 19th, 2015, 7:06 am
    Post #114 - October 19th, 2015, 7:06 am Post #114 - October 19th, 2015, 7:06 am
    pairs4life wrote:
    David Hammond wrote:
    pairs4life wrote:I haven't been since spring but love the food and shopping here. Oh and that gelato.!


    Mind-blowing discovery is outstanding pistachio gelato at Connie's in the Viagra Triangle. Better than anything I had in Florence, so full of nutty flavor, amazingly good.


    Connie's? I have not heard of it.


    https://www.conniespizza.com/gold-coast/
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #115 - October 19th, 2015, 11:59 pm
    Post #115 - October 19th, 2015, 11:59 pm Post #115 - October 19th, 2015, 11:59 pm
    Thanks. I forget it is there. Thanks for the heads up on gelato.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #116 - October 29th, 2015, 11:17 am
    Post #116 - October 29th, 2015, 11:17 am Post #116 - October 29th, 2015, 11:17 am
    So how busy is Eataly these days? We've got some out of town visitors . . . can we just walk in a get a table at 8pm on a Thursday night at one of the sit down restaurants?
  • Post #117 - October 29th, 2015, 11:18 am
    Post #117 - October 29th, 2015, 11:18 am Post #117 - October 29th, 2015, 11:18 am
    ews wrote:So how busy is Eataly these days? We've got some out of town visitors . . . can we just walk in a get a table at 8pm on a Thursday night at one of the sit down restaurants?


    I visit Eataly every time I'm in the area, and I don't think there should be any problem getting seats around that time.
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #118 - October 29th, 2015, 11:35 am
    Post #118 - October 29th, 2015, 11:35 am Post #118 - October 29th, 2015, 11:35 am
    thanks!
  • Post #119 - November 4th, 2015, 9:19 pm
    Post #119 - November 4th, 2015, 9:19 pm Post #119 - November 4th, 2015, 9:19 pm
    If you ask me, Eataly is aging quite well. Crowds are a little bit more manageable these days, and I've noticed improvement in quality control, particularly produce. And Eataly makes a terrific shopping destination for produce, meat, fish, cheese, you name it (at least so far as Italian cooking is concerned). In fact, their torrone (nougat) offerings close to the checkout area are terrific. It's by no means cheap, but I've had great luck with their meats and fish in particular. And check out these gorgeous mushrooms:

    Image




    I actually don't eat there often, but when I do it's usually for a quick bite. As far as quick snacks go, the focaccia bar is still my favorite stop and prices are very reasonable. Here's my most recent purchase, and it was terrific:

    Image
  • Post #120 - November 4th, 2015, 10:41 pm
    Post #120 - November 4th, 2015, 10:41 pm Post #120 - November 4th, 2015, 10:41 pm
    Had an excellent prime rib sandwich and some pasta there recently.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata

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