I kind of love Eataly. Well, I love the concept of Eataly. An entire building (it takes up a full city block) dedicated to good food. And at the helm is Mario Batali. What’s not to love?
Well… the fact that everyone else loves it, too, is definitely an issue. Almost every time I have been there, the wait for their restaurants is about 2 hours. And Birreria, the beer garden that opened recently on the roof, was known for that going over 3 hours of wait time.
Which is why when my coworker told me that he had a reservation there to bring our clients, I was skeptical. But, low and behind, I made it to Birreria.
Our group arrived about 45 minutes late for the reservation, and while the staff couldn’t make any promises, we were sitting within 15 minutes. Impressive since the wait for non-reservations was over 2 hour at the time. We had drinks at the bar while we waited, which was outfitted with some fun casks behind the (very busy) bartenders.
We started off with a board of salumi, which featured speck, sopresatta, mortadella, cacciatorrini, and coppa. It was all very good, but it seems I now have a new expectation on salumi after the meat we had at Blue Hill just the week before.
We also got a cheese plate with ricotta fresca, robiola bosina, parmigiano reggiano, pecorino romano, asiago fresco, taleggio, and gorgonzola dolce. They were all good, but I really liked the gorgonzola. It was a great, full flavor.
They served the cheese with fresh honey, which was awesome and paired well with every cheese.
We wound up splitting everything with the group, and while we were worried that we didn’t order enough, we wound up leaving entirely satisfied.
There was a special that day of a kale salad with citrus pieces. This was awesome. Perfectly balanced with bitter, sweet, and the citrus. Really fresh and delicious.
They also had an heirloom salad special that day. Beautiful AND delicious.
There is a section of the menu for mushrooms, and they all sounded great. We got the shiitake fritti con salvia which was fried shiitake mushrooms with sage. This was my favorite dish of the night, amongst some very strong contenders. They looked like they would be heavy and greasy, but they were light and the shiitake mushroom flavor was fantastic.
We also ordered the bratwurst. This was a close second on the list of favorites that night. Awesome flavor and simply cooked.
This normally would have won my heart, since it was pork shoulder with beer and apricot. And it was as good as it sounded, but it was just that the mushrooms and brats were that much better. This was perfectly tender with great sauce and great flavor. Yum.
I have to say, I was impressed. Every bite was great. The homemade beer (I had thyme beer!) was delicious and even the bottled selection was fun and tasty. It’s always nice to be on a roof in NYC, and this place did not disappoint. I want to go back and order more dishes, especially more mushrooms. Worth the wait, but I would suggest that you plan early and make a reservation.
Total Nom Points: 7 out of 10