I think I cried a little bit reading that.
Don’t disagree with the overall assessment of the restaurant, however I have to disagree with the clams out of the shell thing. I have served the dish many times at fine dining Italian restaurants, some times leaving a few clams in the shell for a kind of garnish but often serving nothing but shelled clams, of course I reserve all the “liquor” and make the sauce with it. If I had served it with the shells the amount of clams I like to use when making this kind of “fine dining” version wouldn’t fit in the dish and the shell to pasta ratio would be way too high. You can find this way of preparing this dish in many of the better restaurants in Italy.
i get it… it’s not a deal breaker in itself… i dont think they incorporated the liquor at all as there was no ocean in my plate. and i do have a personal preference for whole clam, sucking action… had several times in italy last year, never once shelled… though yes i’ve seen it on tv etc… i think it’s because i stick to traditionalist places over fine dining usually
though this place in rome which is pretty fine had it in the shells.
obviously 1 place proves nothing, just an example
Indeed my experience when eating in Italy. Same deal in Spain with a lot of their seafood preparations as well.
@Nemroz, sorry you had such a horrendous dinner. It’s always deeply annoying to pay good money for mediocre food, especially with the plethora of good places to eat in this City.
Was your meal at Il Pesce? You didn’t specify, but I’m guessing that was where it was. The last time I went to Il Pesce – over a month ago – I felt the quality was off from the initial times I ate at the restaurant shortly after it opened. Maybe there is a problem with the line cooks now that Michael Cimarusti is not there all the time.
I still have not tried the pizza and pasta sit-down restaurant at Eataly, but I am quite content with the $5 Roman pizza offered at the Eataly pizza stand and the puff pastry thing I had last week at the downstairs cafe was also really tasty. At the lower end, Eataly isn’t really any more expensive than anything else in Century City. I didn’t have time to go to Eataly for lunch today, so I grabbed lunch at Trimana, that wretched cafeteria chain that you will find in many office buildings, and it was $15 for steam table chicken and steamed vegetables. I was feeling quite churlish about that – why do I have to pay $15 to grab some crappy take out food in Century City? If I had had time, I could have grabbed pizza at Eataly, which would have made me happier and which would have been cheaper. So I think Eataly can be a good relatively inexpensive option for people who work in Century City or who find themselves at the Mall and unfortunately most things in Century City are going to be priced higher than in lower rent places around town.
As to wine, K&L is one of my favorite wine stores in Los Angeles, but you have to remember that K&L’s overhead is considerably lower than in Century City. I get pissed off at the prices at Wally’s, but I’m guessing that Wally’s also has higher overhead and Wally’s, while on the Westside, is not even in a super high rent area like Century City. Still, in the end, I’m not sure that the wine store is going to make it at Eataly and I’m guessing they might end up re-purposing the space. When I was there, they didn’t have anyone knowledgeable working in the wine area (unlike K&L which is filled with wine nerd salespeople) and I just don’t know how much of a call there is for people to buy wine right in Century City. Plus, frankly, I wasn’t 100% bowled over with the Italian wine selection at Eataly, although what they had was heads over heals better than the deeply horrible wine selection – Italian and non-Italian – at Gelson’s.
Yes, The Fish
Yes, K&L is #1 for me too.
Yes, I don’t care to buy Masi at double price from Eataly. The whole thing just feels like an Italian food theme park and I probably prefer to go to one mom and pop shop that specializes in a few things and the money isn’t going to a global company.
I am making my way through the various sweet offerings at Caffè Lavazza at Eataly. Yesterday, I tried the hazelnut cake. Again, I wasn’t expecting much (I have had too many mediocre sweet offerings from chains and even from locally owned bakeries), but again I was pleasantly surprised. The cake was really, really good and taking it back to the office and having it with some brewed tea was just the thing to fuel my late afternoon and get me through the rest of the workday.
Really like K&L (my wallet, no so much), but for Italian wine I think Wine House is probably a bit better. They seem to have more selection, or maybe it’s just luck that they often have the bottle I am seeking out.
Finally made it over to Eataly. Great browsing. Especially loved those aisles with the various dried pastas.
Sergio was in the house and on the line at Il Pesce Cucina. And no wait for a patio table at ~1pm on Saturday. I thought the calamarata squid pasta was super. Lovely bowl of sea comfort. Not necessarily cheap at $19, but the portion was large marge.
When leaving, the line for that pizza place was bonkers. To the moon.
I’d happily go back.
Well it turns out that it is a myth that Eataly is overpriced on wine, at least on the wine I bought today. Ever since I had it at Del Posto in New York and it blew me away, I have been searching for Benanti Serra della Contessa Sicilia, a single vineyard Etna Rosso (and the best Etna Rosso I have ever had). Eataly had the 2004 vintage. Because I wasn’t familiar with prices for the 2004 vintage, I whipped out my cell phone, went to my Wine-Searcher.com app and checked the prices (which is what I usually do at either a restaurant or a store with a wine where I am not familiar with the prices). This vintage is only available at 3 places in the U.S. that list their inventory on Wine-Searcher.com Pro (which is most wine stores, although not Eataly), two of them right here in L.A. – Wally’s and Wine House. The bottle at Eataly was $10 (!) less than at Wine House and $5 less than at Wally’s. (The only other U.S. place that Wine-Searcher.com Pro showed as carrying this vintage is in New York, where it was $15 more than at Eataly). Having checked the prices, I immediately put the wine in my shopping basket.
Not sure if, like most places, Eataly is taking higher mark-ups on lower-end wines, which unfortunately is most of their stock. (I think Eataly made a decision that most of their market would be people looking to pick up an inexpensive wine for dinner, not serious wine drinkers). I have also been looking for this Verdicchio that I had at Del Posto and Eataly not only did not have it, but only had a few low-end Verdicchio’s.
On a Sunday morning, Eataly was blissfully peaceful, so I decided to have a slice of Roman pizza right when the kiosk opened at 11:00 a.m. I ordered the Margherita, which I hadn’t previously tried. I thought it was one of the best pizzas I had had in a while. It just worked, which I attribute to the quality of the mozzarella, the tomato sauce (which was not sweet – a pet peeve of mine), the quality of the olive oil, which you could taste, and the perfectly fresh pieces of basil with which it was topped. I think it helped that it was the first pizza out of the oven that morning, so it was quite fresh (as opposed to later in the day when I think they reheat pieces), plus I got to pick my slice and I picked the most attractive looking slice. (The guy in line before me rejected a slice of another pizza that they were about to give him on the grounds that it did not have an appropriate amount of topping, which you could see sometimes happens with the corner slices). Anyway, I was in 7th heaven with my Margherita slice and I marveled that I had had an amazing lunch for exactly $4.80 before tax and tip. You can’t even dine in a crappy fast food place for that.
On my way out, I picked up a tiramisu to go. (Word to the wise – the bakery place where they sell the tiramisu doesn’t open until 11:00 a.m. I had gotten to Eataly at 10:30 a.m. and had assumed I could pick up a tiramisu at that time, so I had to hang out at Eataly until the sweet shop opened at 11:00). Brought the tiramisu to guests later in the day. They enjoyed it, but I thought it was a tad too sweet. I’m not a huge tiramisu person though so I can’t really judge whether it was a great tiramisu or not.
Can confirm, spent $11 on a single combo at JitB today.
My usual “I hate life” meal - sourdough jack combo, large, curly fries well done, coke, 2 tacos. $11.xx
Had a very good dinner at the Pizza and Pasta sit-down restaurant.
Suppli were fried perfectly, just how I remember them from Rome. Shishito peppers were enormous and well seasoned. Neapolitan pizza with sausage and mushrooms was quite tasty and prepared authentically with the wet center. Lasagna was excellent – probably the best thing we ordered. Really, the only miss were my beef cheek raviolis. Not bad, just not very exciting.
Price was around $45 per person, including drinks but before tip. There is better Italian to be had in this city, but I wouldn’t hesitate to stop by for a quick bite after a movie. I’m also curious to try the La Piazza street food restaurant.
@Omotesando, nice report. I also went last weekend early on Saturday morning and it was amazing to be there almost by myself. I think most of the wine they stock is indeed designed for buy today, pop tonight type of thing, rather than wines that require extended aging (though they do of course have some newer Brunellos and Barolos). On the flip side, I appreciated that they had a lot of the basic bottlings from famous Italian producers in one spot.
Do those wines need much aging?
That’s terrible. My “I hate everyone” meal is usually me, alone, spending a lot of money, ordering anything I want, and telling myself, “You deserve this. Fuck them.” I’ll probably die poor.
That’s basically how I ended up at JITB - again.
Depends on the weather conditions of the vintage and the wine-making style of the producer. And to some extent personal preference. But in general, yes, these wines tend to require more bottle aging so that the wine softens up a bit.
Let’s take the worst case example of Barolo, which is made from Nebbiolo grapes, a high acidity and high tannin wine. Some 2011 Barolos are drinking really well already because it was a warmer vintage, so the tannin doesn’t cause a frog in your throat or dry out your mouth. Some 2010’s are starting to be drinkable now, but others need 5+ more years. The 2013 Barolos were just released within the last year and you can taste them now, but they won’t be ideal in terms of softness, complexity, etc. for a decade or two (that’s where personal preference comes in, serious wine collectors buy multiple bottles of the same wine and open them spaced out over time). I brought a 21 year old Barbaresco (also made from Nebbiolo grapes) to Osteria Mozza last weekend…the acidity was still intense, but the fruit was a bit faded. Was still delicious but it has been “ready to drink” for maybe 10 years. On the other hand, there are some Nebbiolos made in a lighter style that can be drunk upon release, such as Langhe Nebbiolo (as opposed to Barolo).
Bottom line is ask someone knowledgeable at the wine shop. Nothing worse than dropping down some major coin on a nice bottle of red wine for a special occasion and then finding out how harsh it tastes. Most wine is constructed so that it can be drunk upon release (especially domestic wine), but better safe than sorry. Finally, with some wines that are not technically ready to be drink, you can decant them into a pitcher and let it “breath” for several hours, and then helps soften the wine as well.
Apologize if I’m repeating stuff you already know!