I don’t even try to hide it. I’ve always been a Batali enthusiast. First came Babbo, Lupa, Esca, Otto, Del Posto… not necessarily in that order, but I’m such a sucker for his work that when I saw him pass me by in the village a couple of years ago (yes, in his orange clogs) I shamelessly saluted him with my right palm up saying “Ave Mario.”
When I first heard about the gourmet food emporium that would only sell Italian food I was uncertain. What? With all the open-air farmer markets, whole foods popping up around town, why would anyone go into a windowless mall to buy only Italian food and kitchen merchandise?
Then my mother in law went. She is from Milan and obsessed with food, like every true old school Italian mamma. “Incredibile”, she was so excited and impressed, I had to go check it out myself. Once again, hail Mr. Batali, the ambassador of Italian food, and now products, in NYC. Yes, incredible indeed. You have to go when you visit. I like the lack of a big fat sing at the entrance, love the food at Manzo, the pizza or standing up at the wine bar.
To get a feel for it, here is a little clip I made this week at my last visit: