If you’re counting carbs, the new Eataly Downtown is actually the best place to go, according to Mario Batali.
“This is a celebration of carbohydrates,” says the celebrity chef inside Osteria della Pace, the upscale restaurant tucked in the back of the new Italian food hall, which opens Aug. 11. “Because when you don’t eat a lot of carbs, when you do eat them you want them to be the very best they can. You have a nice piece of beautiful focaccia here, or a plate of cacio e pepe, you don’t need carbs for a couple of days because you’re high on that memory.”
And while the new Eataly, at 101 Liberty St., couldn’t be in a busier part of town, Batali has his own relaxed approach to making the most of the massive food hall. “I would come in and spend three or four hours, like if I was going to a little town in Tuscany or Amalfi,” he says.
Batali’s day would begin at the bakery counter with a piece of focaccia, then “a little aperitivo, maybe an Aperol spritz or Campari soda.” Feeling peckish again, he’d hit up the freshly made pizza or pasta counters and throw in a scoop of gelato before whiling away a quiet hour or so inside Osteria della Pace enjoying the view (or even taking a nap in one of the large semi-circular booths).
Then he’d cap the morning with a cup of coffee and go about the rest of his day. “This is a hang-friendly place, it’s not like get in and get out, we want people to feel comfortable here,” he says.
Alas, most of us — Batali included — don’t have that kind of time, so we asked the Greenwich Village resident for his recommendations for a normal-length dinner.
At home: “I cook every day. At my house, I like simple things like roast chicken, or I’ll buy a piece of fish, sautee it, and then throw some vegetables in the pan like artichokes or radishes. That’s kind of it, I’ll have that and a salad. I don’t make a lot of multi-course meals at my house. Usually, it’s one pan, less than 10 minutes total prep/cook time.”
Date night: “Susi and I go to Via Carota, we go to Momofuku Noodle Bar for a loud, boisterous experience — that’s my favorite, that’s my first love of the David Chang empire. And every now and then, we’ll go to Da Silvano.” 51 Grove St., 171 First Ave., 260 Avenue of the Americas
Hidden gems: “The city has discovered everything; even the brand new places, the city has discovered. For me, a hidden gem experience particularly when Europeans come from out of town is Katz’s Deli, Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream. I go down to the Lower East Side, I go to Pig & Khao, that’s kind of undiscovered and it should be more discovered.” 205 E. Houston St., 2 Rivington St., 68 Clinton St.