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NYT on Food Halls: Chelsea Market, Eataly, the Plaza Food Hall, Essex St Market, Gotham West, and Grand Central

Short-ish, high level sampling of Chelsea Market, Eataly, the Plaza Food Hall, Essex St Market, Gotham West, and Grand Central. With photos.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/14/din...

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  1. I have a problem at times with Flo Fabricant. Does she really believe everything she writes or is she being paid off? I read this article in the newspaper last Wednesday when it first appeared. While I love Eataly and shop there regularly, I really do not agree that "You’ll find some of the finest produce in the city, at good prices...", as she states. Their produce is good to subpar, in my opinion, and the prices are not great.

    14 Replies
    1. re: ttoommyy

      what do you regularly buy at eataly?

      1. re: majordanby

        Cheese, salumi, pasta, meats from the butcher, olive oil, wine (before the wine shop closed) to name a few items. Plus, we eat regularly at the various restaurants.

        1. re: ttoommyy

          I'm just poking fun; it sounds funny, on one hand "Their produce is good to subpar, in my opinion, and the prices are not great"
          then on the other hand, shop there for just about everything "Cheese, salumi, pasta, meats from the butcher, olive oil, wine (before the wine shop closed) to name a few..."
          {;-/)

          1. re: porker

            Why is that odd? I thought your question was serious. There are plenty of items I do not buy at Eataly: chocolate, candy, pastries, honey, coffee, jams & jellies, mostardas, canned tomatoes, bread, I can go on and on. The items I listed are about 1/100th of what they sell.

            1. re: ttoommyy

              I didn't ask any questions.
              Really, ttoommyy, it was a light hearted comment (thats why I started with "I'm just poking fun" and added guy smiley face).
              Its odd only in how it came about; if someone's opinion is that a place only has good to subpar produce at expensive prices, they wouldn't shop there.
              I assume that you only buy what you think is good and not expensive (the 1%), just that it came out sounding differently.

              1. re: porker

                "I didn't ask any questions."

                Sorry. I thought you and @majordanby were one and the same. Didn't realize these posts were coming from 2 different people. That's what i get for not reading people's names.

                1. re: porker

                  ".... if someone's opinion is that a place only has good to subpar produce at expensive prices, they wouldn't shop there."

                  I shop plenty of places that don't have good produce, or where it's too expensive for my taste, so I just buy things other than produce at that particular store. I don't get that point. I was at Eataly a couple of weeks ago and bought plenty of stuff, but no produce. It's possible!

                  1. re: coll

                    It was meant as a joke, thats why I started out with "I'm just poking fun"...

                    1. re: porker

                      Guess the semicolon threw me off!

        2. re: ttoommyy

          "You’ll find some of the finest produce in the city, at good prices...", as she states. Their produce is good to subpar, in my opinion, and the prices are not great.
          __________________

          Well, she didn't say "fresh" produce, right? And Eataly has some great, um, jarred olives and canned tomatoes. LOL.

          1. re: ttoommyy

            I agree- and considering how close it is to the farmers market i'm more likely to go there for produce.

            1. re: Ttrockwood

              My thoughts exactly!

              1. re: ttoommyy

                "You’ll find some of the finest produce in the city, at good prices..."

                i'm sure i've made this exact statement many times, here and in real life. there's nowhere better for mushrooms, including Manhattan Fruit Exchange, fresh herbs are well priced and well portioned, and it;s the first place i'd look for an unusual fruit. i've bought fresh yuzu, mangosteen, and pineberries there.

                sure, Eataly is way overpriced on some items, particularly the fresh pasta, but the produce and meats are well priced and of great quality.

                1. re: coasts

                  There are a few produce items that are well priced. Until recently, when they raised the price, they had huge yellow onions (the largest I've seen anywhere in NY) for $.50 a pound. I often buy small artichokes there; I believe they are $3.99 a pound.

                  They beat Whole Foods on price for a number of items.

                  The imported jarred and canned goods are very pricey but again, they are selling many high-end producers that are also very costly in Italy. Many of their prices for imported items are far above what you can find at DiPalo, although the brand is often different.

                  DiPalo is much better for mozzarella and other fresh cheeses. I often wonder just how much of a hit that store has taken from the arrival of Eataly.

          2. Ugh, the Plaza Food Hall is a mish-mosh of underwhelming, expensive offerings. It's like an ultra-expensive college cafeteria with more than a few food purveyors capitalizing on a name and offering sub-par food that they wouldn't serve in their restaurant (e.g. Sushi of Gari).

            5 Replies
            1. re: Pookipichu

              I agree with you that the Plaza Food Hall, at least from a quality standpoint, doesn't belong with the others, especially the Todd English part.

              ttoommyy, I often disagree with Florence Fabricant's opinions, but I don't think the "paid off" phrase is appropriate, even if you are kidding. That's a serious charge to a journalist.

              1. re: Dave Feldman

                I was kidding and I think she can take the ribbing. I've been a journaist myself and most of us have thick skins. But thanks for the wrist-slapping anyway; sometimes I do tend to be a little over the top in my observations. That comes from my being a creative writer these days. :)

                1. re: ttoommyy

                  I thought you were, and thanks for taking my comment with good humor. I've done a little journalism, too, and have had a few personal contacts with Ms. Fabricant, and always found her to be professional and ethical. She has a funny job. Most of her work is announcements, but I think she does a pretty good job of inserting her opinions in short squibs -- not easy to do.

                  1. re: Dave Feldman

                    She used to have a higher profile, so to speak, at the NYT at one time, didn't she?

                    1. re: ttoommyy

                      Yep.

            2. I was at the Grand Central market. 5 bucks for a loaf of baguette at Zabar?? That's a robbery.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Monica

                We were at Grand Central last month, and the only thing I took away was pictures of the prices!

                 
                 
                 
                 
                1. re: coll

                  grapes were like $7 a lb ...if you go out to a street, the same grapes can be purchased at 1/3 the price at one of the street carts.

                  1. re: Monica

                    .99 in Flushing! :)

                    1. re: Monica

                      The asparagus at $10/lb was what got my attention! Now I'm getting it local for $3.50 a bunch.

                2. Just at Essex St the other day, the cheese shop, Heritage Foods, and Nordic Preserves Fish & Wildlife had some great looking stuff, nice people working them also. Prices didn't seem bad but to be honest I didn't crunch any numbers in my head.

                  1. I wish there was more of an emphasis on humble regional US cooking in NYC.

                    That's one reason I've enjoyed visiting Japan and China. I could be wandering around a city and stumble upon a one-off food festival offering deer kebabs from Heilongjiang and a chicken dish from Zhanjiang (Guangdong).

                    In Japan, department stores/train station underpasses regularly have fairs highlighting food from certain prefectures or cities.

                    In both countries, you can find stores specializing in food products from a region or province.

                    I'm not complaining about the lack of variety in New York. Instead, it would be nice to see more food from around the states than just another bbq restaurant.

                    Jonathan
                    http://buildingmybento.com

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: BuildingMyBento

                      Well those countries have much longer culinary histories and divergent cuisines. The USA is much more homogenized and regional specialties are usually not as popular.

                      Can you give some examples of what you are looking for? I mean I'd love more Cajun/Creole/New Orleans food or more seafood but that's about it.