Inconspicuously located in the vast atmosphere of Eataly is a small desk located in one of the market’s corners. The woman behind the desk will give you directions to an elevator that leads you a few floors above the bustling crowds.
You’re transported by this elevator to a ski resort in the Italian Alps, and you’ve just finished a long day of skiing and you’re ready to enjoy a hearty and warm meal. Or at least that’s the theme of Baita at Eataly.
This enclosed area located above the famous Italian marketplace is home to La Birreria, a rooftop restaurant and microbrewery. It is transformed seasonally into a pop-up restaurant that reflects different aspects of Italian culture.
It was turned into Baita for the winter, decorated with Christmas trees; cozy fleece throws; and red, green and white accents.
The menu consists of hardy and comforting foods typically found in northern Italy. I chose the strangolapreti con burro e salvia, housemade bread and spinach dumplings with butter and sage. According to the menu, strangolapreti means priest stranglers because “as rumor has it, priests enjoyed this dish so much that they would eat it until they choked.” If priests choked on it because they couldn’t stop eating it, then it must be good. And good it was. The sauce it came in was very rich and buttery. The dumplings were reminiscent of gnocchi but they were made with bread instead of potatoes, giving it a lighter feel. My two friends who came with me ordered the pasta al forno alle verdure, which was lasagne with Swiss chard, escarole, spinach, fontina and parmigiano reggiano. Their lasagne was dry and needed more sauce, and it would have been better if the sauce were as flavorful and prominent as my dish.
The food was overall pretty good, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to go back and eat at Baita. I would potentially check out the other seasonal pop-up restaurants they turn La Birreria into depending on what the menu offers. At the end of the day, it was more about getting the experience of the atmosphere and trying a pop-up restaurant.
Address: Fifth Avenue Hotel, 200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010
Phone number: 212-937-8910
Price: $$ Expensive.
Hours: Mon-Sun 11:30 AM-11 PM
Service: Our server was fairly good. My only complaint, though, is that the bus boy collected all the plates at your table and then proceeded to place them all in front of me. He then went to the adjacent table, picked up their dirty dishes and placed those also in front of me. I got to look at an array of dirty plates until he finally picked them up.
Atmosphere: Reminiscent of a winter ski lodge.