Mario Batali’s Culinary Guide to NYC
Mario Batali is a food-world rockstar (and one of the OG goop contributors, thank you very much), lauded for expanding the Eataly chain of gourmet markets worldwide, creating The Chew, a daytime talk show for foodies, and penning some of the most beloved cookbooks ever—heck, the guy even make Crocs look cool. His family of B&B Hospitality Group restaurants is now 26-deep, the largest cluster of which—including his newest, La Sirena—is situated in New York City. This geographical choice is no coincidence—NYC is home to some of the best restaurants in the world and a wealth of world-class epicurean shops, bakers, cheesemongers, butchers, and more. Here, Mario shares his culinary go-tos.[email protected]
The Brooklyn Baking Barons are the boys behind my favorite pastry: the honey whiskey cake. I order them for almost any occasion, particularly to give as gifts around Rosh Hashanah for a sweet honey- (and whiskey)-filled new year.
Greg Blais is the head cheesemonger at Eataly and he knows everything about cows and goats and dairy, and everything that makes cheese delicious. He’s identified some of the finest cheesemakers in the Hudson Valley and in Italy. It’s the only place I buy cheese.
Action Bronson and I shared a fantastic meal at Don Peppe in Ozone Park. The scungilli ala marinara and linguine with clams—my all-time favorite old school Italian dish—was perfect in that grandma-is-in-the-kitchen kind of way.
Jody Williams’ smooth outdoor Italian spot Via Carota is everything right about the West Village. It’s hip but supremely comfortable. A seat outside with a Negroni is a blissful way to start an evening.
Todd Carmichael is my coffee guru. He and I developed a blend of coffee for La Colombe inspired by the espresso blends I dream about in Rome. But I trust his taste, so any coffee with an olive branch has been vetted by the best.
Cosme is not the kind of Mexican food one comes to expect in New York. Or even in California. But Daniela Soto-Innes builds a kitchen that works more perfectly than almost any other I’ve encountered in recent memory. The duck carnitas are spectacular.
The meat at Hometown BBQ is touched by the gods. It is, most certainly, worth a pilgrimage across the river. But the pudding is a revelation. Particularly when you’re not planning to save room for sweet.
Günter Seeger is at the front lines of cooking. It’s a long and deliberate meal. But course after course is spectacularly plated and balanced.
Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen is obviously a draw for her Nashville hot chicken, but have you tasted the woman’s desserts? Run don’t walk to her Red Hook storefront to taste the nana pudding with vanilla shortbread!
I’m at Union Square Greenmarket once a week when my schedule allows. Nothing makes me happier than grabbing the ugliest root vegetables and ripest, most pungent fruits from my favorite farmers. Eckerton Hill Farm from Berks County are my guys for heirloom tomatoes and peppers.
New York Vintners is the sort of wine shop where you simply cannot leave with a bad bottle of wine. But I’m a devotee because they manage to track down every bottle I’ve ever desired.
White GoldComing Soon
At my restaurants, I defer almost exclusively to Pat LaFrieda for meat. But I’m giddy with excitement to visit April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman’s new butcher shop White Gold on the Upper West Side. The only thing that could bring me above 14th Street (other than a taping of The Chew, of course) is a masterful butcher.