I visited Eataly when it opened a few months back and immediately wanted to kill myself. It was a buzzing mess of gawking tourists and elbowy locals, stretching wait times and my patience beyond reason. I swam against the current out the exit, empty-stomached and pissed, no intention of ever returning. I didn't tell this to my colleagues who booked a "haven't seen you in a while" lunch there. Luckily, the place has settled down; you can get a table in a reasonable amount of time and savor some good food. I regret not trying Cacio e Pepe while I was in Rome. The Eataly version was al dente and the pecorino and ground black pepper speed-bagged my taste buds perfectly. I could eat this every day.
My colleagues were just as happy with their penne with tomato sauce. I tried a bite after listening to their moans. Simple, fresh and outstanding.
Motorino but that's a bit unfair probably. There wasn't much of it left when we were done and I did most of the heavy lifting.
salsify in the foreground. To see it described alternatively as "goatsbeard" was strange, though I think we were eating the vegetable, not the wildflower.
200 5th Ave (corner of 23rd)