Up to his neck in sausages

I hope he didn't serve them after the photo

I am crazy about talented people. I adore passionate, talented people. I dislike arrogant people, though they may be talented and passionate. The other day, I was wandering though Eataly, a new 50,000-square-foot Italian food emporium in Manhattan, when I saw a tourist ask an employee if he’d take a picture of her and one of the owners, who happens to be celebrity chef, Mario Batali. “The employees are not allowed to touch cameras,” snapped Batali. That may be true, Mario, but the least you could have done was ask someone other than an employee to take a picture of you and the tourist.

I would have offered, but Mario was not interested in a photo. He’s only interested in photos when they’re for newspapers, magazines and TV shows and he’s getting publicity.

I’ve eaten in Batali’s restaurants and they’re pretty good, even if overpriced. I’ve even had lunch with him since I once published a magazine called Bene Italian Life & Style and my partner was a friend of Mario’s. (He wouldn’t have recognized me 12 minutes after the lunch.) Mario is a lot more impressed with his success than I am. I’d be a lot more impressed if he was charming to the regular people who he wants to buy his pasta, puttanesca, pizza and pesto. I’m FOF and nice impresses me more than fame and fortune.

By the way, David and I spent about $200 in the store and here is my little review: The roast chicken, which was cooked on a spit in a gigantic, glass-front, vertical roaster,  was not juicy or tasty. We threw out half of it.

The Italian green tea in a bottle was awful. The brand is Achillea and it was sickly sweet (the ingredients include CONCENTRATED apple juice). Motts tastes better.

David loved the olive oil bread and the dried  Alfieri egg pasta. (I didn’t taste them.)

The chocolate hazelnut sauce was ok. The hazelnut taste overpowered the chocolate. Brand is Venchi.

Angus beef hamburgers were passing. We also bought a strip steak and a raw chicken. Haven’t cooked them yet.

Eataly has about 12 restaurants, as well as individual bars or stands for espresso, wine, pasta, panna cotta, gelato, bread, panini, hams. It reminds me of a monstrous airport food court, but with classier signage and presentations. I have a hard time believing the place is going to survive. It’s one big gimmick. One gigantic tourist trap.

Bigger isn’t necessarily better, even if we’re talking about a man named Mario.

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0 Responses to “Up to his neck in sausages”

  1. 3pearls says:

    hi Geri,
    I was sad to read this as Ive seen him on Rachael Ray’s show. My sis in law actually met Rachael by the way in an airport and she graciiously posed with her for a pic with her beautiful smile! Im sad that Mario B
    has become such a snob. If I ever have a chance, after reading this, I will NOT go to any of his places. Theres always Lydia in NYC:) Now if someone tells me she is like this I will cry !!

  2. Sara says:

    Good review! I’ve been wanting to check this out!

    • Geri Brin says:

      Thank you Sara

      The NY strip steak was excellent. We had it last night. Don’t want to be overly negative about this since it has some good food, but so does the deli down the block.


  3. Angelika says:

    yes, thank you for sharing !
    ugh, sounds like a self-aggrandizing pompous (and completely unaesthetic) white omega-douchebag. Never gets my money.
    I’d rather support the clean-up in the Gulf …

    btw “Italian green tea” ? (imagine slight rumble of Italian urns in the background)
    In all the years I have lived in Rome/Italy I haven’t once seen that in a cafe etc.
    Maybe the ca. 10% Italian vegetarians are into “green tea”.

  4. pinar says:

    haha I love the dose of criticism..
    and the luxury of being FOF.. =9

    “nice is more impressive than” many things even size.. .. I agree..

  5. Toby Wollin says:

    I make it a policy never to eat in places like this — once they’ve gotten above a certain size and ‘reputation’, then there is no way for the people to pay proper attention to food, service, etc. I’d rather make scrambled eggs at home.

  6. Preppy 101 says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I agree with you – nice and humble and appreciative wins points with me every time! Thanks to this review and his behavior, I will never spend one cent anywhere or on anything that has to do with him. 🙂 This behavior rather suits him, don’t you think? He has that “pompous” look really. Hope you’re having a great day! xoxo

    • Geri says:

      Hi Preppy,

      Pompous. Good adjective.



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