The luscious whole chicken ($10.75) from the Eataly Rosticceria.
Now that the crowds have abated somewhat, it’s possible to dart into Eataly — the giant Italian supermarket across the street from the Flatiron Building — and emerge with an item or two. Since I’m a big fan of Italian rosticcerias (in rural areas, roadside fast food in which the focus is on hunks of meat done on rotisseries over charcoal), I decided to grab a chicken at the new Eataly Roticceria.
Chicken mounted on a couple of slices of a rustic peasant loaf from the ovens of Eataly, also produced as you watch (though I suspect some of it is already par-baked).
At $4.80 per pound, the price was competitive with Gourmet Garage, D’Agostino’s, and Citarella, but the volume of chickens Eataly is producing from its multiple banks of glowing, glass-fronted roasting cabinets is large enough to guarantee a really fresh-tasting chicken. And the farms that are the source of the birds are chalked up over the counter.
I came to the conclusion that the roast chicken at Eataly was a far superior product — moist, faintly smoky, the skin with a simple black pepper rub, and not the morass of herbs found in many supermarkets.
A sign above the counter tells you where the chickens came from.
Flavored with fennel and garlic, the pork loin sandwich was superb …
The Rosticceria is also selling sandwiches put on slender baguettes. In the Italian style, there are no condiments provided (not even mustard). This lack of smearage usually works, but only if the meat is moist enough.
The turkey sandwich, porchetta-style (traditionally, a pork shoulder stuffed with herbs and organ meats, here there was no offal), will set you back $10.80. It’s tasty in a small sort of way, or even better than that, but is totally overshadowed by the superb pork loin sandwich ($12.80), which has a spice rub that makes it taste more like porchetta than the turkey. The price is a little steep, but for a special occasion lunch for yourself, I’d recommend it (or if you split the sandwich with a friend).
The counter also sells three sides by the pound. Today it was escarole, beans, and potatoes (all $10 per pound). I tried the potatoes, which would have been better, except the guy pulled them out of a refrigerated metal tub, while I could see nicely browned hot potatoes ready to eat under the chickens soaking up the grease. Oh, well!
… while the turkey done porchetta-style was a little less interesting. When you want porchetta, you want real porchetta!