First Impressions: Osteria della Pace

entrance-to-osteria-della-pace-at-eataly-downtown-nycBack story: The new downtown outpost of Eataly, on the third floor of 4 World Trade Center, includes five restaurants: Osteria della Pace, the relatively fancy option, and the only restaurant that takes reservations; the self-explanatory La Pizza & La Pasta (reviewed here); Il Pesce, a seafood restaurant (reviewed here); a wine bar called La Piazza; and Orto e Mare, serving “vegetable-forward small plates.”

dining-room-at-osteria-della-pace-at-eataly-downtown-nycThe vibe: Osteria della Pace is this Eataly’s marquee restaurant, with a unique style. It certainly feels more removed from the market than the other restaurants, with an actual wall (versus open-backed shelves elsewhere) separating it. An attractive arched passageway leads to a small bar, with tables to the left of the bar and, more extensively, in the dining room behind it. The restaurant is in 4 World Trade Center’s southwest corner, and the best tables are alongside the windows. Even though Adam and I were seated at one of the few floating two-tops, the space is intimate enough that we still felt like we were in another city—such as Tokyo—where dining above street level is common.

booth-at-osteria-della-pace-at-eataly-downtown-nycMenu: The food is nominally southern Italian, with higher prices than elsewhere in Eataly, but not as much so as you might expect, given the more polished service and atmosphere ($19-$28 pastas, vs. $15-$23 at La Pizza & La Pasta; $22-$39 entrées, vs. $23-$29 at Il Pesce.) This is the dinner menu; the menu for lunch, available as of yesterday, is not online yet.

osteria-della-pace-dinner-menuGold star: The service was far better than at the other two Eataly restaurants I’ve reviewed. We liked our server very much, and she spoke with enough authority that we trusted her wine recommendations.

Room for improvement: The food was a split decision. Adam thought his two dishes—the bruschetta and the ravioli—were excellent, but he’s partial to a rich cream sauce. We agreed that mine—potato-tomato salad and stuffed eggplant—were sub-par. The potatoes had little flavor and the tomatoes were those tough, joyless grape tomatoes that you see in winter. Any decent restaurant should do better in tomato season, and the bar is only higher for one located within a market. The eggplant dish tasted of neither eggplant nor tomato rice.

potato-tomato-caper-salad-at-osteria-della-pace-at-eataly-downtown-nycAnything else? If you want to shop at Eataly but you’re afraid of the crowds, go in the evening, when the tourists have left.

Contact: Osteria della Pace is inside Eataly, which is on the third floor of 4 World Trade Center, most easily accessible from the entrance at Church and Liberty;

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