Hello again! After another long hiatus, this time due to bronchitis, a virus and guests packed in between, I am here with another post. Two of my friends from college came to visit last weekend while I had, what I now know was, bronchitis. Despite my evolving illness and the frigid winds of Joaquin I finally got to Eataly's La Birreria. I was hoping for a better forecast to visit the rooftop locale but let me tell you, those temps but the brrrr in birreria. I've experienced the marketplace before but it's such a delightful sensory experience that I love any excuse to walk through. My eyes widen at the aisles (plural) of pasta, clattering utensils and the sizzle of oil in a pan excite my eardrums, and the olfactory glands are reeled in by the faint yet pleasing aroma of freshly baked bread. Besides the weather, what's not to love?
La Birreria is the microbrewery on the 12th (could have been 14th, I wasn't paying enough attention) floor of the Eataly building. By some stroke of luck our wait time was a mere twenty minutes. Apparently I was supposed to have made reservations as they rarely take walk ins. Oh well. We went up and squeezed ourselves in to the over packed bar for twenty minutes, which gave me time to survey the space.
With a retractable roof, Birreria is open 365 days a year. Even as the remnants of Joaquin blew by we were able to gaze over the rain splattered rooftops of the Flatiron district as we sipped on a fine selection of beer and wine. The lighting was stark, natural lighting, which I found to complement the dark wood, marble bar and bordering greenery. It felt more like a private patio than a bustling restaurant on a cold, rainy, Saturday afternoon.
The menu at Birreria is an eclectic, modern take on Italian fare. I happily would have ordered just about anything on the menu but my fellow diners were less adventurous. Note to future self: know your guests. I personally was eyeing the quail stuffed with mozzarella and zucchini or the beer braised pork shoulder but to compromise we ordered smaller items: a mixed cheese plate with hazelnut honey (#yumbang indeed, Batali), fried shiitake mushrooms, fried pig ears with bagna cauda, and grilled portabello mushrooms (they looked more hen of the wood to me) with greens, beets and whipped goat cheese.
I wanted to try the pig ears but the bagna cauda contains anchovy and most pieces had touched it so I chose to forgo. My fellow diner said the bagna cauda made the dish and I'm sure he's right; a potato chip is good but dips make them better. The fried shiitake mushrooms were perfect. Mushrooms? Good. Fried food? Good. Together on a rainy day? Blissful. My grilled portabello and greens broke up heavier portion of our snacks. Tender greens and I-don't-know-what-they-did-to-them beets but if I, a non beet eater, ate them they must have been delicious.
Rain or shine, La Birreria is perfect for after work drinks or dinner with like minded diners. With a comfortable setting and food to match, a return trip to La Birreria is definitely happening. I just think I'll wait for warmer weather. Until the next dish, ciao!