The Vegetarian Option

Dining out meat-free.

The Vegetarian Option: Eataly Part II: La Pasta

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[Photographs: Laura Togut]

La Pasta (at Eataly)

200 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010 (between 23rd & 24th; map); 212-229-2560; eatalyny.com/eat/la-pizza-la-pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Veggie Options: 5 pastas
Cost: Antipasti $8-15, pastas $13-18

Ever since I was blown away by Eataly's vegetable station, I've been wanting to further investigate what their other stations have to offer. Seeing as fresh pasta is one of their specialties (and vegetarian option friendly) it seemed both inevitable and appropriate to take on La Pasta for this week's vegetarian option.

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We started with the Antipasto Misto ($13), which varies with what's seasonally available in Eataly's market. Ours was a spread of marinated beets with pistachios, fresh figs, shredded brussels sprouts with pecorino, and succulent, tender olives. Everything was fresh and tasty, but no one thing stood out as particularly remarkable.

We couldn't help but order the Quadrati Ricotta e Spinaci ($17, pictured above); a homemade spinach ricotta ravioli with lemon butter and pistachios. The lemon butter is the key to making this otherwise ordinary ravioli dish delightfully light, almost floral. It was impossible not to enjoy a dish so pleasant and fragrant, and it was certainly a nice change from your typical simple butter sauce.

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The Spaghettone Cacio e Pepe ($14) is a simple dish, but a popular one. Al dente pasta is tossed with with cheese from Lazio and a healthy dose of freshly ground black pepper, which adds a sharp, peppery kick to an otherwise simple pasta dish. It exemplified Eataly's commitment to strong, straightforward cooking in its representation of Italian cuisine.

Everything was fresh, high quality, and generally pleasing, but which corner of Eataly will I be returning to? The vegetable station wins hands-down. With high expectations that naturally comes with Eataly's pasta station, it seems that La Pasta is a bit too focused on being a perfect example of Italian cuisine, while occasionally lacking complexity in flavor (I went back for the penne and the lasagna, and that was even more so the case). Le Verdure, on the other hand, is far more innovative, impressive, and much more likely to knock your socks off with something that is stunningly delicious. And guess which one almost never has a wait? That's right, vegetables for the win.

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