Daily Slice: Focaccia at Eataly
Much has been made of the fact that while the merchandise at Eataly is top-notch and lovingly curated, it is also breathtakingly expensive. Happily, there is one item in the store that is affordable, filling and a delight to eat: the focaccia.
It's served from the bread counter at room temperature, across the maze from Eataly's pizza restaurant. While there was a 40 minute wait at Rossopomodoro, the lunchtime line at the bread counter was moving fast. There are five foccacia choices: plain, marinara (with lots of dried oregano), potato and sweet onion, tomato/mozzarella/prosciutto, and the slice I tried, peeled tomato and mozzarella. My generously-sized slice was wrapped in wax paper and slid into a paper bag. There is nowhere on site to eat it—all the seating is for the various restaurant operations, so you'll have to snag a bench in Madison Square park.
On one recent visit, the fresh-tasting tomatoes on the focaccia perfectly balanced the savory cheese and chewy olive oil-slicked bread. Another time, the tomatoes and oil added so much moisture to the bread that the slice basically dissolved. But the toppings are luscious: the mozzarella just crispy and browned on top but with a fresh squeakiness underneath. The tomatoes have a bright, clean flavor. It can be a bit messy to eat, and it's much safer to carry in a pizza box than in a bag.
If the dazzling selection of food at Eataly makes you hungry, but you need to find something that won't break your budget, head to the focaccia counter. At $2.80 a slice, this may be the most reasonably-priced item in the store.