Eataly’s rooftop beer garden, called Birreria, opened to the public last week, only a week or two behind the schedule we mentioned back in April. Chowhound roze was there on the first night. She saw a line and—perhaps inspired by this Ruth Reichl interview in which Reichl declared, "If I see a line for any food place anywhere, I get in it"—hopped into it. roze filed a report on brews and bites: "For the more adventurous beer drinker I would suggest the Gina—a Thyme Pale Ale which brought a spicy kick to the front and tasted extremely refreshing on the hot sunny evening." Be prepared for a bit of sticker shock for what Eataly co-owner Mario Batali declares is the "only roof-made beer in America right now ... all made by crazy Italian brewers and Sam Calagione." An 8.5-ounce beverage might run you $10.
As for food, the "Cacciatorni a Piemonte," a salami, was "on the tougher side with big flavors of pepper up front but with a smooth and balanced finish," according to roze, and was "the perfect food for beer drinking." Apparently this didn’t fulfill the group’s porcine needs, since they also ordered the pork chop. It reminded roze of one she’d eaten at Babbo, "so moist and had definitely been drizzled with some awesome olive oil alongside crispy fried Yukon Gold Potatoes and lots of peppers and onions."
Is Birreria the "beer oasis in the sky" that Batali says it is? Maybe: roze says "rays were streaming through the roof and a nice breeze came through the top making it the perfect evening weather." She suggests you look for the iPad near the checkout registers—you can sign in there, leave your number, and get a text message when a space opens up.
200 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
Discuss: Birreria Open