Michael Schlow Debuts the First Guest Chef Pop-Up at Eataly This Week
Boston’s Italian emporium has constantly evolved since it debuted late last year, with seasonal produce, more imported and local cheeses, expanded takeout and dine-in menus and more hitting Eataly every day. This week, there’s a whole new restaurant with a menu designed by Michael Schlow (Doretta Taverna, Tico, Alta Strada).
Via Emilia takes over for Il Tartufo, the pop-up dedicated to Italian truffles. La Cucina, as the rotating concept is called, is located in a corner of La Piazza, the same area of the 45,000-square foot food hall where Barbara Lynch’s crudo counter is situated, behind her Il Pesce restaurant. La Cucina will switch to a new, seasonal concept from a guest chef, from Boston or Italy, every couple months, Eataly says.
Schlow’s concept is on the menu for two months, beginning February 1. The dishes—a few pastas and entrées, and a half-dozen antipasti—are inspired by the north Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, home to iconic ingredients like prosciutto di Parma, balsamic vinegar, and Parmigiano reggiano.
Collaborating with his longtime friend Mario Batali, the celebrity face and a partner in Eataly USA, has long been a professional goal of Schlow’s.
“Emilia-Romagna is a place actually that Mario and I have traveled together several times. We went on one particular food-eating binge that was epic,” Schlow says.
He still visits Italy annually, and was just back in Emilia-Romagna this past fall, he says. “It’s food that really resonates [with people]. I know the dishes I bring back from there people love. Some of the most popular dishes on our menus stem from this region.”
While Schlow is starting in Emilia-Romagna, he hopes to collaborate with Eataly on other regional concepts in the future.
“Maybe in the summertime we do the Amalfi Coast. Whatever it may be, this pop-up will set the tone for myself and other chefs to keep Eataly fresh and current,” Schlow says. “Not only did I try to embody and represent the region, I also attempted to utilize all the beautiful products Eataly has worked to bring to Boston.”
The name Via Emilia is actually just a coincidental nod to Schlow’s now-closed Via Matta—the Eataly team named the concept—but the restaurant will have the Via Matta’s tagliatelle bolognese, a classic regional sauce. Schlow also created rich, wintry entrées like rabbit with crispy rosemary potatoes and olives in a white wine and garlic broth; short rib stracotto braised in red wine and tomato; and something Schlow recently tried in Italy, ravioli verdi stuffed with Mangalitsa pork, with mushrooms, butter, and Parmesan.
Schlow worked closely with Eataly executive chef Jason Neve to develop Via Emilia, and he’s grateful to the employees there for doing the heavy lifting, he says. He does plan to be present at the new restaurant throughout the week, though. Via Emilia, like all Eataly Boston restaurants, does not accept reservations.
800 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-807-7300, eataly.com.