A few weeks ago, something amazing happened. A brand new food hall opened up right across from my office! It is called The Pennsy and it also happens to be right next to Penn Station and Madison Square Garden in NYC. It is one of the many new high end food halls to pop up in the city over the past few years, but this one is a little different. First of all, Mario Batali is involved, so that alone makes it special in my book. Secondly, Pat LaFrieda has a counter in this food hall, the first of it's kind. For those of you who do not know, Pat LaFrieda provides the best quality steaks and burgers to all of NYCs top restaurants. The Pennsy has done a great job of curating a stellar line up, mostly focused on lunch which is a home run for the area. As someone who has worked in the area for a long time, the lunch options are not the best. Now I have a different issue, a very tempting food hall across the street! Oh, and they JUST got their liquor license, perfect for game nights at the Garden! Here are a few pictures and descriptions of what you can get and what I have eaten so far.
Of course this was my first stop. Mario by Mary is a collaboration between Batali and Mary Giuliani, his catering partner. The menu is well thought out consisting of Italian comfort food that reminds me of home. The grilled cheese with truffle honey is amazing, pictured below. I got the combo #1 that came with a sandwich and a soup (I got the white bean and escarole, so good!) There is a selection of hot panini and cold panini that can be pared with a variety of soups. And for dessert, rainbow cookies! Panini run $9-13, combos are around $15.
All of the sandwiches entail some sort of meat, of course. I tried the classic steak sandwich and it was great. The quality of the steak really shines though, great flavor and very tender. They also have a hot pressed meatball sandwich, a fresh roast beef toasted sandwich as well as roasted turkey. The portions are pretty big, so go hungry. Sandwiches range from $12-15.
AKA Lobster Press, named for the signature hot pressed lobster sandwich that you dip into a delicious chili sauce. I have sampled a few things from here and all were good. I think my favorite was the coconut lobster bisque, not too heavy but it has a ton of flavor.
The lobster press is good, I wouldn't say the best lobster sandwich I have had, but the chili sauce really makes it special. Lobster Press is the priciest place in the The Pennsy, with the signature sandwich running at $17, the combo is $21 and comes with chips and pickled vegetables. If you are in the mood for lobster and feel like splurging on lunch, check it out. You may even get lucky and have Marc himself serve you one day, that happened to me. He was very nice and it was great to see a chef connecting with their customers.
Besides these three featured counters, The Pennsy also features The Cinnamon Snail and The Little Beet. I have yet to try either, but will definitely be back soon to try both of them, that is if I can be strong enough to not get a Mario by Mary grilled cheese every time I walk in!
The Pennsy- 2 Penn Plaza, New York, Ny