One of the frustrations of Madison Avenue in midtown is that there isn’t much to eat. You have to dash down a side street to get a quick bite, which leaves you craning your neck at every intersection to see if it’s worth taking a few steps off your path for a chance to fill your stomach with something you want. After a while, you just give up and walk into the first restaurant you see after your will has been decimated.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
The next time your trudging up Madison from one luxury retailer to the next (and there are many, so many), duck into the Atrium at the IBM building on the corner of E. 56th Street, and skip street food in favor of mozzarella. Obika, a mozzarella bar, is made for cheese fiends, with a wide range of alternatives, not to mention meat tastings and pastas that you can add to your meal if, for some strange reason, mozzarella isn’t enough.
When you order, cautions the New York Daily News, don’t let appearances deceive you:
There were three mozzes atop a bed of spinach on the tasting plate. It didn’t look like a lot, sitting there, but wound up being more than enough for the two of us. We agreed, though, that had the cheeses-and us-been joined by a little wine, we probably would have mopped up every dairy-oozing morsel.
If you are addicted to cheese, you can carry the theme straight through dessert, with a ricotta mousse, topped with pine nuts and honey. I can tell you that the taste is unbeatable – and that the dish is incredibly heavy. As small as it looks, share it.
The drawbacks are present but not sufficient to ruin the experience. Writes the Daily News of Obika‘s atrium location:
The ceilings are high and the atmosphere nil. The bathrooms are down an escalator, around the corner from some Trumpean joint or other. And, worst of all worsts-and I can only assume that this is due to its location-Obika doesn’t have a liquor license. Their location in Kuwait City does, but not Manhattan. Cheese without wine? That’s just wrong.
The location’s ideal, though, when you’re hauling full shopping bags to your next credit card-melting store and need a break for a taste of attainable luxury.