Mon-Fri, 7am-6pm; Sat, 8am-6pm; Sun, 9am-6pm
N, Q, R at Fifth Ave.-59th St.; E, M at Fifth Ave.-53rd St.
Fresh mozzarella has long been a star of the Italian table, oozing out onto antipasto plates and melting in discrete dabs on pizza Margherita. But no place fetishizes the milky white blobs as much as Obikà, the proliferating chainlet of mozzarella bars founded in 2004 years ago in Rome by Silvio Ursini, an executive at Bulgari. The jewelry connection is no accident: Obikà is known for displaying its authentic Neapolitan cheese in glass tanks, like exceedingly perishable objets d’art, and borrows from the Japanese sushi-bar tradition in its presentation and aesthetics. (“Obikà” is a slight modification on an expression in the Neapolitan dialect for “Here it is!”) After expanding to Milan, London, and Turin, with plans in the pipeline for Kuwait City and Tokyo, the brand has made its American debut. The sleek Italian-fabricated kiosk, which has taken up residence in the IBM Building atrium, is a joint venture between the Italian company and New York entrepreneur Reto Cantone, who’d previously operated a L’Espresso kiosk on the very same spot. It will be open throughout the day for Italian pastries, salads, antipasti, and pasta, but the main draw is the mozzarella di bufala DOP, flown in fresh twice or thrice weekly from Campania.