Del Posto, NYC

February 15, 2010

On February 9, 2010, Linda and I joined Ron and June for an early dinner at Del Posto before going to the new Sam Shepard play at the nearby Atlantic Theater.

This was our first time at Del Posto. There are interesting looking menus proposed: five courses for $95 and seven for $125, considerably reduced in price from previous years. With our limited time we ordered à la carte.

The wine list is enormous, mostly Italian. We ordered a bottle of 2007 Bisson Vermentino and one of 2007 Banfi Rosso di Montalcino. Both were right for the occasion.

A bread basket was put on the table with Italian butter and whipped lardo.

The amuse-gueule was little cups of stracciatella (Roman egg drop chicken soup,) saffron risotto balls with gold flecks and mortadella in pastella.

They all were nicely done without being assertive enough to wake up our palates. 

June’s starter was
Pumpkin CAPPELLACCI with Almond Milk, Black Truffles & Dried Sage

She wrote: A lovely pasta dish with flavorful pumpkin.  The truffles and sage added great flavor although the crisp almond bits were a bit out of place.

Linda had
Del Posto AGNOLOTTI dal Plin with Parmigiano-Reggiano

She wrote: Our waiter explained that these homemade agnolotti with a light meat stuffing are served without a fork so that the diner can savor each one after dipping it in an accompaning bowl of freshly grated parmigiano. It was a light, almost refreshing, dish.

Ron’s first course was
GARGANELLI Verdi al Ragù Bolognese

He wrote: Bolognese sauce is a favorite. It was not overwhelming when mixed with this green pasta.

Mine was a special of the evening
Bollito Terrina

Slices of the variety meats one finds in a bollito misto were formed into a disk, breaded and fried. It was served with pickled radish slices and mustard. This was fun.

June and Linda went on to
Grilled PORK
Ode to Emilia-Romagna with Sunchoke Crema & Lambrusco

June wrote: The pork was wonderfully prepared. The best part was the succulent, fall-off-the-bone meat on the rib.
Linda agrees adding: The Lambrusco grapes and t
he purée of Jerusalem articokes went well with the flavorful pork.

Ron’s secondo was
Seared DUCK Breast, Apician Spices, Savor alla Francescana & Lovage

He wrote: I am always a big duck fan and this was right on target.  It was perfectly rare with unusual spices.

Mine was
Roasted LAMB Rack with Tail Ragu alla Puttanesca & Sauteed Basil

The chop of top quality lamb was served with an appropriate and flavorful sauce with braised lamb, tomatoes, garlic, anchovies etc. Very good.

We skipped the desserts, which I imagine would have been excellent, and enjoyed the mignardises with our coffees. My espresso was Italian quality, which is unusual in New York.

When we entered Del Posto, I was quite surprised by the ambience. It looked like a movie set of a midtown men’s club with a lot of polished wood. The tables were widely spaced. Nice music was playing; it was eventually succeded by an elegant piano player. The staff was extremely polite and eager to help, as if trained by Danny Meyer. But we were in the trendy, hip Meatpacking District in a restaurant partially owned by the celebrity in-your-face chef Mario Batali; his trademarks include loud rock music, tables jammed together and a frenetic ambience in his restaurants. Ed Levine, a well-known observer of the New York restaurant scene, recently wrote:

When Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and chef Mark Ladner opened Del Posto three years ago, Batali and Bastianich did not try to hide their ambition. They wanted Del Posto to be the first four-star Italian restaurant in New York, and they weren’t shy about telling the world that….

There was only one problem: the Del Posto braintrust never presented to the dining public a coherent vision of just what a four star Italian dining experience consisted of.  Serious eaters didn’t understand, either. The result: a restaurant that never quite coalesced into a recognizable whole. . . .

The food at Del Posto is now grounded, focused, and crazy good.

We certainly enjoyed our meal, but it didn’t have the wow factor that would lead me to call it “crazy good” or to be a candidate for four NYT stars. (It does have one deserved Michelin star.) Nonetheless, I think it was as good as any “Italian” meal I have had in the US. I would like to go back and have the $125 Menu Alla New Yorkese to see what they can do.

One Response to “Del Posto, NYC”

  1. Rich Says:

    Love your site and have been reading it regularly in the past year. If you ever come to Chicago, you should stop by Spiaggia and see how it compares to Del Posto.

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