I didn’t know what to expect from Mario Batali, Joe, and Lidia Bastianich’s new restaurant. Even after all of the hype, the Food TV special, and then all of the subsequent chatter on the internet (mostly, apparently, from people who had never actually eaten at the place, and oddly, to me, seemed to have no interest in eating at the place), I still didn’t know what to expect. What I really wanted was to have a meal as good as those I’ve had at Babbo. That’s a lot to ask of most restaurants, but it shouldn’t be a lot to ask of Del Posto.
Aside: That bullet-head Chris is butchering a Styx song on American Idol as I try to type this and I can’t concentrate one bit. Make it stop.
At any rate, given my expectations and hopes, Del Posto delivered: I had a meal as good as those I’ve had at Babbo. I’m guessing that’s not what they’re shooting for, though.
A couple of things stood out, and here's what matters:
Bread was served with butter and pureed lardo. Yeah, pureed lardo. Lardo, for those who don’t know, is basically pure fat. I’ve had lardo at Otto (another Batali restaurant), both on their pizza, and on their crostini, and it’s never as good as the lardo I fell in love with in Florence. Specifically, the lardo at Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco. However, this lardo, all pureed up, scented with rosemary, was as good a lardo as you’re likely to ever have. I was eating with my fingers because I didn’t want to cut the flavor with the bread. The bread was very good, though. Just not as good as the lardo.
The server seemed to push us to order a pasta tasting course in between
the antipasti and secondi, not that it took too much pushing. A pasta tasting course of three pastas, mind
you. But hey, I’m all for three pastas. Unfortunately I didn’t have control over the
choices, but my guests chose a couple of decent dishes. Our favorite was the spicy spaghetti with
crab. This dish had a total of about 4
or 5 elements. Simple. Perfect. The spinach pasta Bolognese was quite good, whereas the goat cheese
tortellini with a creamy sauce, eh.
For an entrée I had another pasta. Why not. After all, my favorite dinners at Babbo have always been the pasta tastings. The veal ravioli with ramps was really super. I was dying for ramps, and they really delivered. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were pulled from the ground that afternoon. Again, this was a seemingly simple dish. Every flavor stood out. I’d order it again in a heartbeat.
The pork loin ordered by a friend was most certainly the best pork loin I’ve ever had. When I read “pork loin” on the menu, I didn’t give it a second look. However, this was well worth ordering. It was like no loin I’ve ever had: tender, flavorful, and really quite delicious
I thought the service was efficient and friendly. The sommelier was working very hard for our large table. I’m not sure how busy he was other than our table, but he certainly spent a lot of time humoring my stupid questions and dealing with the barrage of others’ stupid questions.
They don’t allow dining at the very large and spacious
bar. It’s the only Batali/Bastianich
restaurant that I’ve been to where this is the case. To me, this flies in the face of the spirit
of their restaurants, but I suppose the spirit at Del Posto is purposefully
different. They do, apparently, allow
hookers at the bar, presumably to entertain creepy middle-aged bar patrons and to keep the bar
tabs high. The hookers, and the creepy
guys talking to them, were a definite turn-off and, to me, flew in the face of
the spirit of the place. If they weren’t
hookers, my apologies go out to them. But they looked and acted like hookers. What can I tell ya.
I suppose I’ll return. I dunno. It’s probably going to
be easier to get a reservation at Del Posto than Babbo, so, you know, it has
that going for it.
Del Posto : 85 10th ave btwn 15th and 16th : 212.497.8090
aside: And if Talyor Hicks doesn’t take this thing, I just don’t know what I’ll do. 1 866 IDOLS 10. Vote often.