November 25, 2013

Del Posto, New York

When I asked my husband were he wanted to eat in New York, he immediately responded "Del Posto!" He's not one to get overly excited about restaurants, but this was one restaurant he couldn't wait to experience after reading about it in Restaurant Man by Joe Bastianich. Since Joe describes lunch at Del Posto as "the best deal in town" there was no way we were going to pass on that. We made reservations for lunch and planned on taking advantage of the $39 ($49 as of November 2014) fixed-price three-course lunch. Of course, the minute we glance over the menu and looked up at each other, we both knew we had to go for the five-course tasting menu. Hey Joe, "not everyone is a cheap fuck". Our meal paid for the piano man that day and then some.

Peach bellini
Being in this stunning Italian restaurant I couldn't resist ordering a traditional bellini, made with fresh white peach puree and Flor prosecco. The bellini was mixed in a pitcher before it was poured into the champagne glass. It was a perfect ratio of peach and prosecco, not too sweet and very smooth. A wonderful drink to sip on as we enjoyed the beautiful melodies from the piano.

Old fashioned - cubed
Del Posto serves two kinds of old fashioned: traditional and cubed. The cubed old fashioned changed my life and changed the way I think about cocktails. This drink is made with a hand picked whiskey from Colorado poured over ice cubes made out of simple syrup, Luxardo cherry and Angostura bitters. What makes this drink worth the price tag is the progression of flavor from the initial sip to the last drop. The journey starts with the straight flavors of the small batch whiskey and moves onto the more traditional flavors of an old fashioned and ends on a sweet note. I couldn't believe how much the flavor of this drink developed as those cubes melted. This is one cocktail I'd gladly fly across to country to have again.

Compliments from the kitchen
This pretty plate of amuse-bouche were a wonderful start to the meal. The fried corn pasta was light yet crunchy filled with lobster and coated in an addicting mix of sweet paprika, chili and lime. The cucumber sandwich was fresh and bright. The tomato gazpacho shot made with sweet tomatoes from Naples packed an intense punch balanced by the basil rim.

Bread basket
The bread basket arrived with French baguette, focaccia and kalamata olive bread. Not pictured is the lard and butter that arrived with the bread. The bread was the perfect vessel to enjoy the intense thick pork lard that apparently takes two years to make and is flavored with garlic and rosemary. The staff brought new butter and lardo halfway through our meal to make sure it was fresh. Not to discredit the bread but I could have eaten the lard on its was that good

5 course tasting menu

Beef carpaccio
This 28 day old dry aged ribeye was topped with a slice of parmigiano reggiano, micro greens, fried shallots and a light drizzle of truffle dressing. The beef was melt your mouth tender, the intense red cow milk cheese was rich and creamy, the fried shallots added a wonderful smokiness to every bite and the truffle dressing tied all the components together. I would have been happy with eating this dish over and over again.

Named after a bishop's hat because of the shape, this sweet potato, ginger and marscapone filled pasta in brown butter sauce was divine. The pasta was cooked al dente, thin enough to hold the filling without falling apart and sprinkled with cinnamon for a little heat. The ginger really made this dish stand out and the hazelnut crumble added a nice texture. Taking a bite of this pasta, the butter seemed to bring all of the flavors to a head and it was just a wonderful symphony. This dish truly showcased how a simple dish with very basic ingredients when executed well deserves to be put on the menu at a one star Michelin restaurant.

This dish made me fall in love with toasted rye. The lamb neck ragu was so rich and didn't have a hint of "gaminess" that turn a lot of people off from the protein. The carrot puree drizzled over the pasta added sweetness and brightness to each bite. As good as everything else tasted on the plate, the best part was the toasted rye. Until I asked our waiter, I was convinced it was crispy lamb bacon. Not that I've had lamb bacon before, but I imagined that's what lamb bacon would taste like. The toasted rye soaked up the beautiful rich flavors of the lamb ragu that it transformed it into something so crunchy and delicious. 

Pork loin
When this dish first arrived, I was a little perplexed. It was a giant white plate with a piece of pork loin topped with a braised pork rib wrapped in pancetta. It all made sense once our waiter showed up with a small copper pot of ribollita, a baked pork bean and vegetable stew, and spooned it onto our plates. The pork was extremely tender and cooked perfectly. The elements of the stew looked basic at a glance but were packed with flavor that made you want to savor each bean

Aged Ricotta served with Passita eucalyptus honey, both from the Abruzzo region of Italy. It wasn't until they served it here that I knew aged ricotta existed. The honey was drizzled carefully table side and we were given wet napkins with lemons and thyme, encouraging us to use our hands. The honey was thick and very sweet, which helped cut the sharp flavor of the ricotta. Again, the chef found a way to make a very simple dish, complex.

Chocolate ricotta tort
I happen to love olive oil so I was very excited when this dessert arrived. The ricotta tort was lighter in texture than I expected, yet still rich and intense in flavor. The roasted pistachios add crunch and nuttiness to each bite. Of course, the best thing on this plate was the extra virgin olive oil gelato. It tasted just like it sounds: creamy gelato flavored with high quality extra virgin olive oil. A small piece of tort with the gelato was simply divine.

Dessert box
This was presented at the table after our last course and contained an assortment of various candies. Each one had it's own unique flavor unlike anything I'd had before. We decided the best course of action was to start at the top and work our way down. Considering the courses we had just completed, we were happy these treats were so small because they were so good we could have eaten more, but we just didn't have the room!

From start to finish, dining at Del Posto was an exceptional experience. The staff was impeccable. Not only did they do an amazing job at serving, but they were very personable and went out of their way to make sure we had everything. We did order some wines (by the glass) during our meal and the Sommelier did a wonderful job at matching wines to the courses we were having. The experience was so wonderful that we made a dinner reservation before we left so we could try the Captain's Tasting menu with wine pairing. 

Del Posto is fine dining with Italian hospitality. A place were you can go to eat refined Italian cuisine in a beautiful setting and feel like you're at grandma's house. If you go, ask to sit in Thomas Russo or Dennis Rossi's section. I'm sure everyone is terrific, but they are truly exceptional at what they do. 

Del Posto
85 10th Ave
Chelsea, NY 10011

If you like Del Posto, check out this quick guide on Where to Eat In New York City.