Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, my guy and I headed over to Del Posto with his mother who was visiting for the week.
Since Del Posto is the first Italian restaurant to receive a four-star ranking in The New York Times since John Canaday’s review of Parioli Romanissimo in 1974, I thought it would be a nice choice.
And I was right.
We had 8:15 reservations and arrived a few minutes before so we sat for a minute or two before being taken to a table in a moderately filled dining area.
Unfortunately I do not have any photos to accompany this review as the restaurant is dimly lit above the tables. Thankfully there was a bit more light as I walked passed the pianist to the restroom or I probably would have fallen on the steps.
We decided to have the five course tasting menu ($95) instead of the seven course Chef’s tasting menu ($125). With the Chef’s tasting menu, you leave absolutely everything up to the Chef, and well, I think I was the only one at the table (all must agree) daring enough to do that.
For our tasting menu, we chose our own antipasto, secondo and dolce (appetizer, entree and dessert) but had to all agree on which two pastas the table would share. We did not choose the wine pairing option. Instead we enjoyed glasses of the suggested blood orange bellini (or in my case, a virgin bellini).
As an antipasto, I chose the roasted autumn vegetables with robiola sformato and truffled hazelnuts. They were nicely done. An interesting mix of vegetables and flavor.
For the pasta, we went with the classic options of pumpkin cappellacci with brown butter and sage and potato gnocchi pomodoro. The pumpkin cappellacci was one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had. The potato gnocchi pomodoro was not what I would expect from a restaurant with a four star rating from The New York Times. I believe my Italian former mother in law may have made gnocchi that tasted better. (So happy she taught me how to make gnocchi pomodoro or I wouldn’t know the Del Posto version was lacking.)
For my secondo, I was going to choose the wild striped bass but then decided on the grilled pork ode to Emilia-Romagna with sunchoke crema and aceto conserva. Speaking of which, the Emilia-Romagna butter was my favorite between that and the pork lardo that was brought to the table when we chose bread earlier in the evening.
I always look forward to dessert so I eagerly awaited my pineapple crostata with champagne vinegar caramel and vanilla gelato. I have had memorable desserts but sadly this one would not be added to that list. Again, I had hopes that weren’t met. A plate of mini desserts were brought to the table after wards but I had already had time in between courses and I couldn’t try another flavor or food. There was also a three part amuse bouche earlier in the evening that we enjoyed.
My guy ordered carne cruda for his appetizer and the lamb for his entree. He really enjoyed the carne cruda but thought there were far too much lamb on his plate. I think he may have felt that way because there was nothing else on his plate when his entree arrived so it was bite after bite of lamb (as was my grilled pork) and he may have needed additional flavors.
His mother had the “young and tender lettuces with zenzero and balsamic citronette” for her appetizer and while I didn’t taste it, I have to comment on the portion size. Both my guy and I had appetizers which really looked elegantly plated and was a suitable appetizer size. But for some reason it was as if enough lettuce for four people was placed on the plate with no care and carried out for her. It was hard to ignore. When a member of the staff, asked if everything was to our liking, I briefly wondered if its because many people who order that dish do not care for it.
As we left, we were handed boxes of Del Posto chocolate truffles. I remembered them the next morning. A nice reminder of the night before.
Before You Go
Dress Code: The dress code was pretty much business casual. I saw a few men wearing dress shirts with jeans but no one was formal in the main dining room.
Price: There are two tasting menus to choose from. But with each there are several ways to be charged additional amounts. From the special appetizers or wine pairings. To dessert wines to pair. I could easily see someone walking away with bill of a $350 a person. With the exception of my dessert, all of my choices were available on the $29 pre-fixe lunch menu (but the menu is subject to change and you can only choose either a pasta or entree.) That might not be a bad way to introduced to Del Posto.
Service: Everyone from the doorman who got us a cab to the woman who brought our Bellini was incredibly courteous. At times, it felt like too many people were assigned to our table but I would rather have excellent service than have to complain about our table being neglected in some way.
Address: 85 Tenth Ave between 15th and 16th Street
Reservations: We called (212) 497-8090 a month in advance for a 7PM reservation but were not able to get one. We took a 8:15 option. http://www.delposto.com