del posto

It’s been awhile since I’ve done any fine dining as the last few places I’d been to hadn’t really quite impressed me enough. However, a recent glowing New York Times review upping their previous 3 star review of Italian fine dining staple Del Posto up to the coveted 4 star rating was enough to peak my curiousity. My sister and brother-in-law had previously been there and enjoyed it and also wanted to give it another try for dinner under the new 4 star rating.

We decided to go with the decadent Menu Tradizionale of 7 courses. The menu is shared by the table (we all receive the same dishes) and the dishes decided in advance by the chef. Well, let me go ahead and spoiler you now by telling you that this is one of the best meals I’ve had in New York- well, maybe one of the best meals I’ve had anywhere.

So without further ado, LET THE EATING BEGIN!!

An amuse bouche with a swallow of soup and two savory pastries that I am kind of embarrassed not to be able to remember other than they were DELICIOUS and whet my appetite, making me curious about what the chef had in store for us- just as a good amuse bouche should.

Fresh creamery butter and to the right of it, they actually brought us lardo to enjoy with the bread as well. I’m a big fan of DELICIOUS PORK FAT as much as the next (non-vegetarian) person so I did not object to such a thing.

Bread basket of freshly baked, still warm from the oven breads for DIPPING INTO THE DELICIOUS PORK FAT.

COURSE 1

The following several pictures are close ups of the Del Posto ANTIPASTO dal Carello

Fresh, succulent jumble of seafood.

High-end seafood salad on a sharp salad leaf

Prosciutto wrapped around delectable, smoky parmesan. We were told that the prosciutto is from a pig that was fed parmesan scraps (more specifically: the rinds) so that it’d have a distinct parmesan-y taste so I thought it was ironic that even after it’s death it was still having cheese stuffed into it.

Artichokes and pickled greenery

A fresh salad to balance out the antipasto.

COURSE 2

INSALATA Caprese & Tuna Ventresca

I have a confession to make, this one is only 2 courses into the meal and I think this was my favourite dish of the night. The tomatoes were apparently from the Mt. Vesuvius area and had been preserved in such a way that they were completely EXPLODING with tomato tomato tomato flavour, everything from the texture to the taste to the acidity to the sweetness was just LIEJFIOJAFOJEOIFJIOEJFSKKFJSLADJ in my mouth. The fresh mozzarella was direct from Italy, gooey and milky and fantastic, just 700000 levels above the fresh buffalo mozzarella you can pick up at Costco and Trader Joe’s. The Tuna Ventresca was a sous-vide preparation of tuna that brought out all its fatty unctuousness. It’s been awhile since I’ve been astonished by a dish but this did it. If this is what Italy tastes like, can I move there? CAN I MOVE THERE RIGHT NOW.

COURSE 3

Fonduta ANELLINI with White Truffles & Parmigiano

Actually, thinking about it more, this is also a pretty good contender for my favourite dish of the night, but it has unfair advantage over the previous one for having fresh truffle shavings.  Housemade pasta that you dip, sliding each pasta piece onto your forefinger, into the side rim of white truffle and parmigiano shavings. I actually had a bit of a kerfuffle with this dish because I have this weird OCD thing about not liking to touch  my food / eat with my hands, but they kept taking away and replacing our silverware with each dish and had left us with none for this one as it was meant to be eaten by hand, so I was trying to spear these damn things with my butter knife (left for the bread) until the waiter told me I was DOING IT WRONG (much nicer than that of course). Granted, eating by hand added another layer of, well, I hate to say it and sound cliche, but literally feeling connected with your food. A wonderful, wonderful pasta dish- maybe the best I’ve had.

COURSE 4

100 Layer LASAGNE al Ragù Bolognese

As I was eating this I was trying to count the layers to see if they were BSing us with the whole “100 layers!” thing but I think this thing actually DOES have 100 layers. It’s hard to see from the photo but each sheet of pasta is incredibly thin (the lighting in the restaurant was your standard low fancy restaurant mood lighting; I’m investing in a pro full-frame camera at some point next year to be able to take good low lighting pictures LOOK FORWARD TO IT). Somehow comforting but also high end at the same time? I was pretty impressed by the skill and attention that went into this dish.

COURSE 5

Veal TENDERLOIN with Golden Polenta and Osso Buco Vinaigrette

My sister joked that this was literally the baby version of the filet roast we’d had on Thanksgiving. Adorably one of our servers brought out the little tenderloin to show up before they carved it. It had been baked in some kind of ash. Very lovely little bites of veal, though I’d like to be biased and say our filet roast on Thanksgiving came out better 😉

The Osso Buco Vinaigrette that came out with the veal; a sharp astringent but very nice salad to balance out the richness of the meat and the meal overall.

I believe that at this point we had a sorbet palate cleanser that I forgot to take a picture of so you will just have to picture it in your MIND!

Now ordering the Menu Tradizionale meant that all 3 of us received the same dishes but my brother-in-law requested that they send us three different desserts. Later my sister fretted a bit about whether or not they would remember but he just laughed and said, oh, they will (he cited that he and the sommelier had an UNDERSTANDING, what with all the wine the dude had pushed on him despite us not getting the wine pairings).

COURSES 6 & 7

TARTUFO al Caffe, Dark Chocolate, Sant’Eustachio Coffee, & Candied Lemon

I REALLY WANTED TO EAT THIS but it had caffeine in it, and we’d gotten an 8:45 seating meaning this dish arrived at close to midnight, and I had to be up at 5:30 the next morning to catch a bus to DC. My brother-in-law can handle night!caffeine though and seemed to enjoy it.

Chocolate Ricotta TORTINO, Toasted Sicilian Pistachios & Extra Virgin Olive Oil Gelato

This cake was really rich. I enjoyed the cake but remember thinking the gelato was a little weird. I guess I am just not DARING enough for olive oil gelato :(

Pineapple CROSTATA, Champagne Vinegar Caramel & Vanilla Gelato

Ok I will tell the truth I don’t really remember eating this one because I think by the time we got to the 3rd dessert I was in the throes of death.

Having fattened us up for the slaughter apparently the only logical thing was to top the whole thing off with a couple more dessert bites and a SECRET DRAWER OF CANDY??? Candy with edible wrappers, even.

Look at these sweet little bites! A perfect cap off to a perfect meal. They sent us home with little boxes of chocolate truffles- only for the ladies, though.

As I’d mentioned at the start of this review, it’s been awhile since I’ve been impressed by a fancy meal. Too often I’ve felt like restaurants of this caliber just haven’t stood up to their price point, and anything in this range should ALWAYS produce a very memorable meal. Del Posto definitely delivered on this front, on everything from the Old Gilded New York interior to the quality of the wait staff (we had at least 6-8 people dedicated to our table- 3 would silently arrive like clockwork to remove our plates/silverware, 3 more would arrive to plate our food simultaneously, and several more would explain thoroughly the dishes we were about to enjoy. Perhaps extraneous, but it did create an atmosphere of being pampered. If you’ve got a special occasion, want a taste of the decadent side of Italy, or just plain happen to be in New York and want a truly delicious, memorable meal, I do not hesitate to recommend you fight for a reservation at Del Posto.

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