Del Posto has one of the best lunch deals in New York. Lately I've been really into deals, however I'll get into that more at the end of this post. Generally I wouldn't have time to really enjoy a sit down meal for lunch, but I took a day off to enjoy the ability to have a nice lunch at a NYTimes four-star restaurant. For dinner, Del Posto is a quite a bit more expensive. If you have the means to go at dinner, hey why not? But if you're looking for a steal of a meal, going for lunch is probably the way to go. For $29 dollars, you get three courses with white table clothes. It's a little strange to have people dust off crumbs off of the table for you, and also very embarrassing when you stain the tablecloth and they bring a cloth napkin to make it look pristine again.
I think dining at a four-star restaurant in NY is kind of strange. Normally I find myself at Chinese restaurants or at take-out places. The idea of an amuse bouche is very strange for me, because it's very rare that I go to a restaurant where not only do they promise three courses, they actually give you a free one in the beginning and some free candy at the end. Most of the time at restaurants, the server/waiter only pays attention to you every so often. At Del Posto, because they have to clear the plates at least three times, and they gotta bring the bread, refill water, and bring the next course, they're always there. I find myself using as much energy to say, "Thank you" as I do actually eating. I know it's their jobs to clear the plates and bring bread and refill my water glass. I still feel like it's important to say thanks though. But you really end up thanking someone every ten minutes.
The amuse bouche at Del Posto was just four bites that happened before you even realize what's happening. It's the impressionism movement for fine dining. A glance at what's to be offered, and just a tease for your taste buds. Luckily, in a dining setting, the impression solidifies into something more detailed as the meal progresses.
Another great part about Del Posto is the bread basket. It's surprising to reach over for a piece of a bread and have something warm and crusty in your hands. I don't know what kind of logistics and effort it takes to offer customers warm, fresh bread, but it would be kinda cool if more restaurants offered this. I suppose bread baking is a bit difficult though.
A nice touch with the bread is that in addition to the butter that easily spreads on bread, they give you some lard for the bread.
To start the meal Steph got the "LOBSTER Salad alla Catalana with Tomato & Celery ($10 supplement)." It was cool to eat lobster that's not all dolled up in a lobster roll. This is still one ingredient that I can equate with fine dining and still enjoy it absolutely. Like if you showed me truffles, I still think, "Oh ok, that little thing smells funky and you're giving me like 1 gram of it on a giant dish. Awesome." With lobster, they at least give you distinguishable pieces. The plate was easily worth the up-charge.
I had the "Raw VEAL & TUNA Cubetti with Mustard & Fennel Hearts." I don't remember many other experiences involving raw veal. I can tell you that it's very neutral and tastes kind of like... tuna? I know that's not really the case, but probably just a case of anchoring, where I hear veal and tuna together, thus group the items together in terms of taste. Although the veal wasn't like gamey or anything so in a way it was like the tuna. What I loved about this plate was that it looked really cool. Like a hippy from the 70's painted it. Colorful food should be more common, but in NY this is probably only doable in the summer.
For the entrees, Steph chose from the primi menu and got the "Handmade ORECCHIETTE with Lamb Shoulder Sausage, Crispy Morels & Minted Soybeans." This dish was made awesome by the lamb sausage and the morels. There's something great about mushrooms and pasta that go really well together.
I picked from the secondi part of the menu and got the "Young LAMB alla Romana, Garlic Yogurt with Ceci & Swiss Chard Ragu." I kept forgetting to add the garlic yogurt to my lamb, because it really was good just by itself. This is where I tried to hand Steph a spoonful of the lamb and accidentally dripped onto the tablecloth. Four-star dining gods probably look down at me and think, "What. A. Dumbass." I ruined the white table cloth experience! What a failure. It's like I'm in China and could only pump out female babies or something. Not that tragic, but close. I loved this dish. You should get it if you have a chance to visit Del Posto this summer.
For desserts Steph got the "Butterscotch SEMIFREDDO Sour Cherries, Melon Agrumata, & Crumbled Sbrisolona." Is it just me or is semifreddo just a fancy word for soft ice cream? My memories of this dessert has left by now.
I got the "Chocolate Ricotta TORTINO Toasted Sicilian Pistachios & Extra Virgin Olive Oil Gelato." The best part about this dessert was the olive oil gelato. The tort was ok, but I did really appreciate that they cut it for you. Makes for a cooler looking picture on a blog. haha. Speaking of pictures, I saw other tables take pictures with flash, which made me feel more at ease taking pictures with a DSLR. My method for selecting this dessert was that they post prices next to the desserts and you could pick any one of them. So I just made sure not to pick the cheapest one But if I had to order this a la cart, I bet I woulda picked the cheapest one. You just can't take the cheap outta this chink.
It's always smart for a restaurant to end a meal well. In other industries like medicine, they've done studies to see how patients rate pain for things like colonoscopy. It's interesting because it's not necessarily how much pain there is, but rather how people remember it. Freakonomics has a great podcast on this. And I'm going to guess that it makes sense for restaurants to really end the experience pleasantly. These mignardises go a long way to do that. I know when you go to real fancy dinners, sometimes they give you a little something togo too. Same idea. You end it really smoothly and people love it. At Del Posto, they put the mignardises in this cool little box. The best two out of the bunch was the super dark chocolate and the explode-in-your-mouth lollypop. I thought it was really cool to have a lollipop with a liquid center, and I walked away impressed.
I just looked at Del Posto's website and for dinner the most economical choice is five courses at $115. If you get two lunch deals, even with a $10 supplement for lobster, you still walk away under $100 after tax and tip. It's kind of nuts. Speaking of deals, I've been obsessed with Priceline lately. Have you used Priceline (PL) before? It's very addicting for a deal catcher. Basically they have this thing called Name Your Own Price (for hotel/car/flights), and you just kind of bid on hotel rooms. The fucked up thing is that, you can bid even if they don't have any supply for the dates you're bidding. Gotta love that weird shit, because PL can suck you in even it's not even possible for them to give you what you ask for. But it's still addicting as hell. If your bid gets rejected, you can bid again in 24 hours, however you can read forums online about how to submit multiple bids in a single 24-hour window. I'm fascinated by this, and yet I can't win a bid. If I can quit my PL addiction, I'll get back to reading food blogs again. In the mean time, if you can, go try Del Posto.
85 10th Ave.
New York, NY 10011
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