Under: Chelsea,Desserts,Italian,Lunch,Michelin 2010 Guide,My Life,Prix-fixe
My friends Angie and Brooke came to visit me over the weekend. Since they stayed with me, they wanted to treat me out to a nice meal and wanted it to be blog-worthy; I told them that I really wanted to try Del Posto because it was on the Michelin list for NYC and that they had a great deal for lunch. They were both excited to try it out; we all watch Mario Batali on Iron Chef and were excited that I would be able to cross off a restaurant from my Michelin list for 2010. We headed there on Friday for lunch (after a quick stop at the Barney’s Warehouse sale):
In 2008 and 2009, Del Posto was a two-star Michelin restaurant:
However, in 2010, it was downgraded to only one Michelin star (still an accomplishment, but definitely not as prestigious). We arrived at the restaurant and there was a line to check our coats so we decided against it and walked right to the host. The host was really pushy for us to check our coats, but we decided against it and he even asked us again if we were absolutely POSITIVE that we didn’t want to check our coats. None of us understood why he wanted us to check our coats, but decided to not let that get our lunch off to a bad start. There’s a piano player that plays classical music while we dined, but it made Del Posto seem like a hotel lobby (or a Nordstrom). The decor is already a little on the heavy side (it reminded me of something you’d see in a higher end hotel) but was a little busy.
We started with some a couple complimentary dishes from the kitchen:
An Italian Miso soup, cheese rolled in puff rice, and little sandwiches with a ham pate. The ham pate was definitely the best with a delicate balance of fat and salt that tasted delicious with the choux pastry.
We also received a bread basket with baguettes, rosemary ciabatta, and olive bread:
With a side of butter and lard:
The bread was freshly baked (or warmed) in the oven so even though the butter was room temperature, it melted on the bread. The olive bread was delicious and came with very large pieces of black olives, but the baguette was a little too chewy. The lard spread tasted very similar to the butter, but I thought it had less taste and was a little too fibrous looking to be appreciated.
We decided to share everything and started with the Roasted Autumn vegetables with Robiola Sformato & Truffled Hazelnuts:
The roasted beets were my favorite (although the beets were smaller than any beet I’ve ever had) and had a very sweet and earthy taste. Everything else had flavors that were muted and I don’t think they took advantage of the natural sweetness and flavors of the vegetables.
We also ordered two warm cotechino with Umbrian Lentil Vinaigrette & Dried Fruit Mostarda:
When the dish arrived, Angie said that she could’ve made the same dish – just give her a cookie cutter and a container of spam! We were cracking up, but the sausage really did look like it was fried spam. It was flavored with a little heat (from the mustard) but the dish was slightly sweet from a jam or date that really added a strange texture to the cotechino.
For the lunch menu, you order one antipasti and then choose either a primi or a secondi, and a dessert. The primi had a list of pastas but none of them really interested us, so we went with three secondis. I ordered seared duck breast, Apician Spices, Savor alla Francescana & Lovage:
The duck breast was my favorite dish of the afternoon; the duck skin was very crispy and well salted and the meat of the duck was still moist and not overcooked.
Angie ordered the Grilled pork ode to Emilia-Romagna with Sunchoke Crema & Lambrusco:
The Berkshire pork was a tad overcooked and by the time the dish got to me, it was very tough and chewy. The bone was wrapped in prosciutto and added some necessary salt to the dish. The pork actually reminded me of the Berkshire pork from Blue Hill, but I preferred the pork at Blue Hill (even though I said it was super salted at the time).
Brooke ordered Roasted lamb rack with Tail Ragu alla Puttanesca & Sauteed Basil:
The roasted lamb rack was my least favorite dish of the proteins; it didn’t have enough flavor and was definitely overcooked.
We ordered our desserts after we finished our entrees (which is what you usually do in restarants, right?) but it took another 45 minutes for our desserts to come out. We decided to share the desserts as well and ordered three based off the waiter’s recommendations. I ordered the Chocolate Ricotta tortino with Sicilian Pistachios & Extra Virgin Olive Oil Gelato:
I actually only wanted the olive oil gelato (after having it at Otto, I became a little obsessed) but the chocolate cake was very dense and delicious as well.
Angie ordered the tartufo al Caffe with Dark Chocolate, Sant Eustachio Coffe & Candied Lemon:
Tartufo translates to “truffle” in Italian, and we all said the chocolate covered coffee ice cream reminded us of truffles. The shell of dark chocolate was slightly bitter and complemented the sweet coffee ice cream well.
Brooke ordered the Butterscotch semifreddo Melon Agrumata, Crumbled Sbrisolona & Milk Jam:
My favorite part of the dish was actually the agrumata, which tasted like a grown-up fruit roll up. The rest of the dish was okay, but I didn’t really taste the butterscotch in any of the dessert.
The three of us before we devoured our desserts:
The waiter brought over some more desserts when we finished our first round:
There was olive oil gelato covered in chocolate, little bombolinos filled with custard, chocolate with almonds and dried cherries, and more agrumata.
Our lunch was good, but I definitely thought some of the flavors were muddled and the chef really didn’t let the ingredients speak for themselves. The duck is definitely worth trying, but I’m surprised Del Posto is still a Michelin starred restaurant.