Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fine Dining with a Long Lost Foodie Friend: Del Posto - NYC

Our facebook email chain had survived two months of build up in preparation for our reunion. 
We wanted to go to Babbo, but they were too cool and too full for us the one Monday night I would be in New York.

We hadn't seen each other for 11 years.

Plus we'd discovered through stalking each others' facebook pages that we're both foodies. Minjung and I went to high school together but got separated after. And yes, the "Naked Guy" went to our high school. The rest of us were nerds.

 So it was kind of a big deal.

Del Posto was agreed upon for our reunion as it is also owned by Mario Batali and we both share a love for Italian cuisine and fat jolly men with obnoxious shoes (well at least I do).

So through a series of text messages on the cab ride over, we met just minutes before our reservation in a much anticipated fairytale high school reunion at the foyer of Del Posto, making our recess monitor proud (yes, he later became the security guard on Judge Judy).

As soon as we were lead to our table, an ottoman for our bags was arranged  in between us. Very cute :)

Some amuse bouches arrived, looking almost like it was high noon tea at the Queen Victoria.

Tea time? Psyche!

The arancini were perfectly crunchy on the outside with a nice mellow and I hate to say this, Mac N Cheese flavor, which brought back nostalgia and yummy smiles to our faces.

Those aren't experimental crumpets

The soup was a savory sip of beefy and oniony broth with a miso cloud.

 That's not English breakfast tea

What looked like macarons on roids, were actually a type of savory cream puff with a pate pipped filling. It was very rich, but we both agreed this was our favorite amuse bouche.

That's not really a strawberry papa beard

Bread and (2) butters arrived next. Well actually, one was lard imported from Italy and the other was sweet butter. Both were excellent in their creamy glory.

Butter and lard: mouth says yes, arteries say ouch

Bread, being one of my favorite foods in the world, did not disappoint. We had five, fresh from the oven types to chose from. Unfortunately I wasn't able to try them all since I had to pace myself for the meal to come, but the walnut and herb version were perfectly chewy and airy.

A sweet bread collection

We selected the  Warm Cotechino with Umbrian Lentil Vinaigrette & Dried Fruit Mostarda ($19) to start with. Our pork sausage was cut table side, like we were in some old Parisian bistro. This lady was not our server. She basically came out of no where wheeling a buffet to our table, then proceeded to whip out a large sausage from a steaming bath and amputate it in front of us for show. 

Awesome Sausage Dissection

After laying down the ring of sausage on the bed of lentils, she spooned fruity preserves on top.

 Really, that was for us! 

The end result was a perfect combination of sweet and savory, meaty and fruity. I liked the added nuttiness of the lentils with the preserves and pork goodness. 

Final product. Yes!

The Lobster Salad Fra Diavola with Broccoli Rabe & Dried Orange ($22) had an interesting battle of sweetness from the lobster versus the spicy kick from the Fra sauce all the meanwhile a little bitterness from the greens happening. I thoroughly enjoyed all the action.

 Spicy + Bitter + Sweet

We choose the Tris ($27)  for our next course, giving us each three tastes of pasta, because a gal can't have just one huge bowl of pasta for dinner.

Our pasta tasting commenced with the Pumpkin Cappellacci with Almond Milk, Black Truffles & Dried Sage. It was truly a beautiful concoction of deep, rich flavors, but not overly heavy. This was my favorite pasta of the night.

Beautiful fresh pumpkin inside!

The next were the hand held pasta:  Agnolotti  dal Plin with Parmigiano-Reggiano. The pastas arrived bowl-less, wrapped in a flower shaped napkin and some wet warm clothes to wipe our fingers.  Our server explained the finger shaped pastas were to be dipped straight into the bowl of cheese and eaten.

Minjung and I looked at each other, eyebrows raised.

Being told to eat with our hands at a fine dining restaurant?

Awesome. We dove right in to our dumpling bundle.
 Check out that tablescape, Sandra Lee

The pastas were stuffed with minced veal and had a toothy bite to it while the meat inside was smooth.

Not to be confused with the uncontrasting napkin

And the last bite was Garganelli Verdi al Ragù Bolognese. The tender green pasta made with spinach melted in my mouth with a perfect coating of Mario Batali's famous ragu in every bite. This pasta was straightforward and comforting, yet still very luxurious.

My 3 G network: Green Goddess Garganelli

For our Secondi we shared the Cacciucco with Scallop Carpaccio & Garlic Bread Soup ($32). This dish also warranted another table side performance. A bowl of seafood playmates arrived, then a rich tomato sauce was poured over, topped with several dollops of garlic bread soup. The shrimp, scallop and craw fish were all perfectly cooked, keeping their fresh bounce of the sea.


And too stuffed for deserts they brought us a tray of cookies which we took a few nibbles of then boxed to go. I ate them for breakfast the next morning :)

 Complimentary Cookies

The wait staffs bid us farewell with a box of truffles to take home!

Afterward, Minjung and I met Panos at a lower east side bar where I had the honor of buying Minjung her first ever can of Pabst Blue Ribbon. She downed it like a champ! Hopefully it will be much less than 11 years until the next time we see each other :)

We heart Cupertino, CA!

Del Posto


Diana said...

Don't cry tears about not getting into Babbo - the big O is actually really similiar! I think you and I will need to go back for some lamb pasta. I finally had it on Friday night and it was very TALF-friendly. You will LOVE.

weezermonkey said...

How fun to reunite with an old friend and discover that she loves food, too! I adore this story!

Food looks fabulous and worthy of your rekindled friendship. :)

LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! said...

omg what an amazing meal! i will have to check this place out on my next (hopefully soon) NY visit!

Banana Wonder said...

Diana - Ah, good to know about Babbo. I'm glad they didn't run out of the lamb pasta on your last go round :)

Weezermonkey - Hah, I don't think I could be friends with anyone that didn't like to eat ;)

Let Me Eat Cake - Next visit to NY?! You just got back from the 'Couv, can't wait to hear about that trip ;)