I finally got a chance to eat at Del Posto this past Sunday and I have to say, I was impressed. Although I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since this restaurant was another Bastianich-Batali collaboration and those guys (Lidia, Joe and Mario) are probably growing their restaurant empires better than anyone else these days. The dining room had an elegant old world feel to it because of the rich wood accents, but the atmosphere was still comfortable in an opulent sort of way. Little details like the fine soft textured linen tablecloth showed they took great care in setting up shop.
I of course went for the Grand Tasting to best get a sense of what the kitchen was capable of and I am soooo happy I did. Things kicked off with an amuse of dainty fried sunchoke chips atop a sunchoke puree served alongside a little glass of a wheat broth. I know wheat broth sounds gross but it was incredibly good, like a savory tea. Bread was served with both butter and a rosemary lardo. The mini focaccia was one of the best renditions of focaccia I’ve ever tasted. Or maybe it was just such a great carrier for the lardo, I admit my judgment may be clouded. I should also point out I was drinking Guy Larmandier champagne with my meal and that too was making my taste buds happy. I had never had that label before, and while it lacks the chalkiness I associate with serious champagne, it was thoroughly enjoyable with the entire meal. Probably a bit too much young fruit flavors like pear and lychee for hard core champagne snobs to dig it, but hey, I thought it was delicious.
Next course was a celery root panna cotta with fried celery and the best quality osetra caviar. The panna cotta had such a remarkably deep yet refined essence of celery to it and was a brilliant accompaniment to the dabs of caviar. Since creme fraiche is one of the classic accompaniments in a caviar service, and this panna cotta had a similar mouth feel and lightness of flavor, this dish just made a lot of sense to me. This kind of subtle cleverness of concept is something that I really appreciate in a dish. The texture contrast of the sauteed celery with the celery panna cotta was also very well conceived. I loved it.
Next up, medallions of poached lobster with a mini salad of blood orange and some type of green shoots, all atop a sauce of sea urchin. The lobster was perfectly cooked and delicious with the sea urchin sauce, but I must say, those crisp shoots were equally impressive. The waiter said they were from the chef’s own garden. Not really sure what type of shoot they were but they had good crunch to them with a fresh taste and a pleasing hint of bitterness that played perfectly with the sweetness of the blood orange. Another well conceived combo.
The soup course came next- a super intense capon broth with a generous amount of mini tortellini stuffed with pork, veal and hen. It was a small bowl, but there were a lot of tortellini in there and the broth was like the most intense chicken soup you’ve ever tasted. I wish I could buy that stuff by the quart, it was so good.
Next up was the dish I was least impressed with, but only in comparison with all the other amazing dishes I had that night. It was slices of a pork sausage that seemed to be something like a lightly cured salami, served with lentils and a champagne zabaglione. Being kind of rustic with the sausage and lentils, I thought the fancy champagne sauce, albeit delicious, was not quite a good fit. Each element of the dish had really pleasant flavors on their own, but one of these things was not like the other and it just never came together for me.
Then came the main course and what for me was the piece de resistance, the greatest dish in this superb tasting- a sliced medallion of sirloin, seared foie gras, and a “ragu of focaccia” in a sauce of marsala and black truffle. I don’t know where they get their meat, but that sirloin had the deep rich flavor of aged sirloin, but the soft delicate texture you would associate with filet mignon. So the quality of the meat alone was decadent and when paired with that heady truffled sauce, oh my god, it was insane. And I hadn’t even gotten to the foie gras yet! And that as you can imagine, was perfectly seared and as rich and indulgent as the best foie gras always is. The ragu was really basically a bunch of wonderfully crunchy croutons gaining character by the minute by gently softening in that divine truffle sauce. This was my kind of dish; one of the best dishes of all time in my opinion. Absolutely killer.
The palate cleanser came next, a lemon gelato spiked with limoncello, vodka and prosecco. I know it sounds like it should be too alcoholic to really enjoy the gelato but it was actually surprisingly well balanced. You could tell that there was booze in there, but it didn’t overwhelm the mellow lemony flavor of the gelato. Nice.
Dessert was basically a rendition of tiramisu served in a glass. But this one had a couple of tricks up its sleeve, namely good bitter chocolate and candied chestnuts. Terrific all around, but the chestnuts really made the dish. It was another subtle little accent to appreciate, and that made it a fitting end to this amazing dinner. What a meal!