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Batali vs. Conant

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In the past two weeks, I dined at Del Posto Enoteca and l'Impero.

First up, DP Enoteca: A meal that was still pricey without being ridculous and one that felt special despite not being in the main dining room.

Began with a raw tuna appetizer. It's been two weeks and I can't recall the dish 100%. However, I still remember a raw tuna app at Jean Georges from 8 months ago. DP's was really tasty at the time, but it won't stay with you. The pastas were the highlight. In particular, we had a zucchini blossom raviolini at the waiter's suggestion. All else paled. This dish was better than anything I've ever eaten at Babbo and perhaps the best pasta dish I've had in NYC. My wife and I fork jousted over the last few bites. She won. I think her eyes rolled so far back in her head they were floating in the Hudson. The other pasta was a Bucatini all' Amatriciana. My personal fave and extremely well executed here. Main entree was a cod in salsa verde. Blech. really mediocre. For dessert we shared a baba au rhum. Loved it. Could have had three. Would definitely go back and order 2 apps, 2- 3 pastas and 1 dessert. The mains on the tables next to ours didn't look so hot either.

We went to L'impero this past Friday to celebrate our anniversary. I had been once before and I have been trying to convince my wife on the need for a repeat visit. she finally gave in.

Not sure if it was b/c of of Labor Day weekend, but the scene was almost too mellow. Also, srvice was not nearly as knowledgeable or professional as Del Posto's. We each ordered the four-course prix fixe. I had the signature yellowtail susci, which is really unbelievable (edge goes to conant in this category). And my wife had the tuna (also easily forgettable. good, not great). For pastas, we had the spaghetti and the fontina raviolini. Both fantastic and both give mario a run for his money. However the entrees were also mediocre. Why is that places with great pasta always seem to drop the ball on entrees? I had soft shell crab and she had sirloin and short ribs. Dessert was decent, but not fancy restaurant good. Somehow, it felt more a year and a half ago. Seems to have gone slightly downhill.

Overall, I would give the edge to DP Enoteca. Anyone else agree?

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