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Del Posto Last Night- A bit of a disappointment

So last night I took my family out for my mother's 50th birthday. The place is absolutely beautiful, great atmosphere, unbelievable service. There is no doubt about it. It definitely is a great place visually to celebrate a special occasion. We sat on the second floor balcony overlooking the main floor dining room and it was beautiful.

However, I left kind of feeling jipped. The place is seriously overpiced for the amount of food you get. Our waiter was a very nice old man, but he made all of the dishes sound so delicious and elaborate. The way he was talking we were expecting the best meal of our lives. Obviously, this is his job but you feel a bit I dont know- deceived?

Well onto the food. The bread basket was great-lardo was incredible. My mother wanted a cosmo but they said "We don't carry things like that". Whatever that means. Instead she got something else but I didn't care for that answer. To start we shared 2 pastas- the gnudi and spaghetti with crab. Both were great, especially the gnudi. The spaghetti had a real kick to it and left my lips tingling for a good 10 mins afterwards. Overall very very good. Just enough to wet our palates and get a nice taste for an appetizer.

Then the mains. My mother got the pork loin and sister got the seared halibut. When asking our waiter how each were prepared he went into this whole 5 minute schpiel on how they were prepared and all of the "sides" that were included. Made it sound like a nice amount of food. Well, the food comes and my mom gets a 4 ounce piece of pork loin (tasty but paltry portion) and like 4 pieces of sauerkratu and a few vegetables. My sisters halibut was like 3 ounces and she had no joke 2 pea pods and some other little vegetable ball the size of a thumbnail.

My father and I split the beef tenderloin for 2 ($135). It was sliced into two portions for us to split. This was actually a decent size piece of meat but still not large enough for a steak eater like me. I'd say the piece was about 12-14 ounces. I go to steakhouses around the city and spend almost half that for twice as much meat. It came with 4 little potato crisps and some lettuce garnish. Once again pretty paltry. Although the meat was cooked to a nice red rare to medium rare for the price I felt seriously jipped.

Dessert- Another sort of let down. They were pretty good but once again like everything else-SMALL. We got the stone crostata for two, chocolate ricotta tortino, and 4 tastes of gelati. The gelati were the best however when split between the four of us its like a teaspoon each. Then they pass around those petit fours which were good.

Bill came to $450. My mother said she really enjoyed the meal and it was an unforgettable experience. At the end of the meal we all felt pretty full. But still for these prices I really think Del Posto needs to make their portions a little more substantial. Would it be so hard to throw some more vegetables and sides on the plate?

Is it a place to experience? I'd say yes. The atmospheres incredible and the food is very good. However, its just a jewelry store and the value just isn't there. Babbo blows this place out of the water. I have no idea how it got 2 Michelin stars while Babbo got one.

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  1. >>The place is seriously overpiced for the amount of food you get
    >> But still for these prices I really think Del Posto needs to make their portions a little more substantial

    Hi steakrules,

    I know I must sound like an axx for saying this, but this was exactly what I think you would end up feeling at Del Posto as mentioned in my previous posts.

    At least your mom enjoyed the meal, and that's important.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kobetobiko

      Yeah I know and thanks for your advice. It was a very good meal and great experience though. My mom had a great time.

      For my dad's we will be going to Craft where I know the portions are quite large.

    2. "We don't carry things like that"? Yuck. Did you follow it up with, "really, you don't carry vodka, cointreau, lime juice and cranberry juice?" :)

      I love Babbo, Lupa, Otto, Esca but the more I hear about Del Posto, the more I never want to go. Ick.

      1. As always, eat at the Enoteca, fewer options but a great value.
        I like the place but will not dine in the Main Room for your stated reasons.
        Glad your mother enjoyed it though, at the least.
        I am a big eater, well, not as huge as I used to be but not a grazer like so many.
        $135 bux for a piece of beef? Might as well go to Tokyo.

        http://foodonlymatters.wordpress.com/

        1. You left full but you're complaining about portion sizes? Almost all fine dining establishments will have small portion/plate sizes. If you're going for value, don't bother ever going to any 4 star restaurant like Per Se or Jean-George or Le Bernadin.

          Del Posto is Batali/Bastianich's attempt at creating a fine dining restaurant with an Italian take. The menu approach is going straight for the highest quality. He believes he can make Del Posto the first 4 star Italian restaurant in NYC. Babbo is his take on rustic country Italian.

          4 Replies
          1. re: attractivekid

            Yeah I was full because I just kept popping bread in my mouth and overordered for dessert. Dont get me wrong were not huge eaters and I don't want to be sick to my stomach when I go out to eat. But I will honestly say I wasn't fully satisfied for the price I paid.

            1. re: steakrules85

              oh, and about your mom's desire to order a Cosmo

              "The last thing I want is the lemmings in their Chanel miniskirts waiting three deep at the bar to have a cosmopolitan."

              Mario Batali on Del Posto

              1. re: attractivekid

                Well my mom isn't a "lemming in a Chanel miniskirt". Batali should be the last to pass judgement on people. The guy wears shorts and clogs all year round for Christ sakes.

              2. re: steakrules85

                As I've said in a previous post about our dining experience at Del Posto in the main dining room, four of us had the grain tasting menu. Yes it was tasty, but the portions were paltry. Now I'm not one that likes HUGE portions either. But for four of us, we dropped over $1,300 including the paired wines and tip, I left there still hungry. We ended up at some pub after for drinks and I had to order a plate of chicken fingers to satisfy my hunger. I'll stick to Babbo.

            2. The portion sizes you describe sound pretty standard for fine dining. I haven't been to the main room at Del Posto, but I do enjoy the enoteca.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Lucia

                We enjoyed the enoteca as well, and would go back to eat there again.

                As for not being able or refusing to make a cosmo for a customer, that is pretty ridiculous.

                1. re: MagnumWino

                  they'll only make certain drinks for you at Del Posto

                  they don't even have cranberry juice, actually they don't have any juices at the bar.

                  1. re: attractivekid

                    Just to update this. I was wrong. The actually drink they said she could not get was a southern comfort. Either way still ridiculous and no need to be so snooty saying 'We carry and make things like that" or whatever he said.

                    1. re: steakrules85

                      For what it's worth, Southern Comfort is a specific brand of whiskey mixed with aromatics, not a mixed drink. They probably don't have Southern Comfort (SoCo), but there's no reason for a waiter to be snooty. They could have easily offered any number of whiskey cocktails, like an Old Fashioned made with their very nice vermouth.

                      1. re: steakrules85

                        Southern Comfort isn't a drink, it's a nasty brand of whiskey that tastes like cherries or something and shouldn't be served anywhere, much less a "nice" restaurant. I don't think saying that they didn't carry something like that is at all out of place.

                2. I took my partner and his best friend last october for his birthday. we all left disappointed. the decor was dramatic and shiny, but the details are not maintained. the food had a few highlights, but overall just average in a town with many great places to eat italian food. we did have good, albeit overpriced wine. the big tables that were eating and drinking alot did seem to be having a ball. personally, i am not a big fan of expensive restaurants but enjoyed my birthday dinner at daniel 100x more overall.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: rochellefoodie

                    uh oh... I just booked a party of six at Del Posto for next weekend. I was planning to dine with some "twenty somethings" who were looking to combine beautiful/sceney atmosphere with wonderful food (in adequate amounts...lol!). I am traveling from Florida, so I'd be grateful for other suggestions based on the reviews above.

                    1. re: Debbie

                      Went to the enoteca last Sunday for my girlfriend's b-day. We had the tasting menu. Everything was excellent. The service was even more than excellent. In fact, I called the next day to compliment our waiter and busboy. Not going to remember every dish, but we had the zucchini carpaccio x 2, pasta w/ pesto, and pasta w/lamb (they made it w/ tomatoes for me...vegetarian), odd, but I don't remember the main courses. They made a vegetarian entre for me. Had a cheese plate and then dessert. A beer and a wine before dinner, a bottle w/ dinner and a dessert wine too. It was really a great time and I'd go back again. Sounds like the enoteca is preferable to the main room. And by the way, it's all the same room. The enoteca is just a corner of the room, on your left as you enter, that has been set aside. It's neither seperate nor 'Siberia' feeling.

                      1. re: Debbie

                        I am less concerned about the food or service for your case. OP felt overpriced because of the high price he paid and the relatively small portion, which I didn't completely agree on. The food was delicious and if you are going to Del Posto, you should expect to be paying more than say going to Babbo.

                        However, what I think might be an issue is your expectation of "twenty soemthings" ish "sceney" atmosphere. Del Posto is grand and upscale, but on the older type of grand scheme. It is more the "chic" type of beautiful, if you know what I mean. And it is not sceney.

                        1. re: kobetobiko

                          Del Posto is getting rid of the enotecta this year, they're replacing it with a champagne bar.

                          Batali and Bastianich believe this will help them get the fourth star from Bruni

                    2. My husband took me to Del Posto last night for my birthday dinner, and while I generally enjoyed the experience, I felt that it was not, what I would term, a "memorable meal." In general, I felt that the ambiance was gorgeous, and most of the details were well-thought out and very lovely. For the most part, the service staff was unobtrusively attentive though at the end, my husband's dessert came with a birthday candle as well as having "Happy Birthday" written on the plate with chocolate. Oops.

                      The breads with the butter and lardo were fabulous, and I could have made a meal of them. We chose the tasting menu, and although we had ordered wine, our first course arrived before the wine, which was unusual, different and a fine recommendation from the sommelier.

                      My husband started with the frutta di mare, and I had the horseradish pannacotta with lobster. Nowhere on the menu did it say that it was "freddo," so I was very surprised that it was a cold dish. I guess that I was expecting the pannacotta to be sformato -- i.e. shaped, so I was also surprised to see that it was served as a kind of sauce, as if it had broken or deflated. While it was tasty, it just wasn't what I was looking for. My husband said that his frutta di mare was delicious, but nothing out of the ordinary.

                      For our pasta course, we chose the agnolotti and the orecchiete with the lamb sausage. I thought that the agnolotti was kind of a joke -- six teeny angnolotti arrived on a large plate without any garnish or anything to justify the size of the plate. While they were delicious, they looked lonely and kind of ridiculous on that huge plate. Because of the vast expanse of the plate, they also were almost cold by the time that we finished eating them. The orecchiete were also delicious, and having lamb sausage on the plate made the dish seem fuller somehow, but I still think that the plating was absurd.

                      For the main course, I had the grilled squab with "cherry blossoms" and my husband had the veal chop ala Milanese. Again, the plating seemed off. My husband's veal chop was huge, with the bone hanging off the edge of the plate and without any garnish or attempt to make the plate look enticingly special. My grilled squab was just a breast, and the cherry blossoms turned out to be a couple of bing cherries, stems on, sitting oddly on the plate with shaved pieces of asparagus. On the side was a kind of squab pate in an egg cup, which was very good. But the squab breast, while tasty, was just grilled and there was nothing special about it. It tasted like something we make at home, and not what I am looking for when I spend $36 on a entree. Again, with the veal chop, it was Milanese. I make veal milanese all the time, and it was good, but not so different than what I make. Plus, there was a substantial supplement to the prix fixe menu for the veal chop.

                      For dessert, I ordered the chocolate ricotta tortino with olive oil gelato. Our waitress had declared this her favorite dessert, so I gave it a whirl. I was very disappointed. The tortino was more savory than sweet, and I guess that I just don't get the whole concept of olive oil gelato. You taste it and go, "Oh, yeah. That tastes just like olive oil," and that's it. I tasted one bite and didn't finish it. Since I rarely order dessert in restaurants, I was very unhappy that I didn't get a nice, sweet rush at the end. Then, the server comes around with jars of cookies and other sweets and prepares a dish for the table. Most of these were tasteless.

                      We've eaten at Babbo several times , and I would take that version of a Mario Batali restaurant over Del Posto any day of the week. I guess that I feel that this food lacked authenticity and passion without being terribly refined, and while I felt that the space was fabulous, it seemed like an expense account joint rather than a restaurant that I would like to visit again and again. Next time, we're going back to Babbo!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: roxlet

                        Hey roxlet I share a lot of your scentiments. Babbo was a much better experience for me as well. Although Del Posto is a very nice restaurant it does not compare.

                        1. re: steakrules85

                          Yes, we're definitely thinking alike on this one. I took my husband and some friends to Grayz for his birthday celebration in November. The food, also a tasting menu, was unbelievable, and I wished that was where we had gone!

                      2. Visting New York and went to Del Posto for a second time. I've enjoyed Babbo once and Osteria Mozza three times. And I have to say, I now prefer Mozza and based on that one experience - Babbo.

                        Our table all had the "Grand" tasting menu. And nothing was bad mind you, and it was creative, it just didn't tickle that satisfying part of my culinary monkeybone as much as the other places have. For instance, there was a risotto with truffles. You can't go wrong with that, but I never tasted any truffles, more of a strong hit of parmesan. I can think of at least four places in Italy where it was terrific. This was merely okay. (lowest point of the meal). Service was professional, but I noticed the table next to me had the less grand tasting menu - and it looked more interesting and more generous. For $175 per, I think Melisse in Los Angeles is easily the better of the two - simply more satisfying (as in deliciousness, crave-ability, stick-in-your-head memory) - and 10 course instead of seven. More food, equally creative, better plated, plus tastier, plus more courses - at the same price?

                        I would try it again, but the smaller menu. But won't try it unless someone else is dying to go. Damn, I was really looking forward to this. Maybe my expectation were too high?

                        I ate there about a year ago - in the bar. Some kind of tasting menu - and enjoyed that more.