Tag Archives: Del Posto

I’ve devoured Time Out’s 100 Best dishes and now, once again, I’ve been inspired to create my own list. These are the 100 dishes I have continued to think about since tasting them at some point in 2011. Look for another five dishes every few days.

5. SPEKULOOS ICE CREAM at WAFELS & DINGES

Wow! Thomas DeGeest and his trusty waffle crew can do no wrong it seems. Last year I gushed over the amazing spekuloos spread, which is made from spiced Belgian Christmas cookies (sort of a gingerbread meets a graham cracker) and is a must have as a topping to one of their dense, sweet liege waffles.

Then, this year they hit home runs with not one, but two amazing ice cream flavors. You can find their Belgian Madness further up on my list, but when I tasted the ice cream version of spekuloos, I knew it would be in my Top Ten. The ice cream is spicy and toasty with the perfect amount of sweetness. It works on a summer day or a winter day. And if you top it on a waffle with a drizzle of chocolate sauce, you will no doubt understand my high praise for this friendly yellow truck. Price: $3

WAFELS & DINGES
Multiple Truck and Cart Locations,
Follow on Twitter: @waffletruck
(866) 429-7329
wafelsanddinges.com

4. SLOW BAKED LAMB LEG at HOSPODA

SADLY, HOSPODA IS NOW CLOSED.

When the waitress brought us an amuse bouche of foamy, creamy Pilsner Urquell even before we ordered our food, I knew we were in for a really special meal at the newly opened Hospoda. But it wasn’t until I began tasting their inventive, refined takes on Eastern European dishes that I fully understood just how special.

We came to try the smoked beef tongue (at Time Out’s recommendation), but it was their slow baked lamb leg that left a lasting impression. The meat is served two ways: roasted pink slices and braised shreds. Both reminded me of my grandmother’s house, even though my grandmother could never cook anything as tender and delicious as this (sorry, Grandma!) It was served with a sweet carrot purée, tender roasted carrots, slivers of brussels sprout leafs, and a beautiful bright thyme glacé that brought the stew-like meat to life. Amazing! Price: Part of a $32 tasting menu

HOSPODA
321 East 73rd Street (between Second Avenue and First Avenue),
Upper East Side
(212) 861-1038
hospodanyc.com

3. BA SI at FU RUN

This may just be the most unusual dessert I’ve ever had. I first heard about it when I opened up Time Out’s most recent 100 Best issue. There was nothing in the description that really made me want to rush out and try it. And even after having a wonderful meal at Fu Run in Flushing, I still only ordered dessert because it was on the list. And now I’m sadly imagining that if I didn’t order it then, I may never have tried this wonder.

The way Ba Si (or “pulling thread”) works is like this: you get a plate of caramelized fried starch chunks (taro, apple, and sweet potato) and a bowl of water. Then you pull up a bit with your chopstick (leaving sugary threads behind), dunk it in the water where the sugars cool and begin to solidify forming a creme brulée-like crust. Then you pop it in your mouth and enjoy the textures, temperature contrasts, and sweet deliciousness. This is by far the best dessert I’ve ever had from a Chinese restaurant and it makes me never want to question Time Out again. Price: $12

FU RUN
40-09 Prince Street (at Roosevelt Avenue)
Flushing, Queens
(718) 321-1363

2. YESTERDAY’S 100 LAYER LASAGNA at DEL POSTO

Del Posto received four stars in the NY Times this year, which was quite a surprise. When one of their dishes (a fancy chocolate lollipop) found its way on Time Out’s list, I thought there was no way I’d be able to taste it. Not only because the restaurant is mightily expensive, but because the four stars ensured a very difficult time getting a reservation. Well, we found ourselves at Del Posto on a whim during a snow storm and had no problem getting a table for lunch. We also learned why it deserved all four of those stars.

The highlight for me was not that after dinner bite of chocolate, but instead the lasagna I had been waiting all winter to taste (I just didn’t know it). I didn’t quite understand what a 100 layer lasagna would look like, but it made sense when I saw the slices of 50 (I didn’t count) perfectly thin and browned pasta sheets layered between 50 spoonfuls of the most decadent old school pasta meat sauce (combo of marinara, bechamel, and bolognese) resting atop a bright red dollop of tomato sauce. It had all the rich, cheesy, meaty flavors along with the charred and soft textures of a perfect lasagna while retaining the elegant refined presentation you’d expect at a place of Del Posto’s reputation. It was awe inspiring. And four star worthy! Available as Part of Prix Fixe

DEL POSTO
85 Tenth Avenue (between 15th and 16th Street)
Meatpacking District
(212) 497-8090
delposto.com

1. BURNT ENDS at JOHN BROWN SMOKEHOUSE

My favorite dish of the year? Amazingly, it was a modest few bites at a brand new, off-the-beaten path barbecue joint. I was shocked myself when pitmaster Josh Bowen handed me a free sample of his prized burnt ends. This Kansas City specialty is rather hard to find in this city and now that Josh has perfected them, I can’t imagine anybody else doing them justice.

John Brown Smokehouse is on a quiet residential street on the outskirts of Astoria with a casual setting and wonderful smoke aromas (the good kind) emerging from the storefront. There’s a wide variety of options on the menu (including some damn tasty side orders), but once I got a bite of the fatty, smoky, melt-a-rific burnt ends, I really desired nothing else. The large chunks of charred, smoky meat are marbled with soft, tender fat and the strong BBQ flavor comes from Josh’s expert dry rub of salt, pepper, brown sugar, paprika, and allspice. He sells them as a sandwich or by the pound. Keep the bread and the sauce, just give me some more of that fantastic meat. This is now my new favorite BBQ haunt in town. Price: $10.50 (sandwich), $13.50 (platter), $20 (per pound)

JOHN BROWN SMOKEHOUSE
25-08 37th Avenue (between 27th Street and Crescent Street),
Long Island City, Queens
(718) 361-0085
johnbrownsmokehouse.org

I’ve devoured Time Out’s 100 Best dishes and now, once again, I’ve been inspired to create my own list. These are the 100 dishes I have continued to think about since tasting them at some point in 2011. Look for another five dishes every few days. These are in no particular order. 

NUMBER 55: BUTTERNUT SQUASH MACARON at DESSERTTRUCK WORKS

Every single dessert from the brick and mortar location of Jerome Chang’s DessertTruck Works was heavenly. Time Out brought us here to sample their Honey Rosemary Ice Cream and we went a little ballistic – ordering just about everything on the menu. Including a very unique little bite: a butternut squash macaron.

French-style macarons seem to be everywhere of late, but I’ve never discovered a flavor quite this special. Sweet potato or pumpkin are one thing, but butternut squash are usually saved for soups, right? Well, the dessert masters here manage to balance the rich, earthiness of the squash with maple caramel and make it delicate, refined, and unbelievably delicious. And that was just one of their desserts. Price: $2

DESSERTTRUCK WORKS
6 Clinton Street (between Avenue B and Houston Street)
Lower East Side
(212) 228-0701
dt-works.net

NUMBER 54: SFERA DI CAPRINO at DEL POSTO

If I hadn’t called this dessert by it’s proper Italian name, many people may have stopped reading. This is in fact a vegetable dessert. And the veggie used is not as obviously sweet as butternut squash or sweet potatoes. This is a dessert made with celery. Can’t even imagine it, can you? I had celery in a fruit salad a few years ago at an Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side and enjoyed the light earthiness it brought to the other fruit’s sweetness. But with this dessert at Del Posto, the celery is the main attraction.

The words actually translates to “spheres of goat cheese”. Pastry chef Brooks Headley starts with little balls of creamy goat cheesecake and dips them in salted olive oil bread crumbs. They’re accompanied by a thick sweet and sour fig agrodolce and two celery components: light, vegetal celery sorbet and a shredded celery salad garnish. All these flavor come together to make a light, refreshing, sweet finish to a rich, decadent Italian meal. And it makes me a celery dessert believer. Price: $14

DEL POSTO
85 Tenth Avenue (between 15th and 16th Street)
Meatpacking District
(212) 497-8090
delposto.com

NUMBER 53: ZUCCHINI PANCAKE at JAY & LLOYD’S

We all know potato pancakes. They’re a staple of Jewish deli food and a good one could have easily fit into this category as well. But the fact that Jay & Lloyd’s, which is an old-school deli in the far reaches of Brooklyn, is taking those classic Jewish dishes and playing around a bit, makes the trip on the Q train that much more worth it.

You can see specks of the green vegetable dispersed throughout the fried potato patty. The addition of zucchini gives the pancake a more vegetal flavor with a hint of sweetness and an extra textural crispness. The brown exterior is perfectly fried giving way to a moist, earthy treat. I love when restaurants re-invent the classics. It’s a subtle little change, but it makes a world of difference. Price: $4.95 (for 3)

JAY AND LLOYD’S KOSHER DELI
2718 Avenue U (between East 27th and East 28th Street)
Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn
(718) 891-5298

NUMBER 52: THREE DIFFERENT EGGPLANTS at ST. ANSELM

I had some grief when I discovered St. Anselm changed their entire concept this year. They originally were serving artery clogging New Jersey specialities like disco fries (featured on Time Out’s 2010 list) and Trenton pork rolls. But after closing for a few months to obtain their liquor license, they re-opened with a brand new concept: grilled food. That meant no more fryer and no list item for me.

But after having a phenomenal meal there, I was so happy they made the change. I could have probably included any of the dishes on this list, but the one that really blew me away was the appetizer of three different eggplants. I didn’t even know there were three different types of eggplant. St. Anselm seasons and chars Japanese, Thai, and Italian varieties which gave some different levels of texture and sweetness. The smokiness of the aubergines paired beautifully with a block of fried goat cheese (wait, I thought they didn’t have a fryer!) and a sweet, tangy pool of caramelized onions. Amazing that perfectly cooked vegetables don’t make me miss fries or pork! Price: $7

ST. ANSELM
355 Metropolitan Avenue (between 4th Street and Havemeyer Street)
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
(718) 384-5054

NUMBER 51: MARKET PLATE at WESTVILLE

Westville is such a refreshing little spot. This is affordable food that’s real and hearty and delicious. Sure, they serve hot dogs and hamburgers, but the best thing to order here is a mixed plate of their market vegetables. Every day offers a new list of almost 20 different local, seasonal vegetables prepared simply. Not much is done to these veggies and that goes a long way.

Some of the veggies are just grilled, others are roasted, some are seasoned with garlic and parmesan cheese, others with ginger and sesame. Whatever they do, they bring out the flavor of the produce without sacrificing flavor. You get to pick any four on the market plate. Try the sauteed kale with shallots or the artichoke hearts with parmesan. It’s hard to find a plate this pure, simple, and affordable.

WESTVILLE
210 West 10th Street (between Bleecker and West 4th Street)
West Village
(212) 741-797
1173 Avenue A (at 11th Street)
East Village
(212) 677-2933
246 West 18th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenue)
Chelsea
(212) 924-2223
westvillenyc.com

I’ve devoured Time Out’s 100 Best dishes and now, once again, I’ve been inspired to create my own list. These are the 100 dishes I have continued to think about since tasting them at some point in 2011. Look for another five dishes every few days. These are in no particular order. 

NUMBER 65: BLACK TRUFFLE AND SEA SALT CHOCOLATE from MAST BROTHERS

The black truffles in the chocolate bars from Mast Brothers, which is a bean-to-bar chocolatier based in Williamsburg, are not the French candy variety. Rather these are real black truffles. The kind you may get with your fancy pasta. Mushrooms. That’s right. This is mushroom chocolate.

And it is incredible. The black truffles give this chocolate a deep, rich earthy flavor that plays in to the bittersweet frutiness of the dark chocolate. The salt rounds it out and not only works on the sweet salty front, but also plays up the sea and earth flavors. This seasonal bar is available at the storefront in Brooklyn and many grocers around the city. Unless you have a mushroom or chocolate allergy (God forbid), you must give this a taste. Price Varies

MAST BROTHERS
105A North 3rd Street (between Wythe Avenue and berry Street)
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
(718) 388-2625
mastbrothers.com

NUMBER 64: ROBIOLA WITH EGGPLANT CROSTATA at DEL POSTO

Hopefully I already convinced you on the wonders of chocolate and mushrooms. But chocolate and eggplant? And cheese? This might be the wackiest savory sweet combination of all. Yet it’s one of the most delicious.

This was served to us as a cheese course during a spectacular lunch this year at Del Posto. The expertly fried fritter was stuffed with tender eggplant, served with sweet, melty robiola cheese and drizzled with just the right amount of rich, decadent dark chocolate. This was heavenly. The flavors worked so well together. The eggplant contributed sweet, soft textures and if I hadn’t known any better, I might have mistaken it for banana. Oh, now you’re on board!?!

DEL POSTO
85 Tenth Avenue (between 15th and 16th Street)
Meatpacking District
(212) 497-8090
delposto.com

NUMBER 63: COLD SMOKED CORN SOUP at DO OR DINE

Even if I didn’t know the owners of Do or Dine, it would have been high on my destination list. Justin, George, and Luke were friends of mine from when we worked at The Modern together. They have wacky ideas and fun personalities with an eye for flavor and hospitality. And the fact that none of them are trained chefs was not a reason to deter them from creating some of the most exciting and creative food I’ve tasted the entire year.

We didn’t try the now infamous Foie Gras Doughnut (it will be ordered on a future visit), but I fell in love with their seasonal soup that is now sadly no longer on the menu. What a crazy concoction that delighted my tastebuds and played with my mind! A roasted corn and chipotle puree took care of the sweet and spicy balance. But then more layers were added with sweet honeydew cubes and surprisingly subtle Crunch and Munch (the poor man’s Cracker Jacks) croutons. The soup is smoked with a hand smoker and the hickory aromas are released at the presentation, making this a full-sensory experience. And I’m not just being biased, believe me.

DO OR DINE
1108 Bedford Avenue (between Gates and Lexington Avenue)
Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
(718) 684-2290

NUMBER 62: BACON POPCORN at SALT & FAT

To some it might not seem so strange, but I can assure you to all naysayers that bacon popcorn is delicious. Especially the way they serve it at Salt & Fat, a newish neighborhood spot in Sunnyside, Queens with Korean and Southern influences. I loved the entire meal at my recent visit, but the one thing I couldn’t get out of my head was the complimentary bag of bacon popcorn.

The popcorn is popped in bacon fat, which could make for a very greasy and heavy flavor. But these are surprisingly light and addicting. The bacon flavors are fully present, but not overpowering. It adds smoky, umami notes to the already buttery and salty popcorn. This bag disappeared in a matter of minutes and it was to my delight (and detriment) that the server was only too willing to bring us a re-fill. It’s a perfect way to open up a meal of salt and fat (which is much more pleasant and refined than it sounds). Price: Complimentary with Meal

SALT & FAT
41-16 Queens Boulevard (between 41st and 42nd Street)
Sunnyside, Queens
(718) 433-3702
saltandfatny.com

NUMBER 61: KATZ’S PASTRAMI EGG ROLL at REDFARM

Chinese and Jewish culture have been intertwined since the early days of the Lower East Side. And there are still some great Cantonese restaurants down there serving up egg rolls and the like. And of course, so is Katz’s Deli, which makes some of, if not the, best pastrami in the entire city. So you’d think it would be a natural fit to combine the two flavors. Yet nobody in this city has tried something as outlandish (and obvious) as the egg roll at the new high end Chinese gastropub RedFarm.

This classic Chinese American appetizer is given the kosher treatment with the addition of some generous slices of Katz’s tender, smoky pastrami. Along with the meat, Chef Joe Ng fills the fried egg roll with cabbage and hot chilis. A tangy honey mustard sauce on the side cuts all that delectable fat. They make for a great starter to a consistently creative and delicious meal at RedFarm. Price: $7

REDFARM
529 Hudson Street (between 10th Street and Charles Street)
West Village
(212) 792-9700
redfarmnyc.com

Once again Time Out New York released their Top 100 Dishes of the year and once again, I’m going to eat my way through every one. And no price point or subway delay will stop me. In no particular order, here’s my take on their Top 100.

Four stars in the New York Times is a really big deal. There are only seven restaurants in the entire city that have this distinction and the most recent is a controversial one: Del Posto. It’s the first Italian restaurant to receive this many stars since the 1970’s and many people claim that the Mario Batali/Lidia Bastianich palace is not in the same league as other four-star restaurants like Le Bernadin and Daniel and that the review was released suspiciously close to the opening day of Batali’s mega-grocery Eataly.

Even though Italian is not my favorite cuisine (especially when spending oodles of money), I always wanted to dine at Del Posto, but never had the money lying around to make it happen. So when Time Out’s list was released and one of the complimentary petit fours was listed, I realized this would be the year I scrapped together the cash and made it happen. Only problem was: now that they have four stars in the NY Times, how would I possibly score a reservation?

Well, this is where my resourcefulness really comes into play. First, I decided that dining here at lunch would be quite a bit cheaper and probably easier to snag a table. Upon checking Open Table, it looks like lunch reservations are rather hard to come by as well. Except, this winter bombarded us with snow and on a very snowy, miserable Wednesday afternoon, I gave Del Posto a call and found out we could get a table for two just about any time of the afternoon.

Turns out I’m really good at getting these list items. Wish I could make money doing it somehow. Time Out, are you hiring to review your reviews, by any chance?

I was amazed to see the gaudy, old fashioned dining room rather vacant. We arrived at 1:30 and we joined only about four other tables. So in some ways we had the restaurant to ourselves. The dish we had to taste, the chocolate and olive oil bastoncino, was included at the end of the tasting menus. My wallet told me to take advantage of the amazing $29 three course lunch deal, but I felt like since I’m here at Del Posto and I had my credit card in hand, I had to listen to my heart and order the $75 six course menu tradizionale (the dinner version comes with one more course and costs an extra $50).

And it was pretty spectacular. After some forgettable amuse bouches and bread with lardo (pig fat), our first course came out: a platter of a few select antipasto, including a creative take on a caesar salad with escarole and a doughy crust wrapper in some prosciutto di parma. The meal continued to build as the next course was a succulent and moist olive-oil poached tuna belly with a luscious side of buffalo mozzarella and out-of-this world sweet dehydrated tomatoes.

The server then brought us a complimentary pasta dish. I’m not sure if this was because it was quiet in the restaurant, because I had asked about some of the a la carte dishes, or if they could sense my food blog credentials. But regardless, this was just one of the extra ways that the staff used to treat us like kings. It was really a special meal.

Anyway, the pasta dish was the Whole Wheat Tonnarelli with Spicy Cicerchie (chickpeas), Fried Rosemary, and Shaved Bonito. The bonito (dried smoked mackerel) threw me off since I relate it to Japanese cuisine, but it worked perfectly well here in terms of flavor. I did find the mix of all the textures to be a little dry. Whole wheat pasta and chickpeas both tend to have a mealy quality and I wanted something to off-set that a bit. I appreciated the dish and the pasta was perfectly cooked, but the combination of textures and flavors was not my thing.

From there on out, there was not a misstep in the meal. The last two courses consisted of some signature dishes and ones I was dying to taste. Yesterday’s 100 Layer Lasagna was the lasagna I had been craving all winter long. I didn’t quite understand what this would look like, but it made sense when I saw the slice of 50 (I didn’t count) perfectly thin and browned pasta sheets layered between 50 spoonfuls of the most decadent old school pasta meat sauce (combo of marinara, bechamel, and bolognese) resting atop a bright red dollop of tomato sauce. It had all the rich, cheesy, meaty flavors along with the charred and soft textures of a perfect lasagna while retaining the elegant refined presentation you’d expect at a place of Del Posto’s reputation. It was awe inspiring.

The savory dishes ended with a bang as the server sliced and portioned our veal table side. The meat had been cooked in ash and hay to a tender pink with a dark black exterior. The server walked us through all the steps as he dished it on a bed of creamy golden polenta, drizzled it with olive oil and an intense and chunky osso bucco vinaigrette. It was accompanied with an allotment of seemingly just picked fresh herbs. The flavor combinations were heavenly and the wet earthiness of the herbs transported me to a farm somewhere in rural Italy.

As if that wasn’t all delectable enough, pastry chef Brooks Headley came out and presented us with an off menu cheese course. It wasn’t just a platter of cheese with some fruit, but rather the most unusual combination of cheese, chocolate, and eggplant. The eggplant crostata (fritter) may have been my favorite dish of the meal, especially when dressed up with decadent chocolate swirls and sweet melty robiola cheese.

We received two more desserts and in many ways the sweets here are more inventive and delicious than the savories. I absolutely adored the tart and creamy Sfera di Caprino, which refers to the spheres of goat cheese that were crusted with buttery crisp breadcrumbs. But the standout for me was the addition of a refreshing and vegetal celery sorbet. The other dessert was just as strange and similarly spectacular – a warm polenta cake with sage ice cream and caramelized sweet potatoes. Three combinations of sweet and savory (all featured a vegetable) and they all hit it out of the park. Home run!

Amazingly, we still had yet to get to the Time Out list item. The dish they singled out was the Chocolate and Olive Oil Bastoncino, which is a lollipop of rich vanilla gelato wrapped in hard dark chocolate and then rolled in olive oil crisped bread crumbs. TONY accurately compares it to a Klondike bar. The only problem was that Klondike bars last a lot longer and this was just a bite. It was a delectable bite that worked perfectly well, but in some ways I think this complimentary petit fours (one of an entire box full) got overshadowed by the rest of the fantastic meal.

So do I think Del Posto earns its four stars? I have to say wholeheartedly, “Yes!” It was a phenomenal lunch that was worth every penny. And considering they offer an amazing $29 three course meal (that also includes all those complimentary petit fours), I’m praying for another bad weather day when I can walk in once again.

Would Del Posto’s Chocolate and Olive Oil Bastoncino make my Top 100? Even though it was a component of an unforgettable meal, this was not the bite I will be talking about for years to come (maybe if it had featured some vegetables). But it was still just as delectable and delicious as everything else here so it gets a 9 out of 10.

DEL POSTO
85 Tenth Avenue (between 15th and 16th Street)
Meatpacking District
(212) 497-8090
delposto.com

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