Two reviews this week people. Elana’s birthday celebration continues… this time, we loop in Mom and Dad who want to treat Elana for dinner. Luckily, I get to come as well.
The day starts off a little shaky for me. I’m still feeling the effects from Friday night’s festivities at Luzzo’s and Whisky Town. And it’s Sunday. In addition, it’s late in the 4th quarter and the Jets are getting worked by the Lions (the Lions!). On top of that, I’m receiving frequent phone calls from my parents – “We’re near the statue of liberty and should be there soon, are you ready?” “Where are you?” “What is all that noise?” “You’re at the bar!?”
Loving Italian parents will always treat you like you are 5. The flip side of that coin? They are treating for tonight’s dinner at Del Posto. Oh, and somehow, Rex, Sanchize and the rest of gang pulled out a miracle in the motor city. Things are looking good!
Pops picks us up in Hoboken and drives us to the spot. Del Posto sets a heck of a first impression. The doors are opened for us, coats are taken, “welcome signor”; the works. The interior is impressive. A marbled tile center floor with rich wood floors and panels to the side; soaring ceilings; grand staircases and pianos; the waiters all in jacket and tie. But any appearance of hoity toity-ness is quickly dismissed by the warmth of the staff. Very friendly and accommodating. The way it should be.
The family decides to go for a tasting option which works like this: Each person gets to pick their own Antipasti and Secondi, and we can order two different Primi’s for the four us.
Before our orders, however, Del Posto starts you off with some great “snacks” to get things goin’ – extremely thin polenta wafers with salmon spread and fried prosciutto and escarole balls. Two completely different, yet, wonderful treats. These don’t last long with this crew. The snacks are accompanied by various assortments of breads, with some sweet butter and lardo to smother on should you so choose. Both are quite rich (particularly the lardo) moist, and perfectly salted; just a healthy hint. (See top picture for details).
The Antipasti sets the bar even higher. Elana orders the Roasted Autumn vegetables with Robiola Sformato & Truffled Hazelnuts. Generously, the birthday girl allows me to sample this. I’m glad i do. It is absolutely wonderful. The truffles and the vegetables form a perfect marriage. Neither takes over but, together, they are unstoppable. My Antipasti, the Vongole Marinate with Fried Roman Artichokes & Minted Farro Dressing, is similarly excellent. The ‘choke is flaky and delivers a great salty and natural taste. But even combined with the clams, it never gets too salty. Again, simply magnificent.
The two Primi’s agreed upon: the Pumpkin Cappellacci with Brown Butter and the Spaghetti with Dungeness Crab, Sliced Jalapeno & Minced Scallion. (Side Note – Dad loved saying “Dungeness Crab” over and over. Not sure why). The Cappellacci was superb. Thin, homemade pasta, injected with pumpkin and sweet potato, served in dried sage and brown butter. Do I really need to say any more? I didn’t think so. The Spaghetti, while perhaps a bit more predictable in its taste, is very well made. The tomatoes and crab made a nice contrast vs. the sweetness (literally and figuratively) of the Cappellacci.
For my Secondi, I order Slow Baked Lamb alla Puttanesca & Garlic Tatsoi. And the fact that the lamb was slow baked shows – easily the most tender and delicious lamb I’ve ever had. The spinach, tomatoes, and garlic load this dish with punch. Elana gets the Seared Duck Breast, Apician Spices, Savor alla Francescana & Lovage – probably the dish of the night/week/month/year. It is slightly salty, yet creamy and fatty (thanks to the foie gras). It took all the reserve I had not to high five my sister after eating this. What an absolute treat.
Dessert is also tremendous.
And, ah yes… the bathrooms. I found the bathrooms to be great here. Granite counter tops, triangular folded toilet paper, and wonderful smelling soaps. I could have had a cocktail party in here. I mean any time you get your own private bathroom, it’s a special thing. You don’t have to make eye contact with strangers or be on your best behavior. No, sir. Instead, feel free to take that extra glance in the mirror or contemplate the necessity of that pesky, 2nd button from the top. The world is your oyster. And, hey, look at the sign! It’s like they knew I was coming in there.
A note about the service: it is perfect. In addition to being extremely courteous and helpful, they are very knowledgeable. Each dish comes with a small explanation. Wine orders can be made perfect through the advice of their sommelier. But there is no arrogance here. It’s a pleasurable experience.
So, when all is said and done – Del Posto delivers. Expensive, yes. But once in a while, you deserve to spoil yourself. And this is the place for it.
Movie Equivalent – The Dark Knight