The Best Kept Secret In New York (Del Posto Enoteca)

February 27, 2007 | By | COMMENTS

People, food blogs exist for a reason. A few months ago Ed Levine told you about “The Best Italian Restaurant Nobody Knows About”. He gave you the number and huge incentives to call: celebrity chef, quiet room, $41 tasting menu. So how come on Friday, when Diana offered to take me out as a belated birthday gift, I called that number and we were able to get a table at 9:30 PM on a FRIDAY night? How come when we got there the bar was almost empty and the Enoteca barely buzzing? Why aren’t the people who line up at Lupa, who clamor for reservations at Babbo, beating down the door at Del Posto?

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No, not the expensive half that I put down last year; the area by the bar. Because this, my friends, is a secret that shouldn’t be secret much longer. For $41, you get four courses of Mario Batali food in a pristine setting. Don’t believe me? Click ahead.

Look at this basket of beautiful bread–bread as good as any I’ve had in New York–served with butter and a highly unusual mini-plate of lardo:

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Check out Diana’s first course–Beef Carpaccio with Pickled Olives and Fresh Mozzarella:

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“Mmmmm,” she sang as she ate it. “This is so good.”

Check out my “Puntarella con la Salsa”:

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Puntarella is a kind of wild celery that, in this case, was beautifully dressed with a garlic/anchovy emulsion. (I suspected that the word “puntarella” might have an unsavory origin; but when I told the waiter that I thought the word might be “dirty” he gave me the weirdest look. Puntarella! Doesn’t that sound dirty?)

Look at this plate of Orecchiette with spicy pancetta and bitter greens:

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Honestly, now, that’s an enormous plate of FRESH pasta and not just fresh pasta, extraordinary pasta. This is pasta prepared by THE pasta expert of our time. Some might pay $41 for this alone!

Diana’s I liked even better. I wasn’t going to take a picture but then we switched plates halfway through and I just had to make a mental note. This is bucatini alla Amatriciana: (wonder what that means? Where’s Clint Eastwood when you need him?)

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Ok, so the meal wasn’t all rose petals and unicorns. I wasn’t entirely thrilled with this turkey osso bucco:

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It was nicely prepared but it didn’t have the unctuousness of a real osso bucco; the turkey was a bit dry inside. Though I loved the polenta.

Diana had the swordfish which was nice, if a bit boring.

The dessert though. Check out this dessert!

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That’s a chocolate tart with caramel inside and some kind of crema as a garnish. And look, gold leaf on top. That gold leaf costs $41 AT LEAST!

But it doesn’t stop there. They give you a plate of cookies:

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Are these people mad? Are they trying to lose money? Do they just love the customer so much that they want to create the most wonderful experience they can for the least amount of money?

How ironic that a restaurant I accused of charging too much for too little has an enoteca that charges too little for too much. This is an extraordinary deal and, not only that, for an extra $20 you can get a wine pairing with every course. Diana and I splurged and I took notes:

With our antipasto we had Tocai Friulano, Bastianich 2004. With our pasta we had Nero D’Avola, Firriato, 2004. With our entree we had the best: Ripasso de la Valpolicella, Zennto, 2003. And with dessert we had Moscato D’Asti, Elio Perrone, 2003.

I have several friends who are really mad I’m posting about this. They like that this secret is still a secret and they don’t want it to change. Because Ed already posted it, though, and because I’m suspicious of how much my little post will really have an impact, I’m sharing this great find with you. Go out to Del Posto, spend $41, have an exceptional meal and tell people you know and trust. When something appears too good to be true, it probably is; and in this case, that means it probably won’t last.

Categories: Manhattan, Meatpacking District, New York, Restaurant Reviews

  • http://kitchenpantry.blogspot.com/ Piperita

    Well, that looks just like the usual meal you get in a trattoria down here in Italy (and of course for something like 2/3 the price, but that’s another story).

    Off course the waiter looked at you in a weird way! “Puttanella” is something dirty (little beatch) but “Puntarella” just means little cute point thing…

    I have to say that, despite all the rest of so called Italian food I see outside Italy, all those wonderful dishes you ate looks like authentic Italian food! And I’m very pleased: you are the demonstration that a good hearthy Italian dish is loved even without all the cream and strange stuff they add outside Italy!

  • Kate

    Why was there turkey in your osso bucco? Gross.

  • marty

    so, you and batali “official” yet?

  • the pauper

    yea, what’s up with clint eastwood as a translator at the oscars? who knew?

    a suggestion:

    for restaurant reviews/postings, it would be nice to catch the name, address, phone at the bottom.

    Del Posto

    85 Tenth Ave.

    New York, NY 10011

    212-497-8090

    as a side note, Ed lists the number as: 212-672-0390, while the nymag and nytimes site use the number above. Does either or make a difference?

  • http://angusindex.blogspot.com emily

    AG, you came through again — this will make a perfect “nice dinner” choice when the Hubster and I hit NYC in April, and we’ve tried and failed too many times to get into Babbo, so this is perfetto!

    In other Italianate news, Bucatini All’Amatriciana is “in the style of Amatrice,” a town in the Lazio region which Mario waxed on about on his show. He makes his version of the sauce with guanciale, I believe, the pork jowl, mmmm!

    And finally, I don’t think turkeys have an osso with a big enough buco to make this dish a reality…hmmmmm….nice try, though. :)

  • courtney

    Sounds wonderful, but with the price of round trip airfare, and possibly a hotel room, I don’t think it is cheap anymore.

  • Zhopsik

    And the Bucatini are the spaghetti-on-steroids with the hole in the middle, which I call “the Danger Noodle” because even if you succeed in winding one neatly around your fork, as you approximate it to your mouth in great anticipation the end almost surely will spring loose and slap you in the nose!

  • http://madisonandmayberry.typepad.com/madison_mayberry/2006/11/del_posto_enote.html Andrea

    It’s about time you caught on to Del Posto Enoteca.

    Click on my name to follow the link to my review of the place.

    P.S. It was great and all, but I still want to go to Babbo.

  • Peter

    Despite my love of your blog, I now officially hate you for giving this secret up. Yes, Ed wrote about it months ago but he didn’t include photos or out the owner. You doubt your own power – now it’ll be impossible to ever eat there again. Waah!

  • chris

    it’s nice that you get excited enough about something that you want to share it with everyone, regardless of what some of your friends may think. when a secret is something this good, it never stays a secret for long, with or without influential blogs!

  • steph
  • http://expatsinitaly.com/judith Judith in Umbria

    The bucatini were oversauced for here in Italy, but look up a standard recipe for amatriciana, because it is one of the most delicious fast things you can make. That presumes you can get pancetta.

    The turkey has taken over from veal in osso bucco because you can hardly buy osso bucco nowadays, because although it was once a cheap cut, the restaurants buy it all up and we ordinary people can’t afford it even when we find it. There’s no marrow in the turkey, but a lot of USians don’t eat that anyway.

  • http://drvino.blogspot.com Dr. Vino

    Glad you are getting into wine! Did you feel that their pairings “worked” with the food?

  • http://missblotto.blogspot.com Meghan

    Made a reservation for tonight just a few minutes ago, for 2, at 8, just like I wanted. The secret might be out, but it doesn’t seem to have ruined anything :)

    Thanks! I wouldn’t have known about this without AG.

  • http://www.recipe4living.com Recipe4Living.com

    Thank you for sharing my enthusiasm for dessert.

    What are the sugared, colored cookies called? Those look amazing!

  • http://1morebite.blogspot.com/ Bee

    We had a similar experience when we tried it first after reading in the Times: easy reservation, fabulous meal, and then we couldn’t figure out what was up when we got the bill – first time in a long time that one had seemed too low!

  • http://play-with-food.blogspot.com Deborah Dowd

    This a great tip at a great time. My brother and sister in law are going to NYC later this month and staying near Times Square and wanted me to post a Help! post to find them some good places to eat that wouldn’t break their budget. I am definitely going to pass this on!

  • lo

    I just went last night with my parents and, I must say, you’re so dead on! The service was some of the best they’ve experienced in some time and the food was divine. Note to future diners: they’ve increased the prix fixe to $45 per person and you are no longer allowed individual primis, but have to choose two pastas to share with the entire table.

  • HH

    Thank you so much for highlighting the Enoteca! Went with a friend Saturday night and had an amazing meal. Sadly, the wine pairing option is no longer offered – too good to last… As for reservations – in case this will help someone – they take reservations on the same day only (I called at 10:30 Saturday morning and got a table for 8 that night). Reserve directly with the restaurant rather than through the reservation line.

    As for the food, if the grilled octopus is on the menu, order it! It was a highlight – sweet and smokey, tender and buttery. Both the cod with salsa verde and the steak braciola with celery root were divine. Our desserts came up a little short – but only in comparison to the perfection of the previous courses.

  • Ben

    Bucatini all’ Amatriciana – bucatini in the style of Amatrice, a town in Abruzzo.Made with the ingredients that shepards would carry with them- pasta, bacon (pancetta or guanciale, which is prob what they use at DP), onion,cheese (usually Pecorino) and tomatoes if they had them. This pic looked pretty good for a resto (of course it’s best at home!). I’ve had it in really “good” places in Rome where the pancetta wasn’t cooked property and it was oversauced.