Del Posto

85 Tenth Avenue on 16th Street
$810 for six, with a few drinks, with tip
♥ ♥

The latest from the Batali-Bastianich empire, Del Posto’s staircase, marble floors and plush seating all scream money. You walk past the valet (!) through the lobby and it’s like you’re in someone’s mansion outside of New York. Its 18,000-square-foot space is larger than any of their other New York City restaurants and showcase extravagance, if not gaudiness. The menu prices scream dollar signs, too.

The antipasto misto of cheese, olives and prosciutto cost us $66 and the bis, two pastas also divided in six servings cost us a whopping $126. My squab was too rare for my taste but I held back in telling the kitchen because the accompanying wine, Feudi Taurasi 1999, made up for it. The pork chop had just the right amount of sweetness with the figs and caramelized onion on the side and I must say that the lamb loin was very good. The cod was meaty and perfectly tender.

The food could have been from any other high-priced restaurant in the city. Nothing really stood out for me to exclaim, This is so Batali. My lamb sweetbreads were a delight and the calf’s liver–unfortunately served as a main course–were so light and tasty. But where were the lamb’s tongue and the pig trotters I’ve been hearing about? They were probably in the $100 tasting menu we passed up or maybe they were the specials our server forgot to tell us about.

But for an early 6:30pm table of six women, the service was exemplary. Our sommelier needs to be commended for helping us pick champagne (a Philipponnat) and two bottles of red wine without flinching at our budget ($60-$65 per bottle). When we started with the bubbly, we mentioned that we’re celebrating a birthday. At the end of our meal, they brought one of our desserts with a candle without us having to request it. Needless to say, the birthday girl was quite pleased.