Fancy Lunch at Del Posto

One of my best friends from college was visiting this past week which always means an excuse for some good food and drink. She flew in Thursday and we kind of hit the ground running and never stopped. It began with a delicious Koreatown dinner late Thursday at Mad for Chicken, where the insanely addictive wings pretty much blew her off her seat. I try to explain the wonders of this chicken to people from Buffalo but you truly have to try it in order to understand. I love Buffalo wings but there is nothing that compares to the candy like shell of skin at Mad for Chicken.

Friday we all slept in a bit and then took our time getting ready for our fancy lunch of the day- Del Posto. Ever since Del Posto launched their $29 prix fix I’ve been dying to get over there for lunch. Christine’s visit seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally try it out.

When we first walked in I got a little nervous. I had been here numerous times for drinks at the bar and always enjoyed the ambiance. However midday lunch is a much different mood than after work drinks. The restaurant was so quiet it almost felt like a library. We had just had some mimosas at the house and I was afraid the setting didn’t fit our boisterous mood. Luckily once we were seated and had a moment to regroup we settled in nicely to the warm calm atmosphere of late day lunch.

Within moments of ordering our wine they brought out a trio of amuse bouche to wet our palate. Gazpacho shot with celery salt dusting on the rim, a thin puff pastry filled with salmon mousse and some sort of cheese prosciutto bread ball.

Of the three the prosciutto ball was by far my favorite. It had a cheesy salty kick that exploded in my mouth. I wish I could have had 2 or 3 more of these. That is until I saw the bread basket, then all thoughts of amuse bouche went right out the door.

The basket contained four different kinds of rolls and two kinds of spread- regular butter and whipped lardo. Yes that’s correct- lardo. Nothing says love like spreading straight pork fat directly on a warm rosemary focaccia and watching it melt. This is not for the faint of heart that’s for sure but it was awesome! I easily devoured one roll and was onto my second when the first course arrived.

For my antipasti I chose the Insalata Primavera della Terra. Carrots, pea pods, beans; all types of fresh crisp vegetables dressed in a light vinaigrette and some sweet pea puree. This was a wonderfully lively and refreshing dish. I would order this again in a heartbeat.

Mr. T's antipasti the Warm Cotechino with Umbrain Lentil Vinagrette & Dried Fruit Mostarda. This is basically just a big Sausage…a big tasty sausage at that! This was quite a large amount of meat for an antipasti. I was impressed! In fact all of the first course items were great except for one Lidia’s Lobster Salad.

This came as a $10 addition to the meal and it was surely not worth it. Although the chunks of lobster were pretty big, the meat was rubbery and overcooked. The bland tomato sauce did nothing to help the lobster and overall the dish fell flat on its face.

For the entrees both of my companions ordered the CACCIUCCO Red Mullet Crostino Aglio e Olio.

They bring out the bowl with big succulent pieces of crab, scallop, mussels and clams and then pour a warm fragrant broth on top everything table side. I felt a little like I was back at Jean George with that move. The broth was simply heavenly and where Lida’s Lobster tasted rubbery all these sea creatures were wonderfully plump and moist.

It also came with some extremely tasty pickled crab toasts. The acidity of the crab salad really brighten up my palate and I felt like I could taste more levels of flavor within the broth after each bite.

For my entrée I chose the Grilled LAMB Chop Lemon Yogurt with Ceci & Swiss Chard Ragu. The lamb had spent hours braising and was completely cooked through. I hesitated when the waiter described this dish as “cooked through” and I probably should have changed my mind.. The meat was very tender and moist but I missed the lighter flavor of a medium rare chop. I guess I’m kind of stuck in my ways when it come to lamb. If I’m ordering a gyro I want it like this- if I’m ordering a regular chop I want to see pink. However the dish was still fabulous and my table had no problem finishing the plate.

For dessert my companions both ordered the Chocolate Ricotta TORTINO Toasted Sicilian Pistachios & Extra Virgin Olive Oil Gelato. Neither had wanted a sweet dessert but I encouraged them to try this instead of the cheese plate. Yay for me being right! They both loved it. The ricotta cheese and luscious olive oil gelato were more savory than sweet and this dish really hit on every single cylinder.

My dessert was fantastic as well the Butterscotch SEMIFREDDO Melon Agrumata, Crumbled Sbrisolona & Milk Jam. I’ve never loved semifreddo but this really hit the spot. It gave me the sweet injection I craved without feeling weighed down after such a big lunch. The treats didn’t end just yet however. Along with our dessert wine they also brought us a box of mini treats to close out the meal.

On top were mini crème filled bombolini and a chocolate olive oil lollipop and on the bottom was a candied grapefruit and something else dark chocolate I couldn’t decipher. The bombolini were by far the winner because in the end, who doesn’t love mini crème filled doughnuts?

So minus one overcooked lobster we had a great meal at Del Posto. The service was wonderful, the food was spectacular and the company couldn’t be better.

Del Posto