Tag Archives: meatpacking district

Del Posto: Best Meal of the Year?

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As you could tell from previous posts, our trip to Del Posto was something that both Nicole and I were really looking forward to. Exactly thirty days prior to our anniversary I called at 10:00 on the dot, along with a couple dozen calls between 9:58-9:59, only to hear the pre-recorded message about the hotline being closed. When the call went through to the receptionist, I literally jumped out of my desk in excitement. The phone call was really enjoyable, we discussed that it was our three-year anniversary, and that we recently got engaged and wanted to celebrate at Del Posto. By the end of the call I setup a 7:30 reservation, on a Saturday. From that day forward, we both eagerly awaited what would become one of our favorite meals ever.

I cannot begin to describe to you how many times the both of us checked out the menu on their website. My browser history had more Del Posto links than my teenager-selfs porn history. I would sit at work, spreadsheet on one screen, Bloomberg on another, and Del Posto’s menu on the the third – drooling while thinking of the endless possibilities of what I would eat.

Since it was our anniversary, I decided to change things up and we booked a hotel room at The Maritime Hotel down the block. Even though I live in Nolita, thought it would be nice to have a perfect evening and really treat ourselves. When we woke up that morning, we had a light breakfast followed by lunch at Hu Kitchen in the afternoon. Looking back I would have skipped the lunch, as I wanted to be completely hungry by the time dinner rolled around. We even turned down meeting some coworkers at ZZ’s Clam Bar, they were stoping in before trying Carbone for the first time based off my recommendations (review here). I didn’t want any non-Batali substances in my body prior to tasting the food at Del Posto. Kind of like not eating before taking communion.

When it was time, we walked over to the restaurant. Excitement building between the two of us, both waiting to try what we have been dying to try. With each step the back of my mind was spinning with different antipasti, primi, secondi, and dolci variations. As the door man opened the doors, we were greeted by the maître d and hostesses.

Host: “Hello Mr. Hedge Fun NY, happy third anniversary and congratulations on your engagement! Welcome to Del Posto.”

Nice touch. Who would have expected a phone call thirty days prior which contained casual conversation with the receptionist would be remembered.

We made our way to the table, and our waitress came over to engage in some conversation. She explained the menu, along with wishing us a happy anniversary as well. She was extremely friendly, and we enjoyed her presence.

Next the sommelier came over, at first I thought it was Joe Bastianich due to the similar haircut, however it was not him (was missing the bright green sneakers.) He provided us with a few suggestions, and then left the iPad with us to take a look. The software was amazing on the iPad and made narrowing down our options extremely easy. We would up choosing the Castell’ In Villa Chianti Classico Riserva 2008, which was one of his recommendations to us. After the initial taste I realized how great the bottle was, and was happy we went with his suggestion.

We said cheers, and then something amazing happened. The bread mades it’s way to the table. There were three types, which included an olive-loaf, all of which were made fresh. Accompanying the bread was their butter and lardo. The lardo was mind blowing, and also a duel-edged sword. All I wanted to do was to keep smearing it across the warm bread, but I also didn’t want to fill up too quickly. I had five courses ahead of me, I did not want to sacrifice any room in my stomach.

We started our first course with the Minted Octopus and Lobster all a Cesare, which is a fancy way of saying Cesare Salad. I will start with the salad, since I was a little hesitant to try due to the fact I never eat Cesare Salad since it looks like mayo. Not the case here, the salad was great with huge chunks of lobster. The dressing wasn’t overly creamy and was well balanced with the grilled romaine and onions. The octopus was for lack of a better word, dope. Being Pulpo-Aficionados we pride ourselves on distinguishing the good from the bad, the rubbery from the perfectly cooked. This was one of the best octopus dishes I have had in a long time. I would say, neck-and-neck with Charlie Bird, and better than Toro, Carbone, and Peasant. The tentacles are served over Nduja, Giant Beans & Hearts of Palm. The njuda spread was on the bottom and gave a nice flavor to the pieces of octopus I smeared into it’s red-pasty spread. Despite the amazing flavor and tenderness of the tentacles, the best part of the dish was the size. Firstly the tentacles were not those wimpy skinny tentacles, they had some girth. Also, they must have had at least four pieces on the dish. We enjoyed each bite, how could you not? The outside was charred, the inside was juicy and cooked to perfection. Really a perfect dish.

Next up, our primi course. Going into this course we were extremely excited, especially since we have not had pasta for close to thirty-days. We had been on a diet since we are getting married in a few months, and we figured if we were going to cheat it might as well be with some of the best pasta you can find. This was also a very difficult choice for us to decide on. I have at one point or another said in my head over the past thirty days that I am getting the 100 Layer Lasagna, or Lidia’s Jota, or Orecchiette with Lamb Neck. When we decided to order, we went with neither of the above. We chose The Spaghetti with Dungeness Crab, and the Gnocchi. Once again, two perfect dishes. The Spaghetti and Crab was probably one of my favorite pasta dishes I have ever eaten. The spaghetti was nice and al dente, and mixed into the bowl were jalapeños, scallions, and the sweet meat of the crustacean. The jalapeño definitely provided some heat, in fact I actually had to ask the busgirl for a tissue at one point, but the spice was not overbearing. The crab flavors definitely keep this bowl of pasta well balanced. This is one of their most famous dishes, as I learned after, with many pages discussing the perfect execution of this dish. There is actually a video Del Posto put on YouTube a few years back that shows the process of making this dish, CLICK HERE, and if you don’t have a seizure from the music – you might gain an appreciation for this dish. Definitely do not skip this dish. Next up, gnocchi. One of my favorite types of pastas, and favorite form of potato. As if the idea of gnocchi could get any better, especially to two people on diets who have been pasta deprived. The recipe was handed down by Batali’s Grandmother. The gnocchi was light and fluffy, unlike that heavy junk you get at majority of these so-called ‘Italian’ restaurants. Also, unlike most places who drench the pasta in sauce to compensate for the pastas lack of flavor, also not the situation here. The sauce was light, and tasted like fresh tomato. Nice and basic, and the flavoring from the Thai basil gives the dish the simplicity and freshness one would expect while eating in non-touristy areas of Italy.

Right around this point of the evening, I began to really regret getting lunch at Hu Kitchen earlier. I was beginning to get full, and the constant stuffing of my face with bread and lardo didn’t help. But we had our secondi course coming, and the excitement kept me going.

Once the food came to the table, we acted as if those past courses didn’t happen and kept consuming our entrees. I ordered the Burnt Beef, medium rare of course, which came with seared green onions, parmigiano zeppole, and tomato raisins. Everything about this dish was perfect – so much so my fiance, who is not a meat person found herself voluntarily picking pieces off my plate. I have to say, for a girl who hasn’t had meat in eight-years I have started her on some awesome places – Black Label Burger from Minetta, Steak from Del Posto… Highly recommend this dish, worth the extra money – TRUST ME. Nicole ordered the Baked Halibut, which came with mashed sun chokes, chicory salad, and smoked truffles. Once again, perfect entree. We still talk about this dish and how it was the best piece of halibut, possibly the best pieces of fish we have ever had.

To finish the meal we had some dessert, but really was hard to enjoy since we were so full – but we somehow managed to finish it. We had the Grilled Semolina Cake and Fette Biscottate, also they brought out some additional items for our anniversary – which we finished as well…

The Maritime Hotel: Cruise Ship in The Meatpacking District

 

imageI would like to start off by saying, if Steve Zissou from Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic was a real person – he would only stay in the Maritime Hotel. The nautical theme runs throughout the hotel from the lobby, to the cruise shaped windows.

We decided to get a hotel room to celebrate our anniversary, and goto Del Posto (REVIEW COMING SOON). I know it sounds crazy considering I live in Nolita, but it was a nice idea to celebrate the fact that she has put up with me for three years and we are a few months away from the wedding. As we walked over to The Maritime, I noticed the outdoors section was closed – which I was a little upset about. It was a beautiful day, sixty-five degrees and sunny so I figured it would be nice to sit outside and have a few drinks. Turns out the restaurant that used to occupy the second floor, above Tao, is now closed and they are renovating the space. The beautiful outdoor patio of La Bottega, with lanterns and trees was now replaced with scaffolding and construction equipment. I wish this was open or at least informed of the closure. However, there is a silver-lining as a source of mine has filled me in that there is a possibility of a Batali & Bastianich invading the space. Definitely wouldn’t mind checking that out…

The Lobby was extremely quiet that day, I guess the absence of long-legged models coming into the lobby from the outdoor patio makes the place seem less lively. Although quiet, it was really nice – in a nautical way. Lined with bookshelves, alcoves with couches and tables, wooden ships, once again very Wes Anderson-esque. The picture below is from their website:

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We met with the front desk, who informed us of some of the hotels details. Nice perk, although the La Bottega patio may have been closed – they still had their cabana area open. The North Cabana area was beautiful, but once again really quiet. Hardwood floors, blue and white subway tiles, and rope netting, very nautical. The inside portion had a bar – along with free coffee all day. The outdoor/atrium area was just as gorgeous, with tables set up and lights strung from the rafters. This was one of my favorite features of the hotel, and kind of what I was looking forward to downstairs. Along with the gratis coffee, after 5:00PM they served cheese and wine free for all guest. This was a great way to enjoy the weather, especially since it was one of the nicest days since this horrible winter.

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Ahead of our stay, I spoke with Rachael at the front desk, and she was extremely helpful. To surprise Nicole I decided to get a bottle of champagne sent up to the room. She did inform me that I would have to goto an outside company, and provided me with the details of the wine store located across the street. She said once the bottle was delivered she would send it up to the room with an ice bucket and glasses. She also informed me that room service would be available via Tao downstairs, but I had a feeling we wouldn’t be to hungry after our five-course dinner at Del Posto.

We took the elevator up to the ninth floor, and made our way to the room. A few moments after our arrival we received a bottle of wine, along with a nice handwritten note from the front desk. I thought this was such a nice gesture, and a great way to start off the night. After walking around the neighborhood, we got back to the room with the bottle of champagne sitting on ice in the bucket. I was once again extremely happy with the service as they were able to help me with this request.

The room was small, but in New York terms, a nice size. The room had an iPod dock, which was only for phones prior to the iPhone 5, however they also had an additional speaker in the room which had an AUX jack that would fit any phone – which was a nice touch. The minibar area was stocked nicely, full-size bottle of Kettle One, half-sized bottle of Perrier-Jouet champagne and Sancerre, along with small bottles of Makers Mark, Tito’s, Jack Daniel’s… In terms of snacks they had some Dean & Deluca products, pretzels, chips, cookies…etc. The bathroom was tiled with mosaics, white/gray marble, and a nice sized walk-in shower with a waterfall rain shower head. They provide a nice assortment of C.O. Bigelow products, along with Marvis toothpaste.

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The room itself was okay. We stayed in one of the standard rooms, which the hotel has 121 cabin inspired rooms. Each room has a five-foot porthole which open, extremely rare amenity in New York City. It is a little bit outdated, but that is also part of the theme they are going for. There was a lot of the same teak wood as found in the lobby, with a beige wool carpet. The headboard was made with blue fabric.

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All though a little dated, I think The Maritime is a good place to stay. We booked the room via JetSetter (Gilt Groupe) and got a pretty good deal. In comparison to the other hotels in the neighborhood, you will definitely find these rooms are larger. Also, the location is amazing. You are 20 steps from No.8, PHD Rooftop, Chelsea Market, Tao, Del Posto, Toro …etc. If you are from out of town, you could checkout the Highline, which is a block away. The location truly is perfect. Also, once the Batali place opens (granted I was informed correctly) this will definitely bring back that atmosphere that The Maritime is now missing with the absence of La Bottega.

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