Del Posto: Totally Down to Earth (if "Earth" is Rare Etruscan Marble)
If you read the Digest for the uncompromised idiocy and care nothing about the New York dining scene, it may interest you to know that Del Posto has been the subject of much word-of-mouth shittings-on, and a good deal of gossip about landlord strife and air vents (all that juicy stuff!) Throw in the fact that Frank did a PR piece about the opening not long ago, and the fact that Batali is the reigning NYC chef/restaurateur (in celebrity if not in numbers) and this week’s review, like your fat "fun" uncle Kevin who insists on doing cannon balls at the pool party, is going to make a big splash, at the risk of giving some people concussions.
Frank alludes to the negative gossip right off the bat:
“I hear a lot of grousing that Del Posto feels soulless and spurious, that it's the culinary equivalent of an epic Hollywood folly: Dishtar.” I cannot believe Frank made that joke instead of Del Postman.
“Hmmm, I’m not seeing the intersection of Hubris and Baffling Studio Approval …Oh yes! Here it is! I’m standing on it! Hahaha, you handsome nincompoop!!!”
But still, the tone of the whole review feels like the Count is defending the honor of a wronged lady, to the point of accusing us New Yorkers of being small-minded.
I plead "No Contest."
Batali and his business partner, Joe Bastianich “have crumpled up page after page of the script that made their previous ventures so beloved and written a new libretto, emphasizing refined notes over rustic ones, sacrificing hip on the altar of elegant.”
In other words, that downtowny, accessible, rockery goodness that we know and maybe love as Babbo and Lupa and Otto etc., has been replaced with a totally different operational philosophy:
“Spacious and tranquil, with a piano player in place of a rock soundtrack, Del Posto is the anti-Babbo, the un-Lupa.” The a-Otto. The de-Esca. The Bistro du Venticide. We get it. There will not be enormo hamhocks curing from farm-like rafters. Let’s move on.
Now in partnership with Bastianich’s mama Lidia, the “two men have challenged New Yorkers to accept Italian cuisine presented with fastidious rituals and opulent trappings usually reserved for French fare.”
Rituals and trappings usually reserved for French fare and for Edwardian dance reenactors, that is.
“SHALL WE BEGIN THE QUADRILLE?”
“BY CHRIST WE SHALL. Safety.”
“Del Posto dares to speak in an unfamiliar idiom, only to be told it has a phony accent.”
Thank you Confuciou-- I mean, Frank.
The fancy gallic trappings of the Del Posto would set the stage for a real reaming if it weren’t for the food, which charms the pants off Frank (don’t worry! He’s wearing a lace petticoat underneath!) :
Del Posto’s fare is “distinguished by first-rate ingredients (the arugula here makes arugula at many other restaurants seem like iceberg in drag)”
WHEN WILL YOU FINALLY JUST ACCEPT ME AS ARUGULA?? I FEEL LIKE ARUGULA, I KNOW I'M 100% ARUGULOUS ON THE INSIDE!!!
The rustic authenticity doesn’t stop with the greens:
“Mr. Batali's love of offal finds expression in pici, a sort of fat Tuscan spaghetti, with coxcombs, chicken livers, duck testicles and, for conventional decadence, black truffles.”
You may protest that there is no such thing as duck testicle—after all, ducks aren’t mammals! And only mammals have testicles! But he is speaking of a special Italian duck, which doesn’t cross borders.
The Italian Great Balled Mallard struggles to cross even the narrowest streets.
So despite the classiness of the decor, you see, the food is straightforward—not exactly what Giuseppe Schmoe eats every day after cobbling together Fiats, but at least innocent of obnoxious frippery:
“Mr. Batali, Ms. Bastianich and the executive chef, Mark Ladner, tend not to go off on precious, rococo tangents.”
I’ll be the first to say Thank Goodness! I mean, I love Rococo, but…
Batali's tender nipplets make me ill, like a first-time seafarer.
“The potent appeal of a mixed grill with pork loin, a lamb chop, quail and a goose sausage hinges on the kitchen's care with these elements, not on a flurry of embellishments.”
Indeed. What could be simpler? What could be less embellished than a huge meat pile? It fed the dinosaurs, the simple spear-toting cavemen, and the homos erecti for millennia.
See? Not embellished at ALL!!! Ha!…ahem.
“In a disconcerting and sometimes disappointing fashion, dining at Del Posto can demand more than a generous budget and several hours. It can require a quorum.”
Quorum, of course, from the Latin for “liquor,” being a small copper hipflask, usually kept in a woman’s garter or between her breasts in some sort of girdle.
For those unused to girdles, a simple codpiece will suffice.
This one's very affordable, and it's L.L. Bean so there's a lifetime guarantee in case you lose a penis stud.
"Ms. Bastianich can be seen and heard whisking the zabaglione in a copper pot, and the incessant clanging, coupled with the tinkling of the piano, quickly teeters into parody."
I've been known to hooter into parody, but never teeter. Frankly it sounds cheezy. But for Frank, the physical luxury of the place amounts to space and quiet as much as gold trim and marble:
“It also affords real room to maneuver between tables, enough quiet to facilitate conversation…”
You see Frank, much like Silkymuff and Pooter here, has sensitive ears.
So in the end, those of us who were foolish enough to predict a slaying of Del Posto were wrong, and Mario, the eponymous Spotted Pig, now has a second 3-star in his woefully underpigmented crown:
"...why bristle at the pageantry, so long as the pleasure is intact?"
SPEAKING OF INTACT PLEASURE! Check out this short, hilarious video by my sketch comedy group. It literally includes a real kangaroo and several boobs, although they are covered in bras and shirts. I play the irascible "Carla".
Also, I'll be out of the country for the next two weeks on an extradition--OOPS! I meant exPEdition, sorryHAHAHA I HAVEN'T ROBBED ANY BANKS IN BERLIN AND I'M NOT BEING FORCIBLY BROUGHT BEFORE JUSTICE, THAT'S PREPOSTEROUS! HA! How you make me chuckle, reader!-- and during this time, my fellow sketch comedian and writer Mike "The Velveteen Faggot" will helm the Digest. As I will one day trust him to care for the fatherless bastard that will at some point tumble out of me at Pathmark, so I entrust him with this, my precious baby blog.