Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bits & Morsels loves a good deal

Orange-scented bomboloni with pastry cream at Del Posto Enoteca.

Value meals. The silver lining of this economy (as if there is one) is that restaurants all over town are offering promotions on its wine lists and menus. It’s easy to announce a discounted menu, but it’s hard to get it right. Tasting menus can feel cheap and leave you hungry for more (or less, depending).

Last Thursday night I dined at Del Posto Enoteca, which is currently offering a four-course $35.00 prix fixe menu through the end of March on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Del Posto is a two Michelin-starred Italian restaurant located at 85 10th Avenue. It's been open for a while now, but I just never got around to going. It’s out of the way for me and not the most scenic of neighborhoods, but the restaurant's interior is quite grand. Del Posto is owned by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, Joe Bastianich and Mario Batali, and as you would expect, the food is superb.

My dinner partner, Daron Lee.
The dining room is massive and there is an enoteca off to the side of the lobby that serves a similar menu with reasonable prices. My dinner at Del Posto Enoteca was one of the best I've had in a while. Big on food and big on portions.

The four-course menu includes an antipasti dish, a choice of pasta for the whole table, a main course, and dessert. Wine and coffee is not included, but they have many affordable wines by the glass.

A smart way to start off the meal is with the broccoli rabe salad. It is lightly dressed with crème fraiche, cheese and red pepper flakes. For the pasta course (you order one dish for the table) we had the gnocchi with tomato sauce, garnished with broccoli tips. The gnocchi was perfectly pillowy and coated neatly (with tomato sauce).

My dinner companion, Daron Lee, was impressed with the portion size of the pasta. The bass with crispy breadcrumbs and capers is the way to go for the main course. There are restaurants that would charge $35 for the fish alone. For dessert, you should try the orange bomboloni. They are served hot and filled with orange pastry cream. Heavenly.
In the Del Posto kitchen.
Del Posto, 85 Tenth Avenue, 212.497.8090.
Clockwise from top left: Bread basket with olive bread, focaccia, grissini and multigrain rolls; Prosciutto with figs; Gnocchi with tomato sauce and garnished with broccoli; Inside del posto.
Broccoli rabe salad with a creme fraiche dressing. Rabbit with vegetables and mushrooms.
Pouring a bottle of 2007 Anselmi San Vincenzo Bass broiled with breadcrumbs and parmesan.
Almond cake with cherries. Chocolate mint cake.
Apple fritters. Orange-scented bomboloni with pastry cream.
A look inside orange-scented bomboloni. Big chocolate truffle.
A last look in the kitchen. Ending the meal with a cappuccino with no excuses.
Craftsteak, which is on the same block as Del Posto, recently launched Halfsteak in the bar and front dining area of the restaurant. The menu features items all under $15.00, which includes various small plates such as fried oysters with coleslaw and chicken fried cod. There is also half a steak on the menu, fun cocktails and can't-miss desserts like red velvet cupcakes. Halfsteak is not considered a fine dining experience as that was never its intention; but it is creative and will probably do well, as it should.

Craftsteak, 85 Tenth Avenue, 212.400.6699.
The menu. Wagyu Nachos.
Duck confit omelet with maitake mushrooms & fontina getting finished in the kitchen.
Halfsteak and fries. A Half Naked.
Red velvet cupcake.
February is pancake month. Here is a list of places that serve up fluffy pancakes in many variations. There is actually a reason for this timing; it used to be customary to make and eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday as a way of utilizing our hearty ingredients like sugar and milk before fasting for the 40 days of Lent. [Metromix]

Kindle, the electronic reading device
from Amazon is offering an exclusive download from Cook’s Illustrated. Starting February 24th, Cook's Illustrated How-to-Cook Library will be available to download. This is a good reason to get a Kindle. [Serious Eats]

The future is not looking so bright for vitamin supplements. More and more studies have failed to show that stocking up on vitamins helps prevent disease or extend life. Irregardless of these studies, people (myself included) still take multivitamins. The best way to get your vitamins is from cultivating a well-balanced diet. [Well]

Until we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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