At some level, I'm not sure the disappointment doesn't have to do with us rather than the restaurant. We're "ex pat" Ny'ers and come to the city to visit both it and friends at least 3 times a year. Once a year we do the "big splash" dinner: somewhere grand that sounds like we really will encounter new experiences in self-indulgence. The rest of our meals are either at old favorites or at ethnic restaurants that are different than the ones we have at home. On the "indulgence" level, we've loved Per Se, Daniels, Babbo's and Le Bernardin. Each felt unique and personal. Last year, we did not have our socks knocked off by Eleven Madison, though we enjoyed it and of course loved the architecture and the room. We certainly felt we got our money's worth, just weren't convinced that the food was "memorable" as opposed to just good. We've recently loved the Modern and enjoyed it enough to put it on our "regular" rotation, even though it really is outside the normal budget for us.
Del Posto is the first of our splurges that frankly felt like a corporate concept and not a personal chef's pleasure palace. Nothing at all wrong but nothing spontaneous, vibrant, or "you never will forgot this dish." Everything was competent. Two dishes were very good: the octopus appetizer and the scungilli pasta. But there just wasn't a "wow" moment.
I'm wondering if we've just reached the "we've had that experience" place and we may have to swear off looking for the "next best thing". It seems, for us, the next best thing is some wonderful chef from Korea or Northern India showing us what he or she can do with the tastes of his or her home country. If anyone really has a new "pleasure palace" that knocks their sox off, let me know. Otherwise, we'll troll the board for your favorite new or old ethnic places that reflect the passion for food of a hands-on chef.
85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011