I tried Del Posto in its second week of business. While the food was satisfying (the sweetbread appetizer was memorable with the pairing of an acidic, caper-laced sauce playing nicely off the unctuous flavor of the sweetbread), I felt that the restaurant was aspiring to be something that is completely antithetical to the Mario ethos.
His restaurants are about casual, unpretentious environments where honest, rustic cuisine is presented unabashedly. The cauliflower sformato appetizer at Del Posto was lifted directly off the menu at Lupa. Yet, 10$ were added to the price in the dish's trip from Thompson St. to 10th avenue.
I felt that the jalapeno spaghetti was slicked in too much oil and simply not a well integrated dish. The toasted breadcrumbs did not contribute the textural punch they were no doubt designed to add and the jalapeno did not produce any exhilarating chili heat.
Finally, a conservative meal with one bottle of wine and no indulgences in the roasted meats for the whole table section of the menu came in at just under $400.
I couldn't help feeling that the whole guiding philosophy of Del Posto was flawed: high price does not equal NY Times stars -- quality does.
Moreover, the finest restaurants in the city don't bother with cheesy throwbacks to the 1950's (at Del Posto this comes in the form of piano playing in the dining room). At Masa, the only noise you hear is the scrape of antler-horned sushi knives against wooden cutting boards.
In light of the disappointing food and confused vibe at Del Posto, I predict that Bruni gives it no more than 2 stars tomorrow.