Magazine article The New Yorker

Del Posto

Magazine article The New Yorker

Del Posto

Article excerpt

85 Tenth Ave., near 16th St. (212-497-8090)--The first hint that there is something preposterous about Del Posto, Mario Batali's colossal new venture on the far West Side, is a sign outside announcing "Valet Parking $29." Inside, numerological curiosities abound. The tap water is "triple-filtered," as is the dining experience: you seem to have at least three waiters. Dessert comes in three acts (to say nothing of the cookie cart). Three is also how many stars the Times gave Del Posto recently, despite Batali's dream of four, and how many days you may need in order to recover from polishing off a cone or two of the cured pork lard that comes with the bread.

Batali and his partners, Joseph Bastianich and his mother, Lidia, have been threatened with eviction by their landlord over construction that they may or may not have done without permission. The dispute is as overwrought as the atmosphere. The extreme pomp of the place--the footstools for ladies' purses, the high-tea piano music, the miles of marble, the fleets of flatware--can feel like a put-on, as though this were the setting for a reality show in which celebrity chefs compete to see who can charge out-of-towners the most for offal. …

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