Totally, Crazily, Dreamily Delicious

April 10, 2016

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I can’t stop thinking about these….

After hours at the St. Louis airport (flight delays), and a ride on a tiny, frigid plane, I dragged my suitcase and my bedraggled self into Del Posto to meet some friends. The warm restaurant felt like the most welcoming place on earth, and I sank into a seat at the bar and gratefully took a sip of  Etna Bianco. Everything instantly felt right with the world.

Fantastic little bites began to arrive….

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A rich, crumbly little caccio e pepe biscuit.

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The most amazing little arancino – all crunch and crackle on the outside, all soft smoothness within. Rice has never been so lovingly disguised.

 

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The famous soup of many chickens.  Its intensity reminded me of a quote by the great chef Vatel.  When his employer, Fouquet dared to ask why 50 head of cattle were required for a feast he was preparing for Louis IVX the chef drew himself up. “Monsieur,” he replied, “I will reduce those animals to a single thimble.”  But this is not just soup:  hiding at the bottom of the cup is the most amazing masa ball.  When it dreams, every matzo ball aspires to this feathery lightness.

 

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Chef Mark Ladner has a sly sense of humor.  He calls this delicate dish suscmii del giorno -but I dare a Japanese restaurant to do better.  Arctic char with caviar, fluke, tuna…. Pure pleasure.

 

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I have always admired Ladner’s agnolotti del plin. Making them is painstaking work, and these are tiny bursts of intensity.

 

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Orecchiette with lamb sausage and broccoli rabe.  Pasta in an entirely different mood: the flavors here are almost fierce, and the little bits of crisped porcini add a welcome bit of crunch.

But impressive as they all are, its those bauletti above that will haunt my dreams. Ethereal sheets of pasta, tender as flower petals, wrapped around sheep milk ricotta and bathed in truffle butter.  A tangle of tastes and textures, the slight tanginess of the cheese echoed through my body long after the last bite was gone.

There was more – my friends went on to lamb and chicken and dessert. But I was still lost in those bauletti, reluctant to release the flavor by taking even one more taste.

Although Del Posto is expensive, I’d like to remind you about the $49 3-course lunch. Worth the voyage.

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