del posto

2011 is going to be the year of eating out in New York City. Not so much with the general NYC population, as stats show less of that happening, but with me for sure.

At least once a month, I'll be splurging and experiencing a new trendy eatery in Manhattan and bringing you the recap here on the blog.

To catch up, last January was the amazing Tribeca restaurant owned by Joe Bastianich, Lidia Bastianich and Mario Batali - del posto...

Now this is one beautiful restaurant. Spacious, classy and romantic, it's all about the experience. It's been getting more attention since rereviewed to acclaim in the Times late last year, plus the Bastianich/Batali combo has never been hotter. They even opened their massive Italian food market on 23rd street to rave reviews and long lines.

I highly recommend going with the 4 course option, where you and your friends can pick your own pasta, main course and dessert, but share some appetizers. The menu isn't overwhelming at all, and everything sounds good, but its the waitstaff that really sells it to you. Our waiter knew every specific detail of our meal and wine choices, and made it conversational and inviting to talk about.

I've never had this level of genuine attention in a restaurant this high-end. We were treated like royalty. Even Rachel's purse got its own chair.

I'd highly recommend the specific courses we dined on, but I'd rather you experience it all for yourself should you go.

For course, that said, you MUST order the TASTE EXPLOSION known as Spaghetti with Dungeness Crab, Sliced Jalapeno & Minced Scallion.

And the dessert MUST order is a celery and fig agrodolce, which comes with "sfera di caprino." These are little goat-cheesecake balls rolled in salted olive oil and bread crumbs. But the kicker? CELERY sorbetto. Yep, that's right. Basically celery sorbet. It is insanely refreshing and sweet.

One other note that I'd recommend when you go is to make a later reservation. Think Spain late, like 10pm. You're going to get a lot of attention, less crowds and way less pressure to feel rushed. Not that I can imagine the staff ever rushing you out.

FOOD RATING - 9 out of 10
AMBIANCE RATING - 8.5 out of 10