Friday, July 31, 2009

The $24.07 lunch (Chapter 2)

I went into the city with a friend for the $24.07 lunch today at Del Posto, the fine-dining Italian restaurant opened by Chef Mario Batali and others. We ate in 34 minutes -- we had to park more than two blocks away and were limited to a one-hour meter (cost $2).

The meal, three courses for the price of a lunch entree, included heirloom tomatoes, smoked prosciutto (speck) and drug- and hormone-free Berkshire pork, in an elegant setting of marble and dark wood. Highlights were a complimentary prosecco aperitif and the bread, baked in-house, especially a dark roll filled with black olives. I started with the prosciutto, served with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese shavings and baby arugula. Both of us had the pork loin, a gloriously moist and fatty medallion, topped with some onions and sweet peppers. Dessert was ricotta cheesecake and small, sweet strawberries.

The food was delicious, the service crisp and our bread basket was replenished without prompting. On the way out, we looked at the posted dinner menu, which offers Dover sole for two at $130. And Manhattan remains a hassle, with limited street parking and way too many cars. That's why I had my first $24.07 lunch on a Sunday, when you can park just about anywhere and you don't have to feed the meters.

Today was supposed to be the last day of Summer Restaurant Week, but all the places taking part have extended the $24.07 lunches and $35 dinners to Labor Day. I wonder where I'll go next?

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