Paul's Birthday Surprise

Paul Morrone |

During his Baseball Hall of Fame acceptance speech, Yankee legend Phil Rizzuto famously said: “A day without cannolis is like a day without sunshine.” While I’m as partial to cannolis as any Italian-American, in a broader sense I can definitely relate to what Phil was saying that day. Everyone has their vices, some people smoke cigars, some drink whiskey; I eat. Throughout my culinary adventures, I’ve been to my share of fancy, dimly lit restaurants wielding an exclusive reputation, exquisite food and a wine list that rivals the Encyclopedia Britannica. However, I’ve come to learn that few of those restaurants boast a true ‘fine dining,’ white-glove level of service that enhances even the most decedent meals to create a truly unforgettable experience.  As many of you know, these restaurants are always best enjoyed when someone else is covering the tab, and when there are no prices listed on the menu it leads to the old adage ‘if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.’ Poor Jill…

Last weekend Jill surprised me for my birthday by making reservations at one of the most critically acclaimed restaurants in NYC, Del Posto.  I’ve had the pleasure of eating at many of Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and Lidia Bastianich’s (the three owners of Del Posto) restaurants’ over the past couple of years and one is better than the next. From the second we walked in the door, it was clear that Del Posto was a cut above the rest. From the stool that was provided keep Jill’s purse off of the back of her chair (or heaven forbid, off the ground), to the 182 page wine list (all Italian wines), to the 6 servers and sommelier that meticulously catered to our every need, it was no secret that we were now playing in a different league.

Three hours, five courses and a bottle and a half of fine Italian Montepulciano had disappeared and the only time I had to lift a finger was to gnaw the last bit of meat off of the bone from my veal chop. Don’t worry, our server provided me with a clean napkin, dampened with cool water and accompanied by fresh lemon and rosemary in case I “decided to go caveman” with the bone. As always, they were one step ahead of me.