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All-Aboard the Del Posto Train

With Del Posto's opening fast approaching (no firm date yet), the buzz machine is firing on all cylinders. Today, both Stevie Cuozz and Frank B. have Del Posto previews. SC's in the form of a warning to Italian restaurants abou tthe dangers of getting too fancy, and Frank's taken from the pages of his Critic's Notebook. So here's what we learn about Molto Mario's NoMeat showpiece:

· "I hate to use the word fancy and I hate to use the word luxury, but it's going to be a fancy luxury restaurant," said one of the owners, who often fills his restaurants with hard rock and whose tastes usually seem no fancier than his footwear: orange clogs and orange sneakers, night after night and pair upon pair. "The last thing I want is the lemmings in their Chanel miniskirts waiting three deep at the bar to have a cosmopolitan.'"

· "EXPECT $240 rack of veal, $220 shoulder of pork and a $200 whole king salmon for four to eight people, to be carved within view of the table, in a flourish of high ceremony from the Old World...The proposed menu lists nearly 20 antipasti. It has more than a dozen pasta dishes, one with a jalapeño pesto, another with a tripe ragù, another with partridge....And there will be more than 15 other entrees, including duck wrapped in porchetta; guinea hen with pumpkin; squab with wild arugula."

· "Many key staff members at Del Posto (which means "of the place") come from their other restaurants, just as those other restaurants, when they opened, plucked personnel from their predecessors. Mark Ladner, who will run the kitchen at Del Posto, worked at Lupa and Otto, and is a partner with Mr. Batali and Mr. Bastianich in those restaurants. Mr. Pasternack is a partner in Esca and Bistro du Vent."

· "It will be filled with marble, brass and bronze, all meant to evoke a centuries-old palazzo. It asks New Yorkers to think of Italian dining in a grander, less rustic way, in a sense going against the grain of what Mr. Batali and Mr. Bastianich have taught diners to expect."

This all from Bruni's report. Steve's story, held over due to the Post's extensive King Kong coverage last week, is worth a read in full. Don't miss the bit about Eater fave Maremma.

Ed.--And what of the Del Posto OPENING DATE? More on that later today, friends.
· An Elegant Stroll in Orange Clogs [NYT]
· Offers We Can Refuse [NYP]

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