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Orange Wednesday: THREE STARS

The smart money wins today, as The Bruni awards Del Posto with three stars. There are no surprises here. Bruni writes a review that could be accompanied by either two or three stars, then opts for three (and objects to the menu length, as it was predicted he would do on eGullet):

Del Posto, which means "of the place," has ample ethnic grounding in Italy's fancier restaurants. It also has something more important: mostly terrific food, distinguished by first-rate ingredients (the arugula here makes arugula at many other restaurants seem like iceberg in drag), clear flavors and, more often than not, superior cooking.

Ignore the traffic jam of service carts and the purse stools (and, beyond Del Posto's doors, the loud, ugly battle between the restaurant and its new landlord). Focus instead on what lands on the tables...

Some adjustments should be made, to both the food and the ambience. Del Posto needs more blockbuster desserts, the best of which are a cranberry and apple strudel (yet again, for two), an apricot cassata that's like an Italian baked Alaska, and mustard-colored zabaglione, studded with green bits of pistachio-flavored amaretti.

Ms. Bastianich can be seen and heard whisking the zabaglione in a copper pot, and the incessant clanging, coupled with the tinkling of the piano, quickly teeters into parody.

But the central vision and ambition of Del Posto are valid ones. Why shouldn't an Italian meal be bracketed by a breadbasket as bountiful as Del Posto's and a plethora of complimentary cookies? Can there be much complaint with the extensive Italian wine list, which has a laudable number of bottles of white for under $50 and red for under $80?

And so it is that on this first day of the month of March, The Bruni spoke to Mario saying, you shall have three stars and you shall love those stars. And you will thank me for your stars, knowing that I could have done onto you what I did onto Conant.
· New Rituals in the Adoration of Italy [NYT]