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Cuozzo on NoMeat: 'things are looking up'

Steve Cuozzo uses his Food Section column inches today to check in on the NoMeat trio of Del Posto, Morimoto, Craftsteak, each of which, our man notes, has been tweaking and fine-tuning since opening. Click through for the full story of rise and fall and rise again; here are the broad strokes.

Del Posto: "Alas, the discounts are over; Del Posto doesn't need them anymore. And the pasta was better this time than the last.

With a buzzing full house on a bitter-cold Sunday eve, Mario Batali and Joe and Lidia Bastianich seem finally over Del Posto's well-reported hump. Although still ensnared in a lease dispute that may outlast World Trade Center reconstruction, the place has hit its stride."

Morimoto: "Morimoto was packed at 9 p.m. last Thursday but was not nearly as full at 8 on Sunday, even though "Mr. Cipriani and his party are on their way," an aide promised the hostess.

The guy you want there, Mr. M, was not around; "He's in Japan," we were told."

Craftsteak: " When I popped into Craftsteak without a reservation at 9 p.m., the only table left was in a freezing corner of the lounge. The place now has a grill to sear beef properly, and my 18-ounce, 28-day dry-aged strip steak hit the spot.

The menu remains dense despite paring down 20-odd (some very odd) steak choices to a mere dozen. Craftsteak crowed last week that it has a new executive chef; it didn't mention it's dropped lunch "until further notice" and is now open for dinner only."
· For Richer or Poorer [NYP]

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