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Two very different Batali restaurants in 24 hours

Bar Jamon

Originally uploaded by NickDawson

Last night we ate at Del Posto - Mario's joint venture and his first restaurant to earn two Michelin stars. The food was as delicate as Italian food can be - which is to say small, but the five course tasting menu was more than enough when it was all said and done. There were some inventive standouts like Susan's goose Foie with a molten chocolate center. Other courses were very unbalanced like my rich veal chop that lacked acidity and salt.  I would not want to shy anyone away except for one aspect -  the service was lackluster and disappointing for a two-star establishment. Our waiter was not around when we needed him and interrupted several times when we did not. When asked if they could accommodate a food allergy on the seven course menu they could not; the suggestion was not to order that option. It saved us some coin, but struck us as odd. Dishes were not explained, a move that almost suggested a lack of pride or knowledge. Our wine steward was a sharp contradiction however, he was on point and delivered some very unique quaffables.

Tonight we hit up one of our NYC foodie faves - Bar Jamon. Bar Jamon, although older than the show, is a dive into what Spain...On the Road Again must have been like for the red headed gastro-phenom. The place is the size of a broom closet but people pack in for simple, perfectly prepared plates. I'm not sure why I enjoy stuffing myself into this place so much, but get so easily offended by an inattentive waiter at Del Posto - it clearly has something to do with the food and wine and relaxed atmosphere in which it is served. Tapas style dishes include home cured chorizo with house pickled red pepper salad, tasting courses of manchego (various ages), authentic Iberian jamon and some of the best wine finds from Spain. I always feel proud and strangely rewarded to see so many of our "90 pts and above for $20.00 or less" wines on the shelves. And the staff - friendly and warm!