- Caroline Oct 30, 1998 09:50 PM
Have any chowhounds survived the
strict reservation protacol at
Babbo and happily dined there? Is
it as good as I've heard?? What do
you recommend? Thanks ! ( I love
this list !)
I survived .
But I didn't have to make the reservations. I was taken by someone who had a tough time getting a reservation. But once we were there, he was recognized because much of the front of the place used to work at Gramercy Tavern, and my friend was a regular there for business meals.
We shared the pasta tasting menu. Some of it was very good, some of it was indifferent. I'd feel like I'd need another meal or two before I could really evaluate the quality of the kitchen. There was absolutely no attitude once you are seated, by the way -- the service was friendly and professional. But so far, I'm not quite sure what all the fuss is about.
It's at 110 Waverly Place between McDougal and 6th. Not
to imply that I know so much about New York
restaurants! I very much recommend to you
newyork.sidewalk.com for information on almost
restaurant you may have heard of. You can access a
map, $ signs denoting how much you can expect to pay
and a review of the place. I went to Babbo in October
and it was wonderful.
I often go to Home, which is right across the street
from Po. I look at the lines and the Zagat's ratings
(which are comparable) and listen to how hard it is to
get in and wonder why anyone would bother. At home I
can almost always get a reservation when I want it,
they always seat us right away, sometimes even without
a reservation and the food is fabulous. (Note for
Dave Feldman, the Calvin Trillin fan: I did see him
eating there once - that's a good enough endorsement
The bread is always wonderful. The last time we
went there the special appetizer was juicy, flavorful
quail, marinated with just enough rosemary on a bed of
warm mizuna and yellow fingerling potatoes dressed
with cider vinegar. Wow! If I'd known they were so
delicious I would have just had a double as my main
course. One of their signature dishes is butterey
mashed sweet potatoes with just enough chipotle to cut
the richness. Food is always fresh, dishes
inventive. Waitstaff is always courteous and friendly
without being invasively familiar. I can't recommend
it highly enough. Why bother with Po or Babbo?
My daughter made reservations 2 days short of their one
month (so she'd heard) requirement. We had six in our
party and got reservations for six o'clock. My New
York family thought that was early but it was fine by
me. We all loved the place, the service and the food.
I hope to go again when I'm in town.
i'm tempted not to share this info due to fear of
overcrowding, but i will anyway - babbo has a bar area
with 4 or 5 tables which are given to diners strictly
on a first-come, first-served basis. no reservations
required, and usually not too too long a wait (30-40
minutes). you can also eat at the bar itself from the
full menu. the food is really great -- and the
breadsticks at the bar are out of this world.
Before Babbo was given the coveted three star seal of approval, as well as numerous other accolades by various publications, I dined at Babbo about once a week. Now it is nearly impossible to get a reservation. And no, I don't want to eat at 5 or 11:30 (does anybody?).
But it really is a great restaurant - food, service, setting, price (very reasonable) - it has it all.
The polenta with grilled mushrooms is a great starter, as is the salad with blood orange vinagerette. All the entrees that I have sampled have been great. The pastas are among the best I have had in NYC. The bucotini with baby octopus is phenomenal, as is spaghetti with lobster, tomato and sweet corn (more of a summer dish), the gnocci with proscuitto and tomatos, and the mint "love letters." I liked, but did not love, the spaghetti served in with a "hundred tomato" sauce (or something like that). It was a bit too sweet and thick for my tastes.
If you like steak, don't miss the thick cut florentine grilled steak. Incredibly flavorful, and the side of spinach is incredible.
The deserts are also excellent.
Wow, I miss the place.
I can second the vote of confidence for the food at
Babbo. It's some of the best Italian cuisine I've ever
had the pleasure of sampling. I can also confirm that
it's a simple matter to get a seat in the bar area
just about any time. As for service, I can agree that
it's technically proficient but I've been on the
receiving end of some attitude problems. I've also had
reservations problems, such as being kept waiting
nearly an hour for a table without an apology or even
an acknowledgement of a problem. And I've heard
similar tales from several other people, although
apparently none of you all.
re: Steven Shaw
I'm sorry to hear there were
reservation problems at another
of Mario Batali's restaurants. I've
never experienced rudeness (or
was it sheer stupidity/lack of
customer service skills?) like I
did at Po a few weeks back. Sure
the food's good, but it ain't worth
being made to wait and then made
to feel bad when you inquired after
your table...Sigh. We shouldn't let
restaurants do that...