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Apr 3, 2000 10:44 AM

Babbo Service Alert

  • p

I've been meaning to try Babbo, but now am rethinking that after a disturbing story by a friend who went on Saturday night. She and a friend were not terribly hungry, and after being informed by the waitress that there was no "minimum" required, they ordered three appetizers, an entree, and a few glasses of wine between them. Shortly after, the Manager charged up, waving their order, and informed them that they were REQUIRED to order entrees, and if they didn't, they would be forced to move to the bar. My friends refused, since the waitress had indicated there was no such requirement, and they wished to hear each other over dinner. The upshot: for the "privelege" of keeping the table, one woman had to order an "entree" portion of her appetizer (which she didn't want, couldn't finish but was nonetheless charged *double* the price of the appetizer for - which, at $26 was well above the price for an average entree!). At no time did the manager apologize for the conflicting policies presented or for his brusque manner. He even went so far as to claim that chef Mario *personally* objected to the women's order - a claim that seemed slightly specious, to say the least.
Anyone have a similar tale or a possible explanation? The manager's name was Robert Amato. Any good/bad stories out there?
I should note, in the interest of deflecting backlash by Babbo fans, that my friend loved the food, usually NEVER complains about service, but was very troubled by this episode.

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  1. I can understand why a restaurant might have a service policy requiring the order of a main course, but it sounds as if the enforcement of such a policy was handled very poorly in several aspects. In less expensive places I've heard diners told they must order a main course to occupy a table, but they were told politely. As for the chef having personal objections, he is also the owner and therefore has an interest in maintaining profits and having tables occupied by those eating a full diner. Once again the policy doesn't seem out of line, only the implementation of it in your friend's regard. Nevertheless, this is at best, second hand information and shouldn't affect the opinion of those who have had good service there.

    1. If true, that's ridiculous. I often dine with friends who order two appetizers for dinner (I do not have that kind of discipline) and I've never heard a peep from anyone.

      What if one person wanted an appetizer and not the other? Would they force all of the diners to order one so that they could maximize the profit from that table? It doesn't make any sense.