Four Nights in New York - Babbo
SHORT VERSION: Great food, lousy service.
LONG VERSION: We had dinner at Babbo last Thursday evening. We arrived around 9:40 for our 10:00 reservation and they seated us right away, before I could even order a drink. The restaurant was completely full and we were seated upstairs at the only available table.
The waiter came and took our drink order. He brought my wifes drink but forgot mine. He brought bread but didnt bring olive oil.
The first course was a lambs tongue salad with mint and potatoes that was fabulous. About halfway through the first course, the wine finally arrived. We then had the beef cheek ravioli with black truffles which were also very nice. For a main course I had sweetbreads with caramelized onions and balsamic vinegar. I found it a bit over-vinegared personally but the sweetbreads were crunchy and perfect. My wife had a piece of branzino that was perfect and prepared tableside by the captain.
We ordered dessert and lattes. The desserts came and were very nice but the coffees were terrible, cold and old tasting as though they had been reheated in the microwave.
Not to sound overly picky but every single person working in the room bumped into our table with the exception of one nimble busboy. We couldnt move because we were less than three inches from the next table. We noticed that everyone else in the center part of the room was having the same problem. The waiter was very harried and several other tables were also constantly looking for him. The captain had very little interaction with us.
As a non-food observation, one thing that we did notice coming from L.A. was the extreme lack of ethnic diversity in the restaurant. My wife was the only non-white person in the entire restaurant Also, in the upper area where we were sitting, there was a constant stream of people going to the bathroom three or four times during their meal, which I presume was drug-related. At one point, the table across from us of three people ALL disappeared into the tiny one-room bathroom together. The staff obligingly kept their entrees covered for them until they returned. (I was thinking how quaint and 1986 that was.)
Our general impression of Babbo was, we loved the space and we loved the food but we found the service awfully inept for the price (about $180 with tip).