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Babbo, i got in!...now what?

katp Nov 21, 2006 01:56 AM

Have dinner reservations at Babbo on Friday. Everyone is always talking about how great it is and how hard it is to get a reservation. So what should I order?!?!?!?

  1. m
    Mazzer Nov 21, 2006 02:26 AM

    Pasta tasting menu. If you see something else on the menu you like, tell them and they will probably accommodate it.

    1. sing me a bar Nov 21, 2006 04:08 AM

      Just burn a couple of c notes to know how the arrival of the check will feel. Seriously, the branzino is one of the best I've ever had. Make sure they seat you UPSTAIRS!

      1. dkstar1 Nov 21, 2006 04:30 AM

        Agreed. Get a table upstairs. If your reservation is later than 9pm, I'd avoid the pasta tasting menu.

        Oh, and read HEAT by Bill Buford before eating there. Then again, maybe you'll want to read it afterwards.

        4 Replies
        1. re: dkstar1
          k
          Kanger Nov 21, 2006 02:03 PM

          Why avoid the pasta tasting menu if it's later than 9 pm?

          1. re: Kanger
            dkstar1 Nov 21, 2006 02:33 PM

            did you read Heat?

            Perhaps 9pm is wrong. I should have said "don't order it at 10pm". A decription of the chef's attitute and the quality of the pasta water at that hour leave much to be desired.

            1. re: dkstar1
              jakew8 Nov 21, 2006 03:07 PM

              Also, the tasting menus take a long time. We did one with a late rez (9:30 I think) and we were one of the last couples in the place at like 11:45. [This might be different on a Friday.] The staff wasn't rusing us, but we felt like we were rushing ourselves. We were racing with another couple to get out of there and not be the last!

              1. re: dkstar1
                k
                Kanger Nov 21, 2006 03:48 PM

                Interesting about the timing ... will keep that in mind whenever I finally get around to making a reservation. Thanks!

                Haven't read "Heat" yet, although I definitely plan to.

          2. Melanie Nov 21, 2006 01:14 PM

            Definitely get the Lamb's tongue vinigrette.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Melanie
              dkstar1 Nov 22, 2006 02:17 AM

              agreed. Fantastic dish.

            2. Peter Cuce Nov 21, 2006 01:21 PM

              Here are a thousand or so suggestions: http://www.chowhound.com/search/std?q...

              1. g
                gardengirl Nov 21, 2006 01:58 PM

                I loved the beef cheek ravioli and the pumpkin ravioli with sage butter. As two pastas to start they were the perfect compliment to one another.

                www.kitchencocktail.blogspot.com

                1. c
                  ChrisZ Nov 21, 2006 02:20 PM

                  Enjoy your meal.

                  BOth Tasting menus are great. But if a few things off the menu are of interest it would not be bad to go that route and share an app, split two pastas (I believe they will make this two courses)possibly an entree and dessert / cheese.

                  If you get either tasting menu I would recommend the wine pairings. The wine pairings work really well and in the past they have been more than generous with their pours.

                  1. jenniebnyc Nov 22, 2006 02:43 AM

                    I am going for dinner next month and we plan to get the pasta tasting. We are going at 5:45 and have to be at the Slava Snow Show in Union Square by 8 (leave the restaurant by 7:30). Enough time for the tasting?

                    1. makemestupid Nov 22, 2006 03:00 AM

                      definitely have the beef cheek ravioli and the mint love letters. . .both superb pasta dishes.

                      1. p
                        plf515 Nov 22, 2006 10:18 AM

                        Definitely sit upstairs.
                        Object if they seat you at the table near the restroom (we sat there once, not too pleasant.

                        Order things that you can't get everywhere. I think Batali does better with the more adventerous dishes.

                        My experience (different from some others) is that, while the food is absolutely fantastic, the staff leaves something to be desired. Figure out what you want to order from reading here, rather than asking the waiter (e.g., I once asked the waiter whether the portions were sized to accomodate an Italian dinner (app., pasta or soup, main, side) or American menu (App., pasta or main, side). He said that I could order what I wanted (just about that rudely, too!)

                        My only other problem with Babbo was the music, which I found too loud.

                        But everything I've eaten there has been great.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: plf515
                          p
                          Pan Nov 26, 2006 02:23 AM

                          Will they give half-portions of pasta if you're also ordering a secondo? Many other Italian restaurants will, for half price.

                        2. g
                          gastrognome Nov 22, 2006 10:24 AM

                          I thought that Babbo for the price is too inconsistent. Some items were spectacular, like the ribeye steak for two, the mint love letters raviolis, and the giant pork chop, others were just mediocre which im having a hard time remembering now, probably cause they were not very memerable. The salumi platter was a little disapointing, the only stand out on it was the cured lamb.

                          1. katp Nov 26, 2006 12:11 AM

                            Well, it was great, and thank you all for the tips (although I left before I read most of them). We sat upstairs and I was so elated most of it was a blur. For antipasto we had the roasted butternut squash and some sort of mushroom crepe stuffed with more mushrooms topped with a radichio salad (the name of that dish was all in italian which I obviously don't remember). For our pasta course we split one of the specials of the night, spaghettini (and I have NEVER had pasta cooked so PERFECTLY al dente) with cardoons, which I have never even heard of. It's in the celery family and they cooked it with lemon which left it almost tasting like a wonderfully tender aritchoke. I had the whole roasted branzino for my entree (sing me a note, i didn't read your post before I went but you were right). I am from South Louisiana and eat super fresh fish and seafood all of the time, and I can honestly say this was the most amazingly cooked piece of fish I have ever eaten. So tender and so simple, I forgot to use the lemon jam they gave me on the side until I was halfway through and they reminded me! My mother had lambchops which were perfectly cooked and very tender. For dessert we had the biscotti plate which turned out to be a plate of about 12-14 cookies with a dip in the center which was basically a cup of espresso with a dallop of chocolate gellato floating in it. I thought the service was amazing. Not overbearing and pretentious (especially considering we were obviously not local)and accomadating to all of our needs. Our server recommended a great wine (and I can't remember the name), some thing Italian, white, and dry and completely reasonably priced even though we stated we were willing to pay a more substantial amount. I was on a food high when I left and still not sure I am over it, I certainly hope to go back. I was expecting to be underwhelmed by the ambiance, service, and food for some reason, and I must admit they were all exceeded far beyond my wildest expection.

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