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Need some help from Babbo veterans

I will finally make my first journey to babbo in a few weeks. I am looking forward to the dinner having followed all the threads about it on this board for the last 2 years. For the first dinner here, would you recommend one of the tasting menus, particularly the pasta tasting or would you order from the menu and specials? Which is better for the first timer? Also, if we go the tasting menu route, can anyone comment on how their wine pairings worked out? Thank you for any and all advise

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  1. i think the pastas are superior to the secondi dishes at babbo. so yeah, i'd go for the pasta tasting menu! i've done it before and it was superb. go VERY hungry!!!!!
    i didn't do the wine pairings...so can't advise there.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ceeceee

      "go VERY hungry!!!!!"

      Best Babbo recommendation ever! Their portions are deceptively filling so if you're planning on having multiple courses, make sure you save room.

      My hands down favorite pasta there is the Papardelle with Chanterelles, Thyme, and Butter - unfortunately, the only time I've ever had was as part of the regular tasting menu, I'm not sure if it was offered a la carte.

      1. re: foodite

        Our waiter offered us any of the tasting-menu items as a la carte, so keep that in mind.

        Sounds delicious!

    2. as a former babbo diner and heaving worked in that diningroom for over 2 years i would recommend for the first time to not get the tasting menu but go ala carte. the signature dishes or stronger menu items all lie on the ala carte menus. particularly the beef cheek ravioli and the goose liver ravioli..ask the server what the best items are..order 2 apps followed by 2 pastas then 2 mains...you wont be disappointed

      3 Replies
      1. re: pieman

        I second that! I ate at Babbo twice earlier this year while working in Manhattan. My favorites off the menu are the Warm Lamb's Tongue vinaigrette, beef cheek ravioli, goat cheese tortelloni, mint love letters, fennel dusted sweetbreads, and grilled lamb chops scottadita. Enjoy!!

        1. re: onefoodguy

          Third that.

          I am going to have to add that the Tripe and Veal Chop are the two best things I have tried there.

          1. re: tpigeon

            I've only been to Babbo's once a long time ago, but when ever I think about that restaurant beef cheek ravioli is what comes to mind. I didn't realize it was a "signature dish" but I'm not surprised. Delicious, comforting and memorable and not something you could make at home. Obviously I would strongly recommend ordering it.

      2. I agree with Pieman, go ala cart and be inventive, let your taste buds and your server guide you. Also, ask the more than capable servers to pair wines with each course - that is the approach my gf and I took and it remains the most memorable meal I've had.

        1. I did the pasta tasting menu with the wine pairing at babbo the first time I went. Our reservation was at 10pm and we tried to starve ourselves the whole day before going (which may not have been such a good idea). The pasta tasting (if i remember correctly) is 5 courses of pasta and 3 courses of dessert. It was a VERY filling meal, by the time the 5th pasta came I was barely able to eat, and definitely feeling the wine. I was surprised by the amount of wine they poured, they pretty much poured a full glass for every course. So by the end of the meal I was definitely out of it. If you can drink a lot, I think the wine pairing is a pretty good deal, I think it's $50 extra? All in all I think it was a very delicious meal. I don't think you can get the same pasta anywhere else.

          1. I went to Babbo for the first time a week ago. We all ordered three couses ala carte and I was the most happy with my meel. I don't understand how anyone can eat an appatiser, pasta and then an entree. I had the grilled octopus which was very good, though I liked one friend's beet salad and another friend's squash just as much. For my main course I had a pasta dish, the beef cheek ravioli, and it was great!. Highly recomend it. My friend's were not as adventurous and two had the lamp chops, one had the pasta with lobter. All of that was fine, but there is no reason to go to Babbo if you are not prepared to be adventurous and order their signature dishes. The dessert was also fine.

            The waiter was very helpful in assising us with ordering an affordible bottle of wine.


            1 Reply
            1. re: maxine

              Yeah, how can you possibly have an appetizer, pasta, and entree without dessert? I totally agree :).

            2. sweet breads yummy,lambs tongue i wish i was there now

              1. Well no one mentioned the guinea hen so I will. If it still on the menu it is amazing. I would go a la carte, too, and certainly get all three courses..portions are not that large, as I remember.

                1. i went a few nights ago, got 1 appetizer, 2 pasta dishes, 2 entrees, and 2 desserts (all split equally with one other person). granted we were stuffed, but i wouldn't have given up any of the courses. favorites were the grilled octopus, pumpkin lune, the duck with sweet and sour cabbage, and the pistachio and chocolate semifreddo (probably the best dessert ive ever had in my life).

                  for a first time visit i think i'd go a la carte, maybe if you get a chance to go back you should try a tasting menu.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: saritaeatsnyc

                    i was there last week and agree that the pistachio dessert was outrageous! joe bastianich brought us over some freebies and this was one of them.

                    we got the pasta tasting and it was good, but a few things were not something i would order again...they were the baccala ravioli and believe it or not the beef cheek ravioli were not that great.

                    our favorites were the black tagliatelle with fried parsnip...really delicious and the pappardelle with bolognese.

                    i will go ala carte next time. that osso bucco looked incredible as did the linguini vongole!

                    also, i liked downstairs much better than upstairs.

                  2. I want to thank each of you for your recommendations. Unfortunately my dinner got pushed back a few weeks so now I have longer to wait. I will follow the general advice to go ala carte for the first trip and do the tasting menu on a return trip. The only question is if an appetizer, pasta and entree is too much food for one person. I would rather have too much than too little though.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bobby06877

                      I know it would be too much food for me but many people can do it.

                      Assuming you are dining with one other person, you may want to consider two apps, two pastas and then sharing an entree. And don't forget about dessert.

                    2. Let's face it Mario Rules.

                      1. MY RECOMMENDATIONS

                        Grilled Octopus

                        Beef Cheek Ravioli
                        Black Pepper Spaghetti with rock shrimp, spicy salami, and green chiles
                        [BTW: wasn't wowed by the pappardelle bolognese or the bucatini]

                        Duck with Cabbage and Pancetta
                        Barbecued Skirt Steak (with some sort of bone marrow sauce!)

                        1. I should have mentioned that we have a party of 3. Based upon the general consensus, we will go the ala carte route with 3 appetizers, 3 pastas and 3 entrees. I know it is a lot of food but I would rather have too much and leave with doggy bags than have too little. Now I get to tackle that 19 page wine list. Ouch. Thanks for all your advice and suggestions!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: bobby06877

                            If you like champagne...try the Franciacorto type sparkling wine.
                            It was delicious and served out of the magnum.

                            As for reds...we drank by the glass and the DonaLuna (or sounds like this) was delicious.

                            Definitely finish up with a moscato. They suggested an excellent one for me!

                          2. Speaking of Babbo is anyone planning to attend one of their Vintage Series dinners?
                            I would but the price tag ($695 pp) has me thinking.
                            January 22nd is the date for the first dinner.