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Babbo - Has This Happened To Anyone??? [moved from Manhattan board]

j
JD5761 Jan 2, 2007 10:34 PM

I had a reservation for a party of two at Babbo for 7:45 made 30 days in advance. When I called back with my confirmation number the day before on the phone number given by the restaurant when I made by booking, my reservation was confirmed for 10:45?? I indicated my reservation was for 7:45 and after a few minutes of is it possible the reservation is under another name line of questions, I was told that I had changed my reservation to 10:45 because of theatre tickets. What?? This was an out and out lie! Given that this reservation is for my husband and myself and I would be the only one making or changing any kind of a reservation it was ridiculous. The reservationist was adamant that we had changed the reservation.

It occurred to me after hanging up that someone more important called in needing my table at the decent hour of 7:45 and I was bumped. Needless to say we did not go to Babbo that night, and the incident has put me off the restaurant completely.

Has this happened to anyone else????????????

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  1. m
    markabauman RE: JD5761 Jan 2, 2007 10:41 PM

    Not there, but once in the Napa Valley; just a different approach. Showed up with a "confirmed reservation" only to be told that the place had been taken over for a private party at the last minute. Unfortunate that some high-end places treat regular people so shabbily as compared to their "VIP's". To me the best places treat everyone the same- like they're all important. There are some references in "Heat" to certain customers at Babbo. Referring to single-diners at the bar as "losers"; Mario going ballastic when someone didn't recognize a music producer, etc. Hey, this is NYC (insert Las Vegas, LA, etc.)

    1. c
      candyismmm RE: JD5761 Jan 2, 2007 11:06 PM

      It's stories like that which kill any and all desire to bother with Babbo.

      It's one thing to bump your reservation, it's another thing to insult you with that "theater tickets" line. Who makes dinner reservations AFTER the theater with the running time and travel all scheduled out? The worst part is you played the game. You gave them a reservation way in advance, and even called to confirm it - if they can't take care of their vips or handle walk ins without ruining somebody elses diner plans, then they better rethink things. You should complain.

      1. j
        JD5761 RE: JD5761 Jan 2, 2007 11:13 PM

        You're exactly right candyismmm, I did play their game and all the hoops that you have to jump through to get a reservation at Babbo. I was very angry at the time but it just re-affirmed to me that I will give my business elsewhere next time.

        1. l
          Lois53 RE: JD5761 Jan 3, 2007 03:34 AM

          I made a reservation at Babbo long-distance, probably close to six years ago. Got there on time for the 7:30 res, was seated at a beautiful table upstairs, and the bonus was seeing Mario Batali on my way out. Food was excellent, although the sommelier had a wee bit too much attitude, which was OK, since he knew what he was talking about. The second time I ate there, about a year later, I arrived about an hour early for my reservation and ended up eating in the bar area with my date. The wait staff could not have been more attentive, and the food was such a transcendant experience we forgot we were eating in the bar. I eat at top restaurants all the time, so this experience is not attributed to "starstruck celebrity" delusion.

          1. j
            JD5761 RE: JD5761 Jan 3, 2007 03:30 PM

            I agree Lois53 that Babbo is wonderful. Previous dining experience at the restaurant has been exceptional with both food and service and no one was looking more forward to the evening than I. My comment that someone more important than I called needing my reservation is my explanation of the reservation being changed because there is no other explanation. After calling 30 days in advance to snag a 7:45 reservation it is ridiculous to be told when confirming the reservation that I had changed it to 10:45. Whatever the circumstances it was their mistake and Babbo did not attempt to correct or please me, the customer.

            3 Replies
            1. re: JD5761
              k
              Kbee RE: JD5761 Jan 3, 2007 05:24 PM

              Actually, there is another possible explantion. Someone else called to change their reservation to 10:45 b/c of theater tix, not you, and they changed the wrong reservation. I think that is more likely than being bumped for someone more "important". I've worked at a few high end places (not as a host or reservationist, however) and I know most places would NEVER do that. Not saying it didn't happen, I just think it's unlikely. I do agree though that the hostess was dead wrong to argue with/blame you -- obviously you would know if you changed it or not, she should've immediately offered an apology for the mix-up and offered to fit you in.

              1. re: Kbee
                n
                nc213 RE: Kbee Jan 3, 2007 08:39 PM

                That's exactly what I was going to say. It's certainly possible, even likely, that it was an honest mistake. Someone clicks the reservation above or below yours, moves it and writes a note "changed from x to x b/c of theater tix," then someone else answers the phone when you call and reads the note back to you. It could happen easily.

                1. re: Kbee
                  Withnail42 RE: Kbee Oct 14, 2011 08:30 AM

                  That's what I was thinking someone got the names wrong and messed up the reservation. Still not acceptable.

              2. c
                chef poncho RE: JD5761 Jan 3, 2007 08:47 PM

                Couldn't agree more. I worked at one of the best French restaurants in NYC for a few years and the group of reservationists worked opposite shifts. Personally I know of a few times this happened to a group of "VIPS".

                1. f
                  fara RE: JD5761 Jan 5, 2007 12:22 AM

                  I ate at Babbo only once, after agreeing to take a walk in table at 11:15 at night. We still managed to have a full course meal.
                  However, the last time I tried to make a reservation, granted it was in February the shortest month, there was nothing within their 30 day limit before 10 pm. What is that? You know they're blocking out the prime time for "VIPS. "
                  However, eating there - you feel the service is impeccable, especially compared to some over-priced NYC restaurants. uhumm, like Le Bernardin.

                  1. s
                    sweetpotater RE: JD5761 Jan 5, 2007 12:47 AM

                    It doesn't matter if they did it on purpose or it was an honest mistake: there was no call for the reservationist to argue with you when you protested! That's the truly bad part. Babbo was one of the best meals of my life, but if that had happened to me, I would take my business elsewhere too (sadly. reluctantly. with great mourning for the squid ink pasta.)

                    1. n
                      niccdr RE: JD5761 Oct 12, 2011 07:11 AM

                      they bump people for amex centurian/plat card holders and vip/celebs- nothing personal, it is the way of nyc.

                      1. roxlet RE: JD5761 Oct 13, 2011 04:58 AM

                        I don't know if I would necessarily be paranoid about this since mistakes do happen. I had an experience many years ago where after a fabulous anniversary dinner at Lutece with lots of wine, we decided to cancel our reservations to see Bobby Short at the Carlyle Hotel. We rebooked for later in the week, and when we got there, the maitre 'd told us that we had gotten him into a lot of trouble. Apparently, despite the fact that my husband's last name is pretty unusual, it was the same as one of the regulars at The Cafe Carlyle. When we called to cancel our reservation, this other person's reservation had been cancelled instead, and when he showed up at the Cafe, the maitre 'd had insisted that this other person had cancelled his reservation. Weird things can happen, and people make mistakes.

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