BABBO review - please comment
my brooklyn pal, a real foodie, went w/ his girlfriend for her bday last night and emailed me his review this am, which i have permission to share. i thought you all would find it amusing and grist for discussion. i havent been in awhile, what are your reactions to this screed?
my take is babbo's a bit of a hoax. all perfectly acceptable but . . .
something a little off, details are ill-considered, and left feeling a
little shookied. highly overrated.
that downstairs bar and holding pen area is ghastly. overheated and
crowded. almost fainted waiting for jen to arrive.
the upstairs room is nice but for some reason noticed the tacky suburban
paella windows with the handcranks. very weird. matched the cleintele
in a nice waym, though.
our waiter was a super guy but the rest of the staff was really
annoying. couldn't wait to snatch the empty plates, clanking sh*t on
placing it, really kind of appalling. that theatrical effect of having
more staff on the floor than diners in the place is really terrible.
everyting in constant motion, made me a little nauseous, like eating in
a speeding car. unneccessary and obtrusive.
in retrospect always wish we'd ordered four apps, cheese, and three
desserts in these kinds of situations. the mains were dull and
unfocussed. there were like three steaks on the menu, plus a pork chop,
and too much fish. dullsville.
lamb's tongue with poached quail egg is a great dish. the grilled
octopus was fantastic. top shelf.
bannana cake and gelato was good. dude-- ordered this west indies rum
called pyrat. holy cow. so much for the whisky and tequila fetish.
this is the real deal.
give me a buzz later so i can kevtch some more.
What exactly does he think the "hoax" is?
It's not a terribly expensive restaurant (in fact, the pasta tasting menu is very fairly priced as are some of the a la carte dishes), the service, for the most part is usually very good, an excellent and reasonably priced wine list.
The front/bar room is always crowded - no surprise there - and it should be...It's an 18' (+/-)wide townhouse, not one of these MePa monstrosities.
Babbo has made a name for itself because the food (especially the pastas) are often very good and sometimes fantastic, the atmosphere is fun (loud but good music in a semi-formal setting seems like the best of both worlds to me), the prices aren't complete rip offs and the people that get a table give off a vibe of being happy to be there. If you are paying too close attention to the fact it has pella windows, you are missing the point.
I gotta mostly agree with dkstar on this one. It's not that mrnyc's friend said anything inaccurate ( I too am annoyed by the overcrowding). It's just that Babbo doesn't present itself as anything but loud, crowded, and casual. It's absurd to suggest this is a hoax. That said, I do wonder if the Michelin star creates some sort of false expectation about atmosphere and/or level of service.
expense is relative, though. pastas are $20-25 and entrees $20-30, and while that's "normal" for nyc it still constitutes a pricey night out for me - especially with wine added. i enjoyed the couple of business dinners that i had there, but if i'm going to spend what for me is quite a bit then i would prefer somewhere less loud, less rushed, and with more even service. i can kind of understand mr.nyc's friend's complaints, even if they're a bit unfocused.
Yeah, no clue what his complaint is either - no one ever said the mains are fantastic - although I think the Quail is excellent. They have a great wine list and the lambs tounge dish is out of this world - plus he found a new favorite digestif - sorry they don't use Anderson Windows man.
No mention of the pastas? Hmmmm. Without the pastas, I agree that Babbo may not be worth the hype. But sharing the the lamb's tounge and a few pastas as well as something from that incredible wine list...wow. That put you in the zone. Oh well. To each his own.
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