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what not to miss at lupa and babbo and what is best place for mussels

I have friday night babbo and sat. at lupa...what is not to miss at each. Also who has best mussels ...garlic type etc.

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  1. the caramel gelato at Lupa.

    1. The pasta tasting menu at babbo was heavenly. I've never had anything like that before- it was sooo good. I felt kinda sick for an entire week because I ate too much from that meal, so beware.
      The main courses from Babbo were so so. The osso buco was disappointing. I prefer the entrees at Peasant. The osso buco and the tripe were spectacular. I also loved the ricotta cheese spread they served for the bread. It's actually quite tasteless but it just so good and so addictive!

      1 Reply
      1. re: jmeeee

        did you pair with wine? trying to keep cost down...and would rather spend on more food

      2. Cafe de Bruxelles on Greenwich for best moules frites.

        1. gnocchi at Lupa, sweetbreads at Babbo, and Cafe de Bruxelles for mussels

          1. I went to babbo and didn't have the pasta tasting, but my friends and I did order a few pastas--if you go that route, definitely get the "lune" (moon shaped ravioli) and the mint love letters with lamb sausage. I wasn't a fan of the lamb chops at Babbo. At Lupa, the antipasti are all very good to share (the beets were my favorite) and all the pastas I tasted were delicious--especially the Bucatini All’ Amatriciana.

            For mussels, I'd suggest Markt on 6th Avenue and 21st.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jrazzle

              I haven't been to Markt since they moved from the Meatpacking District to the new location and smaller space. Really liked the mussels there.

            2. I dined with my boyfriend at Babbo last night (Sunday). We had a 10pm res. and arrived on time. We were seated immediately, though there were many people standing about, waiting. After receiving menus/water/bread/amuse (chickpea bruschetta, which was fine), I began perusing the wine list. The lovely sommelier came over, offering his assistance. I told him I was looking for a Barolo or Amarone, fruit-forward, not too much earth, $200 range. He recommended a fabulous Amarone ($105) that was exactly what I was looking for. We looked at the tasting menus (pasta and traditional) and looked at the food around us - a few tables having the pasta tasting, some with the wine pairing. We opted to make up our own pasta tasting menu (the one listed had 3 dessert courses which we weren't so much interested in) with the help of our waiter. We started with the asparagus milanese - can't say enough good things about it. Perfectly cooked asparagus with a fried duck egg on top and grated parm. - YUM!!! We then had a pasta from the specials - tagliatelle with asparagus and crispy pancetta. Yeah, yeah, I know, 2 asparagus dishes in a row (our waiter mentioned that but we love asparagus!). Excellent. We then had the mint love letters - I read about them on this blog and they were always raved about. They were good (the pasta part was sublime) but, in our opinion, not enough spicy lamb to compliment the mint. Our third pasta of the night was gnocchi with oxtails - fantanstic! The gnocchi were airy pillows, a great partner to the decadently rich oxtail ragu. We were quite full and the dessert descriptions didn't blow us away, but I figured, might as well ask for a recommendation. So happy we did!! The pistachio semi-freddo was outstanding! I would have NEVER ordered it - it was not even on my radar of possibilities. We shared a glass of Montepulciano (also a rec. from the waiter) that was fabulous (at $16/glass, it's probably $64/bottle - awesome price for a delicious wine). There was one dish that we wished we'd had room for (a good excuse to return!). It was the steak (sorry, don't remember what cut) for 2. We were sitting right in the middle of the room, our backs to the table that seemed to serve as a splitting/resting spot. I think it's the best seat in the house as you get to see so much of the food and the servers are happy to tell you about dishes they're serving. The only negatives I have to say are ... 1. The music doesn't fit the room/atmosphere/food. It was an odd mix of Modest Mouse, some band I don't remember the name of, Ozzy Osbourne, Led Zeppelin, etc.
              I asked about the music and was told "it's Mario Batali's iPod". It is a very curious music choice to be played in a room that is very Restoration Hardware conservatively decorated (many cute, little 2 lamp sconces on the vanilla walls, large flower arrangement in the center of the room, back table filled with wine). I've worked in the restaurant/bar biz for 15+ years, and I found this dichotomous combination extremely odd. 2. The bread receives no spread/olive oil/butter - just a piece of bread on your plate. I thought perhaps it was a mistake, but looked at the other tables and saw it was the norm. All in all, a great meal experience.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chopchop

                I am with you on the Mint Loveletters. When we had it it was way way way to much mint without the lamb to balance it. Next time try the Garganelli - the mushroom one. It is amazing.

              2. As others suggested - can't go wrong with either Markt of Cafe de Bruxelles for mussels.

                1. the lamb's tongue vinigrette is the best thing I've ever eaten (Babbo)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Melanie

                    the octopus to start followed by the calamari lifeguard style at Babbo

                  2. When I went to Babbo, I was all set to try the lamb tongue or the beef check ravioli that Chowhounders always rave about. My first choice would have been the pasta tasting menu but I was dining solo so this wasn't an option. At the last moment, I decided against these choices because I wasn't sure I would like them. I would have been braver if I knew I could have shared them.

                    I chose the stricchetti with spring lamb and peas. Very good but thought I should have chosen a lighter dinner. Enjoyed it very much but would have enjoyed it more if the weather was cooler. I had a ragu with pasta at Lupa and it was very similiar.

                    However, I lucked out because another solo diner was sitting next to me at the bar. Turns out he was a former chef at a very high end restaurant in another city. Not only did I enjoy his conversation but he put one of his beef cheek ravioli on a plate along with a truffle and passed it over for me to try. I had never had beef cheek or truffle. It was delicious and I should have chose this as my main course.

                    By the way, what part of the animal is the cheek? His head or the other end? Whatever, it was very good and I would recommend this.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bearzie

                      They really are cheeks - his face, not the other end :)!