The long awaited meal at Babbo...
After the incredible 2 hour lunch at Jean Georges, my stomach could not fathom being further fed but my mind had other plans. Since I was unable to get reservations at Babbo (which you all know), my friend and I hustled to the restaurant before opening time to secure one of the six tables available for the walk-ins. When we got there, there was already a line forming outside. Fortunately we were the sixth couple in line and was able to secure the final table available. Woohoo! We were excited!
I had initially wanted to order the tasting menu but after having perused the list, there was just too much food to eat so Dar and I opted to form our own smaller menu by ordering a la carte. We started off with the recommended Antipasti of Lamb's Tongue Vinaigrette served with the 3 minute Egg. The tongue was thinly sliced and tender like a filet. Enriched by the luscious yolky egg but cut by the tart vinaigrette and sweet roasted tomatoes, the concoction was well balanced.
The antipasti was followed by two types of pasta: Pasta Lune filled with Sweet Potato and served with Sage Butter and Amaretti, and Beef Cheek Ravioli served with shaved Truffles and Crushed Squab Liver. The Pasta Lune was filled with silky squash and the Raviolis were filled with a stewed beef cheek that tasted like it was cooked for hours. I found the pasta dough to have been a little too al dente but otherwise, the dishes were very good.
Ok, quick tangent...While we were eating, Luke Wilson came in with his blonde date and stood at the bar behind my friend. I was shocked to see how handsome he was. Tall with a trim, lean build, he was very striking and his date seemed very smittened. Cute couple. Apparently the bar at Babbo is the place to be...lots of trendy folks and stars flock to this small, elegant restaurant. I definitely need to come back here. :oD
Though pasta is often recommended on here over the other dishes at Babbo, we went with an entree nevertheless. We ordered the Roasted Veal Loin coiled in Sage and Housemade Pancetta and served with Caramelized Cauliflower. The loin was perfectly roasted with a salty bacony crispy crust and soft, moist rare center. Hot damn, this was the dish that rocked the night. It was incredible.
After all that food, we still managed to squeeze in dessert (Yes, the miracles of having a stretched stomach. Be jealous kids, be jealous...). Dar ordered the Lemon and Blueberry Crostata served with Buttermilk Gelato, which was delish. The crostata crust was so flaky and buttery, I was greatly impressed. It was my favorite part of the dessert. I had ordered the Gelati and Sorbetti tasting, which consisted of Hazelnut, Almond, Chocolate, Expresso Gelatos and Mango and Blood Orange Sorbets. Gosh, I love good ice cream and these were exceptional.
A plate of Petit Fours marked the ending to our meal. It was fabulous and it was fun. Thanks again for all the recommendations!
Another great review!
A couple of questions:
1-What time did you have to get to Babbo to get one of the tables, and then how long did you have to wait?
2-Which meal did you enjoy more, Babbo or Jean George?
Thanks for your reviews!
PS- how much alka seltzer did you need after doing two MAJOR meals within a few hours of each other??? :)
I had chosen to go to Babbo on a Friday evening, so I had anticipated a large crowd. My friend and I arrived at the restaurant door at 4:45pm and there were 5 couples already ahead of us. I would recommend arriving at the restaurant by 4:30pm just to be sure you get a table for the first dinner service. Otherwise, you'll have to wait until the next turn around, which will probably be at 7:30.
-We did not have to wait too long before being seated. I'd say, the door officially opened at 5pm and we were seated at 5:30pm. Food came out pretty quickly after that.
As for which meal I enjoyed more, I'll have to veer more towards Jean Georges. Every dish I had was cooked, seasoned, and served perfectly. The overall experience was polished. This is not to say that Jean Georges is better than Babbo but it just happens that my palate matched Jean Georges style of cooking more than Babbo's. Babbo's is a fantastic restaurant. I enjoyed the food greatly but there were some flaws here and there that set it apart from being perfect. The dining experience there is more cramped and hurried, but much more casual, sceney and trendy. Though a little stiff, dining at Jean Georges is better paced, unhurried, and definitely more of a pampering experience as a whole.
You know, I was ready to pop in some Pepcids but with all the walking I did after each meal, I was able to digest the food pretty steadily. Oh, I forgot to mention that I also did breakfast at Sfoglia just two hours prior to my lunch at Jean Georges. :oD
BTW, here's a mini review of my breakfast at Sfoglia...
The restaurant is a tiny hidden gem, the kind that you would often find amongst the beautiful lush greeneries in the countryside of Italy, or so I believe it to be. The one room is filled with warm glowing lights from the charming chandeliers and brightness of the skylight shining through the large windows. Filled with a few long wooden tables unadorned with nothing but big metal vats filled with fresh picked lemons and flowers, the restaurant is warm and inviting, and perfect for a gathering of friends mulling over great literature, history, and art. Indeed, I believe that was what was happening over in the corner table when I walked in. Greeted by a handsome waiter, I was brought to the other long table where a pot of Chamomile Tea and a plate with slices of a Frittata and Croissant style bread greeted me. Ok, so I had to order it first....but it sounded so much better saying it the other way. Oh, the internal struggles of my mind as I write. But I digress...:oP The Frittata I had at Sfoglia was soft, fluffy, buttery, filled with Spring Onions, Carmelized Shallots, and Parmagiano. It was heavenly. A perfect little breakfast for a perfect day.