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babbo on saturday-- any suggestions?

My girlfriend and I are making our first-ever trip to Babbo this weekend-- do people have any tips? We're debating the tasting menu vs. splitting an entree for two (like the deconstructed osso buco), for example. Also, are there any specials or dishes that, if available, we should eat at all costs? Thanks!

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  1. Pasta Pasta Pasta. Or tatsting menu.

    1. When my significant other and I go, we usually end up just ordering a la carte and splitting everything rather than doing the tasting menu. For Antipasti, the Warm Lamb's Tongue Vinaigrette is a favorite. For Primi, the Mint Love Letters and the Goose Liver Ravioli are both standouts (the ravioli is so rich I don't see how one person could eat the whole dish and eat anything after that). All of the pastas are outstanding and you cannot go wrong with any of them. If you are going for a tasting menu, you might consider the pasta tasting. In all honesty, while I do really like the sweetbreads, guinea hen and quail, we have often found the secondi somewhat less inspiring than the pastas. However, for your first time, you will probably want to try them, but you can still probably do just as well picking among the dishes that sound most appealing to you and going a la carte. Also, for what it is worth, depending on what you are looking for, just know that downstairs is more crowded and noisier than upstairs (we usually just sit at the bar or at one of the unreserved tables in front, and don't mind the noise, but for a more relaxing first time there, if you don't want to be sitting with your neighbors, you might want to see if you can sit upstairs). Enjoy!!

      1. Pasta tasting menu!! You won't regret it. Start starving yourself now, though, it's a ton of food!

        If you do go a la carte, though, I second the recommendation of the Mint Love Letters. Exquisite!

        1. While currently very down on Batali establishments in general, i can highly recommend the roasted porcini mushrooms wrapped in pancetta...

          sidenote: you might want to read Bill Buford's book "Heat", which features several chapters detailing the inner workings of Babbo's kitchen...

          1. Thanks for the suggestions-- very helpful.

            1 Reply
            1. re: williej33

              Was just there for my birthday last month with the family and we ate almost everything on the menu! Definitely save lots of room so that you can sample a lot. You can't go wrong but I was less wowed by the mint love letters than others and would actually recommend the garganelli with funghi more highly. Lamb's tongue vinaigrette is out of this world, agreed on that. I thought the sweetbreads were outstanding too.


            2. From my experience, and reading many other posts on this board, the appetizers and pastas are more standouts than the entrees. I would recommend splitting several appetizers (octopus and lamb's tounge vinegarette) and three pastas (definitely the mint love letters and either beef cheeks or goose liver ravioli). The pumpkim lune and three goat cheese tortelloni are also great. If you are both big eaters, you could split four pastas.

              1 Reply
              1. re: tgarvich

                I gotta say that the veal chop (especially) and the pork chop compete very well with the best apps and pastas - though I will admit, they are not as creative or as adventurous.

              2. Their first move, (especially if you're new to the place), is to try and seat you at the back on the ground floor. Request seating upstairs. It's worth waiting for. If anyone wants fish, the branzino is usually very good. Attitude 'a plenty, so bring your attitude deflector!

                1. Thanks for everyone for the advice-- we had an amazing dinner. The sweetbreads, love letters, grilled octopus, and lamb's tongue were the highlights, but everything we had was excellent. Also, we got a seat upstairs as suggested and the service was very attentive. Thanks to team chowhound, we felt like seasoned veterans up there.