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Sweetbreads @ Babbo

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I have been hearing so many raves about the sweetbreads at Babbo, I have to ask, what do they taste like? I'm a pretty adventurous eater, but deal breakers for me tend to be texture. I don't like food with fat on it, in fact if I accidentaly get any fat in my mouth, I'm finished eating, and texture can also be a problem. For example, I love calamari and octopus, but can't do tripe. I love chopped liver but can't do liver itself because of texture and marrow is an absoulte no. So, can anyone describe sweetbreads for me?

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  1. You won't like it. I'm being facetious here. I've never had the sweetbreads at Babbo. But I have had them at Lupa and they're great. They're not fatty in the way that marrow is, but they do have a texture not entirely dissimilar to liver--certainly not chewy like calamari or octopus. See if you can someone else to order it and take a taste, but given your texture issues I don't think it would be a good idea to get an entire order for yourself.

    1. I actually was unimpressed the one time I had them. Their tripe on the other hand is the best in the universe.

      1. Texture is probably more similar to liver than calamari. I don't think you'll like it. A friend of mine had a very interesting description of them. When we were eating at Craftbar, she said it tasted like cake batter. So picture something tasting like a savory cake batter while having a texture more like liver but not as granular.

        1. I don't know how Babbo does them, but sweetbreads can be prepared in a variety of ways w/ different textures (just trying to make this more complicated for you). The most accessible way is the simplest: thinly sliced, breaded and sauteed crisp. The most squeamish preparations are (IMO) usually whole, poached/braised sweetbreads served as a main course.

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          1. re: tbear

            Babbo dredges their sweetbreads in flour, fries them, and then adds a glaze with orange, then it is dusted in fennel. The treatment is somewhat similar to Chinese-American food, i.e., Orange Chicken. However, the sweetbreads are still rich and creamy, and somewhat fatty, so I am not sure OP would enjoy the texture.

          2. Totally agree with all the posters so far-Babbo does a nice version of it but from your description of what you like and don't like-you won't like! Go with someone who does and have a taste-at the end of your meal. BTW just went there last night for second time-I wanted to give it another try since my first visit at bar last week was lackluster-and OMG- sat in dining room upstairs-what a nice time we had and the food was superb!

            1. I just ate at Babbo tonight and it was a truly memorable experience-- sampled a bunch of different dishes with my family, but my entree was the sweetbreads. I had never eaten sweetbreads prior to tonight and Babbo's were fantastic. I consider myself an adventurous eater and wanted to try something new and flavorful-- there is a lot going on in this dish. The sweetbreads are coated in flour and fried, served in a light mushroom broth, with bacon and pickled/caramelized onions, with an orange-ish preserve. Absolutely delicious. I would compare the texture of sweetbreads (and, like you, I am sometimes turned off by peculiar textures like that of liver) to a spongy chicken. I know this might sound insulting to connoisseurs and Mr. Batali, but for the sake of comparison I'm going to say it anyway: they were similar (IN TEXTURE) to Chicken McNuggets; that crispy, fried exterior with a softer, spongy interior. The taste is completely unique and delicious, really creamy tasting. You must try them.

              1. I haven't had them at Babbo, but I made them tonight for the first time and they tasted and had the texture of a cross between a scallop and liver. I think if you can find or make sweetbread croquettes you'd be able to eat them with no problem.