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Apr 11, 2008 10:19 AM

I have a new enemy. His name is Mario Batali.

Sorry if you are all tired of reading these posts, but I am getting frustrated with planning this parental visit! We were planning to go to Del Posto on Mother's Day, but when I called to book this morning, I found out that they're offering just a set 5-course menu, without the option of ordering from the regular menu. Irritating! We really wanted to go for the full experience, and as my mother doesn't eat fish, she wanted the freedom to choose from their non-fish options. Anyway, I made a reservation for Saturday instead, but had to take a very early time, which will likely interfere with our other plans for the day. On a whim, I called Babbo to see if they were doing a mother's day special thing, and they're not, so I booked it for Sunday.

Now I've got two reservations and I'm not sure which one I want to keep. We've been to Babbo before and absolutely loved it - it's my favorite restaurant in the city, other than Per Se. I try not to repeat restaurants with my parents, since they're not here very often, but they LOVE Mario Batali and I'm sure they would enjoy a repeat visit to Babbo. The menu is quite a bit different now than it was when we were there anyway. However, my dad was eager to check out Del Posto, just for the newness factor. From the reviews I've read, it sounds like Del Posto is a little disappointing if you've been to Babbo, and comes with a higher price tag. Quite honestly, their menu doesn't excite me all that much on paper, but it could be a much different story in person. Anyway, I know you hounds have all weighed in on the Babbo vs. Del Posto issue before, but in my shoes, WWYD? Babbo on Sunday (which doesn't interfere with any other plans) or Del Posto on Saturday (which does interfere with other plans and would come on the tail of a trip to LI wine country)? Or another place altogether?

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  1. First Daniel Boulud? (How dare he allow some rich person to buy out Daniel!) Now Mario Batali? (How dare he allow Del Posto to only serve a set 5-course prix-fixe for Mother's Day!) biondanonima, you're a hoot! lol

    As someone who has been to neither Del Post or Babbo, I can't offer any advice on which to choose. However, if you prefer to do the one you've not been to before, i.e., Del Posto, and the wine country trip poses a problem, why not switch that to Sunday?

    4 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      I know, right???? Don't these people know that their purpose in life is to accomodate ME??? LOL!

      Anyway, I would switch the wine country trip but we have to go to church on Sunday morning in Connecticut (BF and I are opera singers, so church choir is our second job). It would take forever to get out to LI after spending the whole morning in CT, unfortunately.

      1. re: biondanonima

        Hmmm... Well, how about this? The folks who own Lupa just today opened a new restaurant, Bar Milano, and Lupa's chef is in charge of the kitchen. So, maybe, Batali by extension? :-)) Obviously, no reports yet, but one would imagine the food will be good. The dinner menu reads delicious. Here it is:

        Edited to add: I just read your post on the Daniel-Is-the-Enemy thread. So, I guess you won't be needing this suggestion. Glad to hear that your plans are now set.

        1. re: RGR

          Oooh, that looks REALLY good. I'll add it to my list for next time - and if the prices are Lupa-ish, it might not even have to wait for a parental visit!

          1. re: biondanonima

            Here's a short bio of the Denton brothers. Of particular interest is the comment by Joe that he envisions Bar Milano as "a fun three-star place."


    2. Ha ha. You're making a lot of enemies in NYC. Soon you'll have Ripert and Jean-Georges on your list. ; )

      If your parents are huge Batali fans and you don't want to repeat Babbo, have you considered Lupa or Casa Mono? Though you may want to check with Lupa about a special Mother's day menu as I was there during Easter and had to order off the special menu.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Miss Needle

        Just as long as I don't make an enemy of Thomas Keller I'll be okay ; )

        Anyway, thanks for the suggestions, but we've been to both Lupa and Casa Mono (and Otto). They loved all 3, but Babbo was by far the favorite and IMHO, the most special of the bunch (and we want a special place for Mother's Day!). I may drag them to Otto after Babbo though just for a pint of olive oil gelato to take home!

      2. I'd say go with Babbo. I understand not wanting to repeat, but since you all love it it would probably make a perfect mother's day meal. Other options if you want to stay with Batali are Sunday at Lupa or Esca. Ooops--sorry no Esca for the non-fish eating mom, but I do think Lupa would be nice.

        1. ARGH!!!!!!!!!! I think the real title of this thread should be MY FATHER is my enemy! I just spoke with him about all the various options, and he said that he'd rather go to Aquavit for dinner since we've already been to Babbo (after telling me that he wanted to do Aquavit for lunch instead of Jean-Georges before Daniel, per my other thread on this exasperating topic). He could have told me this hours ago, but of course, he didn't. So, sorry Mario! You're off my sh*t list! I still love you and your orange clogs!

          8 Replies
          1. re: biondanonima

            So does this mean you now have a lunch to figure out? I have to say, I envy you, as my father gets sticker shock everytime he comes to NYC, so no fine dining for us!

            1. re: MMRuth

              Nope, he decided that he was okay with JG before Daniel. I need to move the res back to 12pm though, to give us as much digestion time as possible between.

              LOL on the sticker shock. I am REALLY lucky in that regard - my parents live in a very small town in the middle of nowhere with absolutely NO decent dining options within 50 miles. I mean, when they go out to dinner, it's usually because they have to for some reason, and they usually go to Bennigan's because it's the nicest restaurant in town. There's not even a decent chinese place! They're very into food, though, especially my father, and whenever they visit me here they want to go to the restaurants of the chefs that they read about in Gourmet or see on the Food Network, etc. They probably had sticker shock the first time, but they've gotten over it - I think they figure that since they NEVER spend money at home, they can go crazy when they're here (and in Chicago, where my sibs live - Charlie Trotter and Alinea, much?). Thank goodness, because there's no way I'd be able to afford all these places myself!!!!!

            2. re: biondanonima

              Take both your parents to Aquavit on saturday. Go to Babbo with your mom on mom's day.

              1. re: racer x

                We've decided to stay in and cook on Saturday - we'll be tired (and possibly a little drunk) from the wine tastings and my dad wants to try out my new kitchen anyway. Thanks for the suggestion, though! Does anyone want my 6:15pm reservation for Babbo on Mother's day?

                1. re: biondanonima

                  I never go out on Mother's Day! But wait! I'm now totally confused. I thought your dad was trying out your new kitchen earlier in the week. And what are you doing on Mother's Day instead of Babbo? Have you changed the whole plan around? Maybe you've discussed this on the Daniel-Is-the-Enemy thread....

                  1. re: RGR

                    Yes - it's in the other thread - all resolved!

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      Yes, I just went back there, and it's a case of faulty memory on my part. When I looked at her post with the final plan, I realized that I had read it earlier.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        LOL, sorry guys - I shouldn't have started two enemy threads I guess! But yes, it's all resolved and I think the new plan is good, even though Mario Batali isn't involved. I had a moment of weakness and thought about reserving Esca and cancelling Olana, but I looked at their menu and their non-fish options are limited to the point where my mother might not be able to eat at all! We'll get to Del Posto eventually. I've warned my parents that mother's day is henceforth off limits for visiting NYC! Too many enemies lurking!

              2. It sounds like you have answered your own question:
                your parents LOVE Batali
                Babbo is one of your top 2 favorite restaurants
                you wouldn't have to stick to a very limited number of meal choices at Babbo
                you were able to reserve a reasonable seating time on your preferred day at Babbo

                Based on all of that, how could it be anything other than Babbo?

                2 Replies
                1. re: racer x

                  Because my father is a (loveable) pain in the rear. I ask for his opinion, he says "whatever you think is best," I scramble to come up with options and he decides something totally different. LOL.

                  1. re: biondanonima

                    Dining anywhere on Mother's Day is usually a nightmare, so don't judge wherever you end up, based on a Mother's Day dining experience.