HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

Discussion

Babbo -- Twice in One Week Too Much?

Okay. I do not live in NY, but I have been trying for years to get into Babbo. I finally was able to obtain a reservation after two people called for two hours with two phones each for the end of May. I became worried that we might miss the reservation because of flight delays, etc. and decided to try to get another back-up reservation for the week we are going to be in NY. And, to my surprise, I got through on the second time I dialed the reservation line. I was going to give one of the reservations up, but the more I think about it, I think we may love it so much that we may want to go back a few days later. Am I crazy?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. not really.
    food is good, menu varied and the price reasonable.
    i'd go for it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: steve h.

      Ditto. It's one of the most popular restaurants in NYC! Who knows when you might get to go back! A person can only try so many dishes in a single sitting and the Babbo menu has great depths of delicious! Go twice and those of us who live here will even be jealous!

    2. I don't think you're crazy. I would keep both and decide after your first meal whether you want to go back. And, yes, I've indeed missed reservations before because of a flight delay. It happens.

      1. Well, we have been known to go to Eleven Madison Park, our favorite NYC restaurant, twice in one week. I have never been to Babbo, so that prevents me from giving an opinion as to whether I think it's worth going to twice in one week. However, if you really think you *might* want to do so, I would suggest you keep the second reservation for now. After your first meal there, if you decide that you love it to bits, then you're set with the second res. However, if you decide you'd prefer not to go again, you can cancel. Of course, you should check to see if there are any cancellation parameters and/or penalities.

        Edited to add: I did not see the two posts above before posting mine.

        1 Reply
        1. re: RGR

          RGR, you should go to Babbo. You're always recommending 11 Madison Park and Fleur de Sel, where my most recent experiences (last trip to 11 Madison Park, the only once since Humm took over, and one and only trip to Fleur de Sel) were disappointing, such that I have no interest in returning, but you have so far deprived yourself of the restaurant in New York where I've had my best meal in years. I want you to go to Babbo and see whether you like it as much or more than your current favorites.

        2. I think you should go twice, Babbo is one of my favorite restaurants and each time I go, I am torn between ordering a la carte or enjoying the tasting menus. If you go twice, you would have the opportunity to do both! what a great luxury!

          1. I've dined at Babbo twice in the same week and were very satisfied both times. We were there last night and I wouldn't mind going back tonight.

              1. You'd be crazy to give up one of the reservations.

                Enjoy!

                1. If you want to go three times walk-in and ask to sit at the bar; 5:00 is usually a good idea. But if you want the whole dinning room experience keep your reservations. I never knew getting a resy there was so hard. I guess I am spoiled from living in NYC.

                  1. Think of all the calories though

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: cmballa

                      no, don't. :)

                      do, however, try both the pasta and non-pasta tasting menus. or do the pasta tasting on the first go and order a la carte on the second.

                      1. re: cimui

                        I was surprised that Babbo would not accommodate a table of four, three of which wanted the non-pasta tasting, and one the pasta tasting. They have the same number of dishes, they pace is the same, our wine was going to work; it really shouldn't have been a problem.

                        Alinea will make you a vegan tasting if you want it. I think that's a bit extreme, but I appreciate the accommodation.

                    2. I can eat there 7 days aweek!! not kidding!! Presently i dine at Spigolo on the upper east about 7 days aweek-its italian influenced and sorta difficult to get reservations but i eat at bar.

                      1. Maybe too much $$ - but if that's not an issue, go for it. It will save you some menu stress.

                        1. Definitely overrated in my opinion. I've tried their beef cheek ravioli, gnocchi, pork chops, and calamari appetizer-- nothing extraordinary.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: VillageGirl

                            ahh,

                            there's where we differ. i find the pasta to be of very high quality. the salumi is exceptional and the pigs feet, well, i think of them long after i've left.

                            babbo to me is not a special destination. it's a place i go to with some frequency with full knowledge that the meal will be satisfying. wines are good, barkeeps entertaining. it's all good.

                            1. re: VillageGirl

                              Well, the Casunzie were one of the best pasta dishes I've ever had, and the ravioli-type things (I'm forgetting the name) with foie gras in them were pretty great, too.

                            2. Thanks, everyone! We are going to keep the second reservation and plan on going to
                              Babbo twice. We are very excited. I will report back on this board on both trips!

                              1. Definitely go both times. The menu has so many great items that you are going to want to try. Going twice gives you this luxury and you will love it I guarantee you!

                                1. Are they still playing classic rock during the meal? I was definitely turned off to be eating my app during a thrashing guitar riff and then eating my entre to The Cars. Our waiter was a prick, the maitre'de was obnoxious and the food was unfortunately mediocre.

                                  The sommelier, however, was fantastic. Maybe I should have ordered pasta instead of cockles or the lamb entre, but nonetheless, I expected the food to be stellar, especially considering the difficulty of getting in.

                                  Maybe I'm a fluke customer. I hope so.

                                  13 Replies
                                  1. re: vyieort

                                    I went about a month ago and did not hear any rock music that people talk about (although that would not bother me anyway). I sat upstairs which may make a difference. Don't know if it is louder downstairs. But it is nice for a restaurant to be somewhat lively. I don't mind hearing some music while I am dining- you don't want to feel like you are at a funeral or library you know.

                                    1. re: steakrules85

                                      Downstairs is definitely louder and more raucous than upstairs. I'm not a big fan of rock music so I prefer the upstairs seating, but downstairs isn't usually obnoxious.

                                    2. re: vyieort

                                      the music is one of the defining attributes of Babbo, it helps to create a certain vibe and energy that very very few places have...if you cant enjoy the Stones and some beef cheeks, Babbo aint for you...

                                      1. re: vyieort

                                        I'd say vyieort should steer clear of Babbo, Lupa and Casa Mono. Rock music is all they play and mixes well with the stellar dishes.

                                        1. re: RCC

                                          steakrules85:
                                          I love music. Like, almost as much as I love food. So, naturally, I love eating to music. But—feel free to call me weird now—I don't want to eat an expensive Italian meal to bad hair bands, 80's rock hits, and one-hit wonders.

                                          Cpalsm:
                                          I like the Stones, and if that was all they played, well, than it would probably be a better—though stale after a while—vibe. Neither the decor nor the food matches the musical vibe. The only thing that does is the rock-star attitude of some employees there. Babbo ain't for me, but it has more to do with the mediocre food and the attitude.

                                          RCC:
                                          There is nothing about the food at Babbo or Lupa (I've never been to Casa Mono) that would lend itself for a wonderful pairing with the Cars, Poison, or Heart. Stellar dishes, debatable. Stellar pairing, far from it.

                                          1. re: vyieort

                                            I've actually never noticed the music at all at Casa Mono one way or the other, and I would have thought that I would have were it out of place.

                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                Would you recommend Casa Mono? It sounds like you're a repeat customer.

                                                1. re: vyieort

                                                  Absolutely. It's one of our favorite places to go for a late lunch on the weekends. I've never been to dinner. Some posters, rightly, point out that it is very cramped in terms of seating, but once I've been seated, it's really never bothered me. The Spanish wine list is excellent, and I've pretty much enjoyed everything I've eaten there.

                                                  1. re: vyieort

                                                    i like casa mono a lot. it's not fancy. the room is tiny and cramped but the cool thing is that it's filled with regulars and people who want to be regulars. sometimes i go there after a yankees day game and hang out at the bar. sometimes wife and son meet me there. other times i show up solo at prime time without a reservation and cool my jets next door at bar jamon until the hostess pops over to escort me back (she carries my cava. nyc is not new orleans).

                                                    at the end of the day, casa mono is cramped, crowded and loud. the food is very good. i like it a lot.

                                                2. re: vyieort

                                                  I've never found the music obtrusive at Lupa, but in their front room, the customers are louder (I prefer the back room when I can get it).

                                              2. re: vyieort

                                                We were there late, and during dessert, they were playing Guns 'n Roses. My brother said he couldn't believe they were playing that, but we enjoyed it. We sort of pegged the restaurant as a relaxed, fairly informal place for people rich enough to be regulars, but also hospitable to first-timers like us. But, sadly, apparently not you. I'm disappointed to hear that you had lousy service, and I hope they have since fired the people responsible for that. By the way, like steakrules85, we were upstairs.

                                              3. personally i think 1x in one year is too much babbo but thats just me.

                                                1. I'd keep both reservations as others have suggested, but I'm not sure I'd go twice to Babbo. It's fantastic -- one of my two or three favorite high end places in the city. But there are so many exceptional restaurants in NYC, I encourage you to diversify.

                                                  1. No. You can have two completely different dinners there. It's wonderful! Enjoy!

                                                    1. I don't think you're crazy... just braggin'. I'm jealous.

                                                      1. not crazy, just lame...

                                                        this is the kind of question that makes me growl and curse...(similar to the posts which read something like: "Oh no! Babbo and Lupa are booked, so should i try Esca or just starve?! I've never been to NY but it's Batali food or nothing for me!")

                                                        putting aside the fact that i personally dislike Batali's restaurants and won't go to them, why put all your hopes and excitement into any single restaurant that you've never been to...if you're visting NYC, we have a good 10,000+ restaurants to choose from...if you go to Babbo and love it: great...i'm always happy to hear someone had a delcious and enjoyable meal, even if it's at somewhere that i don't care for myself...

                                                        But if you're visiting NYC for a week or so, why not try somewhere else too?...if the Babbo meal is great, why not enjoy it heartily and then move on and compare it w/ somewhere else? (Convivio, Scarpetta, Hearth, or even some of the mellower places in the East or West Village)...if it's not so great, why go back?...either way, going twice during a short visit wouldn't be my rec...

                                                        If it becomes your favorite place, sure, enjoy...but why surrender to the hype before you've even formed a first-hand opinion...

                                                        4 Replies
                                                          1. re: Simon

                                                            Simon, how many of the Batali restaurants have you been to, and what did you dislike about the experience? I like Hearth but have never had a meal there that was close to the deliciousness of my one Babbo dinner so far. It might be better than Lupa; I'm not sure, but it's about twice as expensive, and Babbo isn't much more expensive than Hearth. The other places you mention have yet to get a visit from me.

                                                            1. re: Pan

                                                              hi Pan...i've been to Babbo (twice), Lupa (many times), Otto, Esca, Casa Mono, and Spotted Pig...i've gone into detail here many times about my loathing for Batali restaurants and for the sheep-like movement towards them, so i don't want to go too much into it again and re-rant, but in a nutshell:

                                                              a) horrendous and consistently obnoxious hosting/hostessing across all the restaurants, so much that is appears that being a *^#*% seems to be a requirement for being hired there,

                                                              b) a generally snide attitude from the staff that one should be lucky to be dining there and not vice-versa,

                                                              c) consistently oversalted food

                                                              d) some lackluster dishes (which would be easier to overlook once in a while if not for problems a, b, and c)

                                                              As i've said in the past, there are dishes i've really enjoyed (the pancetta-wrapped porcini at Babbo, the brussels sprouts at Lupa), but at my second meal at Babbo, the food was mediocre: i sent back my salad, and the pork chop was bland...on my very last (and last ever) visit to Lupa about a year and a half ago, the hostess was so obnoxious that if my gf and i hadn't been waiting for her parents (who were visiting from Japan and meeting us there), we would have walked out...

                                                              I'd almost make Casa Mono an exception, despite some problems there too, but after a recent unpleasant and almost-accidental re-visit to The Spotted Pig, my across-the-board boycott stays...

                                                              1. re: Simon

                                                                If I had had your experiences, I'd boycott, too.