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May 5, 2008 11:56 AM

Babbo's booked. Now what?

After days of Chowhound research, I made the decision to take my group of 6 to Babbo this Thursday. Who'da thunk I needed to make reservations 1 month in advance. So now I'm stumped.

I need a place that has a menu interesting enough to keep the foodies in our group happy, but straight-forward enough that the meat & potato set doesn't get scared off. Somewhere within fairly quick striking distance of Penn Station is ideal. Not too interested in a French Bistro.

I've been mulling over Pepolino, Tribeca Grill and Crave. Perilla is my personal fave, but I think the non-foodies would have a hard time finding something they'd enjoy.

Any and all reco's appreciated.


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  1. Have you tried Lupa? I often find that calling, rather than using Open Table, has worked. I've read good things about Pepolino, but haven't tried it yet.

    6 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      Isn't Lupa another Batalli restaurant? Family style? If so, my worry again is the picky eaters in the group. I would like to try it though.

      1. re: Davedigger

        It is a Batali restaurant, but I wouldn't call it family style. There are lots of antipasti that one could share, but one could choose not to as well. Their prosciutto is excellent. My husband had some lamb short ribs there last weekend that should delight any carnivore/picky eater!

        Of course, it's not near Penn Station, but neither is Babbo.

        1. re: MMRuth

          I'll take another look at it. Thanks!

          I'm not from NYC, but I thought Babbo was close. i.e. a few subway stops and a short walk...

          1. re: Davedigger

            Babbo and Lupa are a few subway stops from Penn Station. Shouldn't take you more than 10-15 minutes by subway. It's not really a short walk, though -- perhaps 45 minutes or so.

            And I agree with MMRuth that Lupa is probably your best bet if your heart was set on going to Babbo.

        2. re: Davedigger

          Not family style, and not tricky for picky eaters, however I doubt you will get a reservation there either. I've only heard negative things about Crave so I would avoid that. Maybe Red Cat or Crispo?

          1. re: prdct

            The food at Crave is actually very good. The decor seems a bit non-New York to me, and it is way west by the river, but flavor-wise Dave Martin's cooking makes it worthwhile.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. You will not be able to reserve at Lupa on short notice. You could do a walk-in but will have a long wait. Pepolino is a favorite of mine but has a limited menu, so take a look at their website to see if it would work. Otherwise, go to Crispo. It's very similar to Lupa in terms of style and quality.

          6 Replies
          1. re: rrems

            I have had the contrary experience at Lupa - all of my reservations there have been made on v. short notice.

            1. re: MMRuth

              if your crew is meat and potatos types why not give them that....Keens steakhouse is very close to Penn Station..their steaks and old worldiness will make the foodies happy...If Perilla is to far out of the box your non friends may not like Babbo either BTW

              1. re: Cpalms

                Keens is close and good. Might want to try Gotham Bar and Grill or Del Frisco's. I think the menu at both is versatile enough.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    Thought so:). Dinner books up completely a month in advance. I've tried checking for dinner cancellations. Never works.

            2. Dolce Vita on Grand Street is great. Fairly new and you have to bring your own booze till they get there liquor license, but the food is off the hook. Homey and still interesting. They did run to the local liquor stoor to get us wine though if you forget