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Going to Babbo solo- What do I order??

  • f

Hey all, I am heading to Babbo, and plan on ordering one app, two pastas, and two entrees (if that's doable). I'm looking for must have dishes, so please feel free to voice your favorites. Thanks!

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  1. Even I do not eat that much but I could.
    You might consider a tasting menu.
    The menu changes and after this thread, almost everything will be mentioned but
    I will throw out some anyway.

    -Grilled Octupus
    -Tricolore Goat Cheese Truffles(if they have it). I normally don't order items with no preparation but this one is a must
    -Marinated Sardines

    I am looking at the menu, not a great selection, might be others I cannot remember

    -Almost Everything
    -Gnocchi with Oxtail
    -Mint Love Letters
    -Beef Cheek Ravioli

    Honestly, you will enjoy whatever you choose based on your tastes though I would skip some just because you could get similar(better even?sacrilege, I know) at Lupa.

    Cannot find another but I think there is some overlap. You could check the menus from both.

    Also, some of the Primi are a bit plain in terms of ingredients and combinations, perhaps you want to test the waters more if you have not been before.

    Secondi, the weakest section of the Babbo menu but there are some great ones just not everything.

    -Grilled Fish, in general
    -Pork Chop
    -Lamb Chop
    -Short Ribs(not on menu currently) are ok though I would skip, not sure why I have gotten them more than once.

    Have heard great things about beef steaks, duck(I think) and the small bird dishes.
    Osso buco, nah, but it is for 2 anyway, though you said you will order 2 entrees but if you want a double, go Ribeye for 2.


    Dolci, I am not huge on them as a whole sort of like the Secondi, it is not a can't miss proposition

    -Choco Hazelnut cake(though I could be confusing it with Del Posto)

    Skip the Panna Cotta

    Cannot recall what else I have had, nothing on the menu at this current time.

    Well, I am sure you will enjoy it even if you don't order as much as you claim but either way is fine.


    3 Replies
    1. re: foodonlygood

      Great response FOG (can I call you that?).... Even as I wrote my original post, I had the following dishes in mind: Lamb's Tongue, Beef Cheeck Rav, Gnocchi, Mint Love Letters, Grouper, and the Braised Beef if it made sense), so your recs were perfect. And even though it seems like a lot- I am not concerned at all about being able to indulge comfortably. I figure I won't be going to Babbo often, so I'm just gonna go for it.

      And I'm happy to see that you have echoed my sentiments re: the Secondi and Desserts- I was not overwhelmingly excited by the majority of the Secondi (although I am sure they are all terrific), and I really don't care too much about desserts in general, regardless of how delicious.

      So thanks again, I really appreciate your thoughts.

      1. re: FuDee

        For antipasti: The lamb's tongue is amazing, as is the octopus, the crispy pig's foot, and the tripe.

        For pastas: I was much, much more impressed with the goose liver ravioli than the other pastas I've tried. The gnocchi are nice, but one note. Same for the mint love letters. And I love mint. I'm not a huge red sauce fan though.

        The chocolate hazelnut cake is good but rich. I think if you're going to be eating that much, maybe end with some gelati/sorbetti.

        1. re: FuDee


          FOG is fine, actually pretty funny.
          I also must add a vote for Lamb's Tongue as the other posters have if you are into that. I am usually not but my taste of it has been pretty good.

          Glad to see there is someone with a big appetite. Again, with no dessert, I could definitely eat that much but not sure I would. Who am I kidding I could eat that AND dessert. When I eat out, I eat pretty slowly so that makes you more full than the glutton's food shoveling technique. I would say usually I have 4 courses but in my old age I eat less than I could 5 years ago, so now maybe 3.

          Kathryn makes a good point about the red sauce on the mint love letters but it was minimal in my experience and thus fine.

          I assume there will be a ton more posts and it might get muddled and confused. You seem to have a good idea for yourself and I say stick withyour gut. I will also shutup now.

          Eat it up!


          EDIT: Kathryn beat me to the Tasting Menu issue for eating at the bar. A no go, GOOD CATCH KATHRYN.

      2. Wow. That is a TON of food for one person. Solo at Babbo I usually order the Beef Cheek Ravioli. If I'm particularly hungry and splurging I'll add the Lamb's Tongue as an app. The combo of those dishes is so rich though that I have never finished. While I am generally not a tasting menu person at Babbo, I agree with the OP who suggested that that may be the best way for you to taste a number of different things without having to order more than you can handle.

        1. FYI, I have been told that Babbo won't allow solo diners to order the tasting menu. Probably because of the effort involved in many very small pasta orders for one person.

          1. If they still have the ramp pasta, it is a must-have. Absolutely amazing, and only around for a short time (this is probably the last week)!

            1. I've been to Babbo's only once, during a break in a pizza/hot dog/street food pilgramage, so I ain't much of an authority.
              Just my 1c x 2;
              I found the lamb tongue uninspired.
              Crispy Pigs foot, sublime.
              My only recommendation would be to ask for Lardo Salumi, if only a nod to the rarity of this product on the American restaurant scene. Let alone that it is simply superb...

              6 Replies
              1. re: porker

                BTW, you can get lardo with your bread at Del Posto (I think it's whipped?). Lardo on your pizza at Otto. And on occasion, lardo on toast at Momofuku Ssam Bar.

                Mmmmm, lardo.

                1. re: kathryn

                  Though I think lardo salumi is only available at Babbo and Otto. Del Posto has whipped lardo which is good but doesn't have the same textural experience.

                  When is Momofuku going to put lardo on their menu? I am waiting! ;D

                2. re: porker

                  Agreed that the crispy pig foot milanese is amazing...second only to a grilled pancetta wrapped porcini dish I had a couple of years back.

                  Disagree that the lamb tongue is "uninspired". This was the dish that popularized tongue salads and poached egg topped items The lamb tongue salad topped with poached egg may be more common these days but that dish is a modern day classic a la Batali. You can't fault the original for not being orignial.

                  Having said that, I would pick the crispy pig foot milanese over the lamb tongue salad. I've recently spotted a west coast knock off of the crispy pig foot milanese...hopefully this is the next "fad" dish.

                  1. re: Porthos

                    I was speaking strictly on personal taste. I make my own pickled tongue (pork) so when I tried Babbo's, for me, it wasn't terribly inspiring. Perhaps I should have mentioned this originally...

                    1. re: porker

                      Very impressive. Would you mind sharing your recipe on the home cooking board?

                      1. re: Porthos

                        Actually, its not that impressive. Very tasty, but the recipe, although time consuming, is very simple.
                        I'll post it with "Porthos" in the title.

                3. Alot of wine.....and the Osso Buco for two.

                  12 Replies
                  1. re: clr111

                    wow, thats a crapload of food, however I admire your spirit...FOG's post is right on, then again I do like their dolci...particularly whatever the special is....whatever you don't do the regular tasting menu, its kinda boring imo (pasta tasting on the other hand, is very good)

                    1. re: Cpalms

                      Soooo, I went to Babbo tonight and was not let down. Thanks all for your input. I ended up going with the Octopus app (fantastic, and a substantial portion for the reasonable price tag), the Mint Love Letters (friend made me do it, but I found the mint a bit overwhelming), the Beef Cheek Ravioli (simply terrific fresh pasta with a perfect filling- this is what homemade pasta is all about), and finally, the Duck with Red Cabbage (at the bartender's strong suggestion- a reeeeally nice crispy, juicy breast topped with sliced duck and a sweet cumquat sauce).

                      And as strong as my appetite is, there is much that I could not experience in my first visit, so I've decided to march right back to Babbo and take down some other suggestions made on this board- namely the Lamb's Tongue, Crispy Pig's Feet, Gnocchi (I know it's a bit boring, but I LOVE great gnochi, and need to compare it to Lupa and Crispo), and the Sweetbreads. Only then will I feel that I've experienced all things Babbo. Oh baby.

                      Thanks again, and feel free to check out my new little food porn site- any feedback, of course, is much appreciated:


                      1. re: FuDee


                        Babbo back to back nights, you live very well.
                        Sorry bout the mint love letters.
                        Good luck on your next round.


                        1. re: foodonlygood

                          Heh heh, I live ok, but have found new purpose in life- a complete and utter immersion into the world of food. I have always been a huge fan of the calorie in it's many wondrous forms, but now I've begun to make it a central focus in my daily life, hence my new hobby of posting photos and comments for almost everywhere I dine.

                          They say "do what you love", and there ain't nuthin' me loves more than good, tasty grub. Oh baby.


                          1. re: FuDee

                            When making the reservation, I would let them know that I'm dining on my own, and would like to taste a wide range of dishes. They'll take care of you.

                            1. re: FuDee

                              FuDee I have been to Babbo and loved it but I have a question. Did you make a reservation of did you just pop in? Also did you make a reservation for tonight?

                              I am thinking about going to Babbo for a solo meal myself and just pop in unannounced on a weekday. Think I could get a table say at 5:30-6?

                              1. re: steakrules85

                                As long as you are willing to sit at the bar or at a bar table you should have no problem. You won't get a regular table though.

                                1. re: steakrules85

                                  You should wait at the door BEFORE they open if you want to guarantee a bar seating. Usually there are a few people lining up already at the door prior to 5:30. To be safe I will say getting there at 5:15pm.

                                  1. re: steakrules85

                                    Hey Steak, it was easy as pie- just show up at 5pm (even up to 5:30 seemed fine), and pull up a seat at the bar. You should be all set. Bon Apetite.


                                    1. re: steakrules85

                                      I've dined solo at Babbo a few times. I've found it doesn't matter what day it is or the time, I've never had to wait for a seat at the bar for more than 20 minutes, which I find more than tolerable, given the fact that the meal you will have will be out of this world. My first time a Babbo, we were four people on a Saturday night and we were seated for dinner at the bar in well under 30 minutes.

                                      1. re: MagnumWino

                                        AWESOME THANKS FOR THE INfo. I will def go one day for an early dinner.

                                        1. re: MagnumWino

                                          This is my experience, too, but I've only tried it solo.

                            2. It's been a while (maybe 2 years), however the past few times I have been to Babbo the spaghettini with lobster was on the menu, and simply one of the best dishes I have ever eaten. You've inspired me to make a reservation and visit myself....

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: henofthewoods

                                Yes, Hen, it was a very nice experience, and the head bartender guided me through the whole meal. Great place, and no need for rezzy if you show up at 5-5:30 pm and sit at the bar. Good times..


                              2. Good stuff. You eat as much as I do--your KungFuDee is strong. BTW, whenever I go to a batali restaurant, I can never resist getting the oo gelato.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: tpigeon

                                  Funny you should mention that, Pigeon, cause as noted on my new little food porn photoblog, I walked right over to Otto and grabbed some of that gorgeous creamed olive oil and made a night of it. Just went to Lupa today to carry on my Batali tour (also on the blog). Oh baby..


                                  1. re: FuDee

                                    Yes, I just looked at this -- great work. I will use it as a reference from now on. Please update frequently. BTW, having other flavors with the oo puts in perspective how superior the oo really is.

                                    1. re: tpigeon

                                      I'm pleased to say I just returned to Babbo to get my fill of the Pig's Foot Milanese, Duck's Tongue, and Gnocchi. The Pig's Foot stole the show, and was presented quite a bit differently than I was expecting. Just fantastic.


                                      1. re: FuDee

                                        FuDee, you're KILLING me with those pics!! But thanks for posting them.

                                    2. re: FuDee

                                      Wow! You are seriously making me salivate and long for NYC. Might be time for another trip!