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Any tips for a Babbo first timer?

Hello all, I have posted on this board to get my fellow CH's opinions on other restaurants in Manhattan, and I want to first say Thank You to all of you here. I don't know if you realize it, but everyone here who contributes to any post is contributing to special trips to places worth checking out. My father and I have been planning this trip for well over a year, and as I head off to school in the fall, this is our last "hoo-rah" together after years of adventures. So, thank you for all the advice you guys give on here. As a lover of good food, travels, and, above all, people, everyone on this board contributes to one fantastic community :).

That aside, my father and I will be dining at Babbo for one of our dinners. As the title of this topic alludes to, this is our first time there. Any advice? I know its a broad topic, but I would like to know what you guys have to say about it. For those who have been there: What did you get? As this will be our only opportunity to go there, what should we get? Should we each order something and split it? Come hungry? Tasting menu? Dessert? Any word on this place (because it OBVIOUSLY hasn't been talked about enough :P) would be great. Thanks :)

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  1. pasta tasting is LIFE CHANGING. come starving and do not fill up on bread. also i prefer the downstairs room as its a little more lively but upstairs is quietier and a bit more reserved.

    1. Here's a good thread - I'm going for the first time myself in June:

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/467282

      Here's one on ordering for two:

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/511304

      Other threads that should be useful:

      http://www.chow.com/search?search%5Bq...

      1. For two people I've done two antipasti, four primi, and split a secondi between the two of us. That leaves some room for dessert. The secondi are typically huge. Don't eat the bread, it's kind of boring. Note that they don't offer olive oil or butter with bread service.

        Assuming you are adventurous/don't mind offal, I'd do for the appetizers: the lamb's tongue vinaigrette with three minute egg, crispy pig's foot, grilled octopus, or tripe (comes with bread, very messy). If you are trying to save space, the salumi is also very good but a much smaller portion.

        For pastas, I love the goose liver ravioli the most. Others like the beef cheek ravioli, chianti stained parpadelle, gnocchi with oxtail, or mint love letters, but I think the goose liver wins (haven't tried the lamb's brains yet though). Personally, I am not a huge red sauce fan and though the gnocchi and mint love letters were good but not great. YMMV.

        For the main, the fennel-dusted sweetbreads are fantastic. The skirt steak is only OK. I've also heard wonderful things about the duck, lamb chop, or pork chop. The mains are sometimes HUGE though, like caveman size. There are often nice specials too (had some braised pork cheeks last time). For the big chops, you can spot a big rack of meat coming from across the room!

        For dessert, the sorbeti/gelati assortment is fantastic, as is the seasonal fruit crostata. The chocolate hazelnut cake is also nice. Yum! Have fun!

        See also:
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/511304
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/523880
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/522926
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/510725
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/511683

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          1. I've found I prefer the pastas to the mains.