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Jun 12, 2008 10:10 AM

Somewhat disappointed in...Babbo!

After battling on phones for reservation, waiting a month to eat, and finally getting the meal I've been anticipating, I was a bit let down. My biggest complaint- the air was broken. I know, petty but you try eating italian food and red wine when its at least 90 degrees inside! Every man in the place had rolled up sleeves, and extra napkins to wipe brows. I myself had on a summer dress and dripped with sweat. My complaint went with little response from waiter- "yeah it's broken, we know". We finally couldn't take it anymore, had our main course boxed up and went down the stairs to leave. Low and behold it was very cool, with many empty tables! I immediately asked for the manager, explained that we didn't finish our meal, and didn't even look at desserts due to the sweltering conditions. He let me know, the problem was being worked on, and there was nothing they could do. Also that the poor waitstaff had to deal with it and work too. Hm, am I wrong to be upset? He offered for us to finish our meal and join them for dessert at the bar downstairs, altho not comped. We left.

Ok so the positive side-
Antipasta- Hubbies grilled octupus was amazing, absolute high point. I had the salumi plate with several meats salumi, prosciutto, fatback, and calves tongue. Also very good, although the lardo was unique I don't think I'd eat it again. Very oily.
Primi/pasta- Hubbie got lambs brain pasta, great dish. Tender pasta, flavorful, delicious. Couldn't really taste the sage in the sauce, lemon was outstanding flavor. I had the goat cheese tortellini, again the pasta was phenomonal, filling was perfect.
Secondi- Lamb portion was huge. Flavor was a bit pedestrian. Something one could easily make at home. Rabbit was pretty good. Some of the textures were off, but otherwise good flavor.
Wine was a supertuscan chosen by a very friendly and knowledgeable sommlier.

If we went back, I would probably load up on the antipasta and pasta and skip the mains. I just hate that the meal was overshadowed by the atmosphere, I mean it was $250 no dessert and we didn't even finish eating. Couldn't they have gone out for some fans or portable ac units?

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  1. My feeling is that while Babbo may have taken the broken AC as a reason to close for the day (you don't mention which day this was- during the heat wave or not), the fact is that I can't think of a restaurant that would have done that. Nor can I imagine a restaurant getting portable AC's- the portable units are just not set up to cool a space that large and neeed to be vented out a window. Fans? Not likely to make much difference even if there was a fan for every table.

    The bottom line is that you choose to go ahead and have your meal, although it must have been obvious to you that there was a problem with the AC. You could have asked for reservations for another night. If it was cooler downstairws, as you say, then why didn't you ask to eat down there? Under the circumstances, I'm not sure you can blame Babbo

    Yes, a comped glass of wine or dessert would have been nice, but what do you think restaurant and diners did in the days before AC?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ann900

      It was Sunday night (90 some degrees), and initially we just thought we were overly hot, not just the room. Then we did actually ask about the AC, and were brushed off, I imagine due to our age (we are in our mid 20s and look young). It wasn't until we were leaving and spoke to a manager that they offered to sit us at the bar. Too little too late in my book. I was nauseated by the heat. Believe me, anything would have helped the hot stale air. We were more comfortable outside! Lucky for me I live in the days where AC is the norm, otherwise I imagine there would have been open window and fans. The whole point is that the experience was soured mainly due to the atmosphere and the way we were (or maybe were not) treated. Although they did not offer future reservations, we couldn't have taken them as we were on vacation from Texas. So yeah I am used to heat, but this was extreme, especially when dropping $250 on 1 meal. Basically the whole point is I expected better from such an establishment.