Babbo Pasta Tasting Menu
I'm a DC Chowhound that will be visiting in August and am looking for feedback on the Babbo Pasta tasting menu. I searched the archives, but most of the reviews are several years old. I'd love to know if the quality is still good and if you recommend the wine pairings to go with it.
I understand that it may be difficult to get reservations, but I am going to call 30 days ahead and hope for the best.
Thanks NYC 'hounds!
Hey all, I'll be going tonight and I'm pretty sure we'll be getting the pasta tasting menu. However, I've heard a lot about the beef cheek ravioli and the current incarnation of the menu on the official website doesn't have it. Would I be able to substitute it for another pasta dish? Or would I have to order it separately for the a la carte price?
The "official" menu is the one they will hand you at the restaurant, not the one on the web site. If you don't see the Beef Cheeks Ravioli you should definitely ASK if it's availabie. And I have to say their Pappardelle Bolognese is the stuff dreams are made of. Don't miss it. ;)
Thanks for the replies from the both of you...but my original question ended up being useless! We arrived somewhere around 20 minutes after our reservation and were told that we'd be seated but we could not try either tasting menu because of time constraints (5:45 reservation, got in there somewhere around 6:05, they wanted us out by 8:15 or so), which I found kind of odd...20 minutes doesn't seem like it would make or break a tasting menu but I don't know what goes into this type of stuff. Plus I've never been told in my life that we had to be out by a certain time before a meal started...but I don't frequent restaurants of Babbo's caliber much at all so I couldn't say. I generally like to eat at very small cafes where you can sit there as long as you'd like. Oh well, it was not a big deal. Here is what we had:
Pig foot milanese - This was wonderful. Loved the crispy exterior with the fatty inside. It was nothing terribly interesting flavorwise or texturally, but well executed.
Caprese special - Very sweet heirloom tomatoes that were in season, with mozzarella di bufala.
Plate of prosciutto with bread and figs - this is one of my favorite flavor combinations and this did not change tonight.
Entrees we had:
Pappardelle bolognese - ChefJune, you were right! My sister said this was the best pappardelle she's ever had, and this is coming from a family whose parents are both Italian immigrants and we've been to Italy numerous times. I had to agree with her - it was the best rendition of it that I've ever tasted.
Black spaghetti with rock shrimp, green chiles, etc. - I did not try this, but it looked good, and my sister's husband loved it.
Beef cheek ravioli - Divine. The best ravioli I've ever had. The taste of the beef cheek reminded me of when my nonna would make sauce for Sunday night dinners and she'd add beef to it. The truffles were great as well, and I had read the dish was quite rich, the portion size ended up being just right.
We tried a few cheeses - Robiola tre latti, taleggio (the best I've tried, I should've asked where they get it from), parmigiano reggiano, and two others I'm forgetting. The biscotti to finish the meal were great as well.
My one complaint was the treatment from the maitre'd. He was very cold, and scolded us for being late - I can understand that we were late, but I don't think his condescending tone was warranted. He also insisted that we had made reservations for a table of 4 - this was absolutely dead false. I distinctly remember my sister's husband saying "3" over the phone because I was wondering who else he would be taking (me, it turns out, as a surprise for having helped them plan their honeymoon restaurants). It was not a big deal, but he clearly did not believe us and seemed annoyed at us.
The service was fine and unobtrusive - I thought our waiter was a bit gruff and while he had extensive knowledge of the menu, there was something about him that was...off. Like he was a machine just spitting out dishes with no real personality. Again, not a big deal, as we didn't have a problem with receiving our food, asking for drinks, etc. He also tried to push us into getting the largest cheese plate after we kindly declined twice.
I know nothing about wine (I'm allergic), but the sommelier was very helpful in finding an affordable wine for my sister and her husband, and didn't pressure him at all in picking out the most expensive wine on the menu. He seemed very affable and I think both the maitre'd and our waiter could learn something from him. Both of them agreed that the wine was fabulous, most importantly, so no complaints there!
I went for my birthday dinner last year and ordered the pasta / wine pairing. It was absolutely amazing - just make sure to leave room for each dish. There were a lot of pastas that I typically wouldn't have ordered but absolutely loved. And the wine matched the food perfectly.
I definitely recommend it -- enjoy your visit!
I was just there for my anniversary dinner for the pasta tasting with the wine pairing and couldn't recommend the meal enough. I thought 5 of the 8 wines were wonderful and all did a stand up job pairing the truly amazing pasta.
Thought I would never recommend such a thing, especially with all the whiners in this post about "too much amazing food". My stomach doesn't know such a thing and thus, I added an extra pasta course, the beef cheek ravioli, and that brought me to my blissful fullness.
Good luck with the reservation, and enjoy!
I've done both tasting menus, both of which made me cry uncle around the 4th or 5th course. As the server reminded me with a chuckle, "These are BATALI tasting menus!" (portions are big). That said, I thought the pasta tasting was better than the traditional tasting (so I like your pick) and some of the dishes really are THAT fantastic, especially the casunzie with poppy seeds (a ravioli with roasted beets and potatoes). Didn't do the wine pairings, but I still heartily recommend the pasta tasting, if you can somehow stretch your stomach beforehand. :)
Babbo has great pasta dishes. I think the best way to try them is to create your own tasting menu by ordering 1-2 pasta dishes per diner and ask that they divide them and bring them in courses. They usually offer that idea and it's perfect. Then you taste what you want and you can even do another entree.