Oh Molto Mario!!! What are you doing to us. Batali was made for Vegas where a coffee and croissant can cost you $15 albeit a fantastic coffee and croissant.
Just back from Vegas where we decided to eat at two of Batali's places.. B&B and Carnevino.
First off, both are nice looking restaurants with Carnevino being one of the nicest rooms in Vegas (Not including Alex and Joel Roubuchon). Secondly Service was excellent at B&B and mediocre at Carnevino. Third the Food was exceptional at times at both with very few problems.
What bothered me about both of these fine establishments is that Batali's ego has convinced him that he can get away with $20 appetizer pastas which wouldn't be enough to feed my 3 year old. Did Mario forget that pasta is just water and flour. He can try and mask it with all the fancy names and ingredients, which are extremely light in the dishes, but it just isn't satisfying. I don't mind the $135 ribeye for two at least I know I'm getting 32oz of great meat. (by the way ribeye for 2 at Daniel Boloud is $95 and just as good if not better) but 8 pieces of Gnocchi Bolognese at $16 was ridiculous. Dinner for 4 at both places with a pre dinner drink, a bottle of wine no desert, was approx $550 - $600 and I was not comfortably full.
I hope that chefs will begin to realize that customers are tiring of the smoke and mirrors and want to eat at restaurants and not admire the art.
WOW...the ribeye for two used to be $110.
And you forgot that Joe Bastianich is equally involved in every restaurant Batali puts his name on.
To be fair, I've been to Babbo and Mozza both and the pasta appetizer portions were small at best. This does indeed seem to be the norm for "fine italian" outside NYC in my experience as both Valentino and La Botte (Starred Michelin restaurants) did the same. I'll not even mention the absurd charges at Spiaggia in Chicago (nor the terrible service) - oops, I just did.