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Jan 18, 2010 07:10 PM

Babbo - for a dining partner who's willing to expand his eating horizons, but not as far as me!

My husband and I are going to Babbo for the first time Sat. night. I'm pretty much willing to try anything. Well, except for the tripe perhaps. Husband is expanding his horizons a bit for me so that we can share courses, but he won't go too far. :) Here is what I am thinking to share - any suggestions for the gaps?

ANTIPASTI (just one)
-- Grilled octopus (he's willing for this)
-- He won't do the pig's foot or the lamb's tongue. I don't think I've seen many of the other appetizers mentioned on here, so I'm thinking of skipping a 2nd app?

PRIMI (two or three)
-- chianti stained pappardelle with wild boar ragu
-- beef cheek ravioli
-- mint love letters and pumpkin lune don't appeal and while I would LOVE to do the goose liver ravioli, he won't do that. I'm thinking of a 3rd dish here since we're not getting two appetizers - would that be too much food? If not, I'm leaning towards the black spaghetti as a 3rd.

SECONDI (just one)
-- Up in the air here: branzino, bass, squab, duck, quail, pork chop are the choices I think. (I told him the pork chop was supposed to be great, but he didn't seem too excited.)
-- Can't do ribeye (too much), sweetbreads (he won't), rabbit (I won't).

-- if we have room, either the assorted gelati and sorbetti or the semifreddo

What do you all think? (Sorry this is so long!)

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  1. For antipasti, is the salumi plate out?

    For pasta, maybe the Bucatiniall’Amatriciana or gnocchi?

    For the main, does he do lamb chops?

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn

      Ah Kathryn - I cut and pasted half your posts - thank you!

      Salumi plate I would do . . . he might as well. Do you think it is better than either the Bucatiniall'Amatriciana or the gnocchi? (He just recently became ill on some gnocchi here so that might be fresh in his mind . . . .)

      Nope, won't do lamb chops. :(
      (He really is trying with the octopus, boar, and beef cheek, so I appreciate his effort even if it's not quite *there* yet.)

    2. If octopus is "exotic" and he will not eat pork chops that seems a scarily narrow selection.
      Antipasti choices that might be left are not so exciting.
      The pastas are almost all good and while I used to have the gnocchi that Kathryn mentions all the time, I cannot see how oxtail would be allowed to jump into the meal.How does wild boar make the list?Some tame choices such as the pappardelle bolognese(never tried it) and orecchiette with sausage maybe if you care for some other choices with a meat within. Again,you should be fine with pastas whatever you go with.

      Secondi, squab and quail, I would skip. Fish used to be really great. There is the skirt steak if you want another beef choice and the guancia ripiena looks like something I would go for(never had that either).

      Desserts, those choices seem like mostly a waste to me.If you go there often and just feel like those after having had other selections, fine. But first time, pointless though they might be good.

      Can you not just order something yourself that you want to eat that he won't?

      5 Replies
      1. re: dietndesire

        Pork chops he just doesn't care for - it's not a question of exotic there.

        Was afraid the remaining antipasti might not be exciting . . . .

        Wild boar he has had once before and liked, so he is willing to do again. While I'm willing to consider oxtail, I could always tell him . . . it's not really what he thinks? Guess that probably wouldn't work. As for tame choices, I'd probably rather have one less dish than pick something that was *too* tame.

        I'd seen good things written about the gelato/sorbet quite a few times, so that's why I mentioned it. But I'm perfectly open to other dessert choices.

        Because we're sharing everything, I thought it might be a little mean to get something he wouldn't even try. While he'd probably let me, I think I'd feel bad . . . I don't know. But if I can, I'll get either the pig foot as a 2nd app or the goose liver ravioli as another pasta. Though I'd worry about finishing that on my own along with trying everything else!

        1. re: ScarlyAngel

          You could compromise and share most things but not everything.

          1. re: gutsofsteel

            I guess I am a bit tempted to do so . . . maybe I will add the pig's foot just for myself on the theory it's smaller as an appetizer. I'm dying to try the goose liver ravioli, but if I try to eat a whole plate of that on my own, I might never get through the rest.

            1. re: ScarlyAngel

              It is not mean to order something you want. Maybe if he were forced to eat some. And is it not just as mean to deny you something you really want that has no downside for anyone else?
              I understand your feeling but, objectively, he should feel just as bad. Either do it right or don't do it. He should suck it up or just not even agree to go. Begrudgingly is no way to do this.
              Maybe you could search the boards to see about doggy bags.I have never taken one but I assume it is possible.Maybe use this as a worst case scenario if you order a dish(goose liver rav) that will be too much for you on your own.
              Again, if you are dining there to try less commonly offered dishes, I would skip the gelati for dessert for another choice. If you have dessert. Nothing wrong with ordering it, same as nothing wrong with ordering papp bolognese or other staples.

              1. re: dietndesire

                Too bad he doesnt like pork chops .. they do a great one here. I had the duck and it was great. I have tried to chianti stained pappardelle with wild boar ragu and it is delicious.

                For dessert, I think Babbo does some great things and I disagree with others that say to skip it. The pistachio semifreddo and chocolate cake are great. Also get the seasonal crostata. Great gelatos here.

      2. When we were there this summer, the Pappardelle Bolognese was absolutely the best thing we ate. It isn't "unique", adventurous or weird. Just utterly divine.

        We didn't start out ordering it. We had a list, much as yours, of dishes we had heard about we wanted to try, and try we did... at the end, instead of dessert, we ordered the Bolognese to share. We'd seen it pasing us on its way to other tables all evening, and finally could not resist its aroma and attractive presentation. It was better than any dessert that evening!

        3 Replies
        1. re: ChefJune

          I think I will keep the Pappardelle Bolognese on the radar screen then for sure, but you all might have talked me into a little "extra" course on my own. I don't think he would mind . . . (btw, you hit upon my fear anyway - he might "not even agree to go" if I tried to push him into too many dishes he didn't want to try.) And it's his evening out too I must remember. Either way, I think I'm capable of walking the line between diplomacy and a hint of selfishness. :) I will have to report back of course!

          1. re: ScarlyAngel

            I say dump this guy and go with somebody who loves food! :-)

            1. re: gutsofsteel

              Thanks a lot! :-) You should only know how far he's come . . . I've done a lot of good work on him! :)

        2. Babbo is a solid restaurant. Have fun with the menu, ask your waiter for help with the wines. Don't be afraid to double-up on antipasti and primi. You'll be back.

          1. Ignore hubby - be a glutton and get the goose liver ravioli - you'll not regret it. :-)

            The Pork chop is sublime - too bad he won't do the sweetbreads........honestly, doesn't sound like he is expanding much at all. :-)