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April / May 2010 Babbo menu

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I am thrilled to be going to Babbo for the first time on May 1. Thanks to all of the Chowhounders for all of the amazing info. I already feel like I have a much better idea of how to have a good experience...starting with not ordering the tasting menus, but creating my own instead. With a party of 4, I will be able to try lots of items!

Where I'm curious is on two things:

1) I'm under the impression that Babbo changes their menu every so often, but based on others' posts, it seems that most of the star dishes stay on the menu. Does anyone know the current menu and what is or is not on it? Some items that have really piqued my interest: Pig's foot, lamb's tongue, beef cheek ravioli, goose liver ravioli, pork chop, olive oil gelato, maple mascarpone cheesecake. (I've actually made the cheesecake myself out of the Babbo cookbook, and since it's the most delicious thing I've ever made in my life, I figure it can only be better at the restaurant!)

2) I'm torn on whether or not to order 2 raviolis for our party (versus more variety of pasta dishes). The two mentioned above are the ones I've heard the most about, with the goose liver ravioli seeming to edge out as the favorite. So, do you think that it's a bad idea to order both of these dishes (plus 1 or 2 other pasta dishes)? If you'd recommend only one, I feel like this board will tell me to go for the goose liver ravioli. But I definitely lean heavily toward savory food, and I've heard the the balsamic reduction on the goose liver can be too sweet. Would you then recommend the beef cheeks or still stick with the goose liver?

Thanks so much for your help!

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Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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  1. 1. They really only seem to rotate out the vegetable accompaniments, vegetable sides, desserts and specials. Every time I've been, the Pig's foot, lamb's tongue, beef cheek ravioli, goose liver ravioli, pork chop, olive oil gelato, maple mascarpone cheesecake have ALL been on the menu. The pork chop will definitely be there, just with different vegetables on the side. Overall, you should be fine. Also if you walk by, the menu is posted outside. :)

    2. I'd do the goose liver but yes, it can be rather rich, so I'd order something else to contrast with it. Maybe something more acidic or with tomato sauce? I have never really been impressed with the beef cheek ones. Maybe the mint love letters?

    7 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Thanks kathryn! You are always so helpful on the Babbo posts. I no longer live in NYC (haven't for 10 years), so I won't get a chance to walk by the restaurant until the evening of our dinner...but your answer has helped me nonetheless!

      The mint love letters are another option I'm considering. What are your thoughts on the goat cheese tortelloni or papperdelle bolognese? I've made both, and wasn't too impressed with the tortelloni though I love the idea of the ingredients (of course, I'm fairly certain that my skills can't replicate the real thing!). But I did think the bolognese was great.

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      Babbo
      110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

      1. re: caze17

        Never had either of those, sorry!

        1. re: caze17

          Goat cheese tortelloni is one of my favorite dishes there. If you see a dish with ramps on the menu, I would get it. They are just coming into season now and I remember Babbo doing them very well. I think the goose liver is too rich for that meal. It's good but seems to take more focus than I would like if that makes any sense!
          Enjoy.
          JeremyEG
          homecooklocavore.wordpress.com

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          Babbo
          110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

          1. re: caze17

            Mint love letters are never as good as one would think.
            I have had them multiple times, same verdict. Finally, learned not to be enticed
            by the title. Not bad just not as great as I always believe they will be.

            1. re: dietndesire

              Me too, but my husband loves them, so your mileage may vary!

          2. re: kathryn

            Kathryn I have always been curious about the Goose Liver vs the Beef Cheek ravioli. Most people agree the Goose liver is the bolder of the two but can you try to explain how it tastes? Is the sauce more sweet than bitter? Balsamic tends to be more on the bitter side.

            And what didn't yu like about the beef cheek ravioli? It sounds delicious and I have actually seen Mario Batali make it on TV and it looked great. Just a run of the mill ravioli that sounds better than the sum of its parts? Squab liver with black truffles? It SOUNDS amazing.

            1. re: steakrules85

              The goose liver ravioli is very rich, heavy, and sweet. Balsalmic vinegar turns sweet when reduced. In comparison, I don't find the beef cheek to be that bold or interesting.

          3. I was just there a few days ago. Everything was on the menu except for the cheesecake. But that may change when you dine May 1.

            Personally, I think the goose liver is too sweet. While I love desserts, I'm not a fan of super sweet things (which is why I also did not care for Babbo's pine nut crostata -- but thought that the lavender ricotta gelato was delicious). For your reference, I'm not a fan of Momofuku Milk Bar's desserts but love Chikalicious (as I find it more balanced and not as sugar sweet). If you're more of a fan of savory, I don't think the goose liver will be your thing and would think you would enjoy something else.

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            Babbo
            110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

            Momofuku Milk Bar
            251 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

            2 Replies
            1. re: Miss Needle

              Hey Miss Needle,
              Disagree with you about the pine nut crostata : ). I love that dessert because I always find the salty pine nuts cut right through the sweetness and balance the dessert perfectly. It's one of my favorite desserts anywhere.
              JeremyEG
              homecooklocavore.wordpress.com

              1. re: JeremyEG

                thanks to all for the helpful info!

            2. Also, can anyone give me insight into appropriate dress at Babbo?

              From the website:

              "Babbo has a dress code best described as “smart casual”. Jackets and ties are not required but not out of place at Babbo - however no flip flops or tank tops, please."

              But how does that translate in the real world? Would my husband be fine in dress jeans, with a button down? Or does he need to wear dress pants or even a suit? Knowing that, I can determine the women's equivalent...

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              Babbo
              110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

              3 Replies
              1. re: caze17

                My husband has gone several times in dress jeans with a buttoned down shirt, and was actually dressed nicer than some of the other patrons, who were in t-shirts.

                1. re: kathryn

                  that's pretty funny and a slightly sad commentary on today's dining patron!
                  thanks for the help.

                  1. re: caze17

                    Depends how nice the t-shirts were. : )
                    JeremyEG

              2. Just an update on my first visit to Babbo...

                Thanks again to all of you for your help and advice! The four of us went to the restaurant last Saturday and the restaurant was definitely jamming. We checked in with the hostess, who let us know that they were running a little behind. It was so crowded in the entrance/bar area, that we just stood outside since the weather was so nice. We waited about 15 minutes before being seated in the downstairs area. I liked the livelier atmosphere and music (maybe because I'm in my 30s). The service was incredible the whole time, though slightly slow towards the end of the meal. Everyone was very friendly and helpful, yet professional as well. The sommelier was great at helping us choose interesting wines that were not too expensive.

                Regarding the food, I had to concede a few of the items that I wanted due to the taste preferences of my dining companions (I was trying to lend my/your suggestions without being too overbearing!), so we ended up with the following, all of which we split.

                Apps:

                Lamb's tongue - I was surprised by how vinegar-y this was and thought it was interesting. Everyone else pretty much thought the same thing. We were glad we tried it, but didn't find it particularly amazing or to our personal taste.

                Beet tartare - This was fabulous, but it's hard to mess up beets. You can also get similar dishes at almost any restaurant, so for that reason, I wouldn't recommend ordering this, despite the fact that I loved it.

                Primi:

                All of the pasta dishes were clearly the winners of the night - I only wish we had ordered more. We also ended up ordering only filled pastas because of everyone's personal preference, and the fact that they are harder to replicate at home.

                Beef Cheek Ravioli - To die for, my personal favorite; the beef cheek filling really shone through. It perfectly fit my "savory" palate, and I'm glad that I chose this over the Goose Liver.

                Mint Love Letters - I'm not a huge fan of mint, but still loved this dish. To me, the mint was very subtle and just enough to complement the spicy lamb sausage.

                Goat Cheese Tortelloni - This was a nice, lighter complement to the other pastas and we all loved it. I was surprised by how complex the flavors were considering how simple the dish was. The orange and fennel were amazing!

                Mains:

                Pork chop - In all honesty, with the raves that this dish gets on this board, this was the biggest disappointment of the night. Maybe it was just off, but it just didn't seem special to me. Kind of a standard pork chop that I could have gotten anywhere. And two others thought that it was way too salty (though I think the fact that they had bites on the outer edges had something to do with that).

                Sweetbreads - Phenomenal! Who knew that I like sweetbreads so much? We all thought that this was an amazing dish and it would be something that I would recommend to everyone. The sweetbreads themselves were fried perfectly and the sauce was great too.

                Rabbit - Good, but again, nothing to out of the ordinary. I would not have chosen this dish from the menu, but my dining companions really wanted to order it.

                Desserts:

                Much to my disappointment, the maple mascarpone cheesecake was not on the menu. Oh well...next time!

                Olive oil gelato - this was just as interesting and amazing as everyone says.

                Cheesecake - can't remember the exact variety that was offered - i think something with pears. Quite good.

                Chocolate something - also can't remember the details (I told you I was a savory person! And I had had several glasses of wine by then, so that could also be the reason that the details are fuzzy!)

                All in all, it was a great meal. My expectations were incredibly high and I don't think that they were quite met, but I would definitely return. In the future, I would focus more on the pastas (maybe even do the pasta tasting menu with a few substitutions). I also didn't think getting a reservation was that big of a deal...just had to be prepared to do a little dialing one month out but within 20 minutes, I had a 8:30 reservation on a Saturday night.

                Again, thanks to all for the help!

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                Babbo
                110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                1 Reply
                1. re: caze17

                  thanks for the review. my cousin from canada is actually going this thursday. so your review was just on time.