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Babbo or Scarpetta?

sweet_polly Jan 9, 2011 03:24 PM

We'll be in NYC for a few nights next month and want to have a couple of amazing dinners...one Italian. I am kind of jonesing to try Scarpetta, while my Mario-Batali-fan spousal unit is itching to go to Babbo. Can anyone who has been to both compare and contrast for me?

We are also looking for recs for another dinner. We're okay spending up to $300 with a couple of glasses of wine apiece. We will be staying in the Chelsea district, so close is better. We like Spanish/tapas, French, Italian and New American the best. I've seen the famous spots on Food Network, but would like to know the locals' faves for a nice dinner in the area.

-----
Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

Scarpetta
355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

  1. r
    RCC Jan 9, 2011 03:41 PM

    Easy, Babbo.

    -----
    Babbo
    110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

    18 Replies
    1. re: RCC
      p
      Pan Jan 9, 2011 04:23 PM

      Does it depend somewhat on what the diner orders? Are the most delicious dishes one can make a meal of at Babbo better than the most delicious dishes one can make a meal of at Scarpetta? Having been to both restaurants only once (plus a lunch at L'Impero several years ago), I don't have enough information to know.

      1. re: Pan
        steve h. Jan 9, 2011 04:38 PM

        Scott Conant's team does a pretty good job with pasta: the iconic spaghetti al pomodoro is pretty good, the agnolotti dal plin (sp?) is very good.
        I'm a fan of the apps. The creamy polenta is very good, ridiculously rich and faithfully replicated at the Miami outpost. The short rib app is a mandatory sidekick to the polenta and needs to be mixed 50-50 with it.
        At the end of the day, Scarpetta is enjoyable, especially if you sit at the bar, munch the house-made chips and make friends with the barkeep.
        Is Scarpetta the equal of Babbo? Not by a long shot. Is Scarpetta a worthy destination? Absolutely. I go to both.

        -----
        Babbo
        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

        Scarpetta
        355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

        1. re: steve h.
          c oliver Jan 10, 2011 07:49 PM

          Glad to see this. We've been to Babbo once and Scarpetta has been on my short list. Hoping to get back in March. I think we'll try Scarpetta. Thanks, steve.

          -----
          Babbo
          110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

          Scarpetta
          355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

          1. re: c oliver
            goodhealthgourmet Jan 10, 2011 08:16 PM

            c, don't miss the polenta - it's outstanding...though i fear you may never be satisfied with your oven-baked version again after having it! ;)

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
              c oliver Jan 11, 2011 06:38 AM

              Naughty you! Polenta is one of my favorites so Scarpetta goes a bit higher on my list.

              1. re: c oliver
                steve h. Jan 11, 2011 07:48 AM

                You'll have a swell time. Don't forget the house-made chips. You get 'em at the bar.

            2. re: c oliver
              steve h. Jan 12, 2011 10:30 AM

              Hi c,
              More on the Babbo/Scarpetta debate.

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/546587

              1. re: steve h.
                c oliver Jan 12, 2011 12:35 PM

                Thanks, steve. Batali certainly inspires strong feelings on both sides, doesn't he? But since I get to NYC seldom and haven't eaten at Scarpetta (and ADORE polenta), I do want to check it out. With trips to Flushing and the Bronx also, we wind up running out of time.

                -----
                Scarpetta
                355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                1. re: c oliver
                  steve h. Jan 12, 2011 12:41 PM

                  I think SC has successfully replicated Scarpetta in Miami. Haven't tried the other outposts. Deb and I visited his Manhattan shop shortly after it opened, it was very good. We went back for the one-year anniversary and have been big fans ever since. The bar scene is interesting.

                  Batali is a lightning rod. I'm pretty fortunate in that I have ready access to his East Coast/West Coast places. Tarry Lodge in neighboring (to Stamford) Port Chester is a goto lunch spot for us at the bar.

                  So much food, so little time.

                  -----
                  Scarpetta
                  355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

          2. re: Pan
            r
            RCC Jan 11, 2011 08:48 AM

            "Are the most delicious dishes one can make a meal of at Babbo better than the most delicious dishes one can make a meal of at Scarpetta?"

            I tend to to like more rustic, regional and traditional foods. Babbo presents traditional regional Italian cooking better than most in the city. While I agree that the spaghetti dish and, to certain extent the polenta dish, as very good and quite rustic at Scarpetta, my general take on everything else that I've had was that they do a slightly more modern interpreation of Italian dishes. Aside from the spaghetti and the polenta, I have not been as impressed with the rest of the pasta and entrees at Scarpetta as I have been with those at Babbo.

            -----
            Babbo
            110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

            Scarpetta
            355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

            1. re: RCC
              p
              Pan Jan 11, 2011 10:41 PM

              Thanks for the comprehensive comparison.

              1. re: Pan
                k
                kathryn Jan 12, 2011 09:14 AM

                The point that Scarpetta is a bit more modern than Babbo definitely rings true for me. But in terms of food....

                The bread service at Scarpetta wins hands down. Multiple types of bread including focaccia and stromboli. Three kinds of spreads including citrus infused olive oil, eggplant carbonata, and mascarpone butter. Also the herbed chips at the bar are complimentary and great. Scarpetta is the clear winner here, especially if you are a bread lover.

                IMO Babbo has stronger starters. While the polenta at Scarpetta is great, the soups, salads, and raw fish dishes I've tried were merely good. Whereas Babbo offers the grilled octopus, warm tripe, salumi plate, testa, and pig's foot -- a few of these I consider iconic dishes. The Scarpetta antipasti list just doesn't seem as interesting to me. But I usually skip the short ribs because the rest of the meal is already so heavy, though I've heard good things.

                In terms of pastas, I'd be hard pressed to say who has the edge. The duck and foie ravioli, seafood tagliolini, spaghetti pomodoro are all great. The farfalle and cavatelli's I've had were very good. At Babbo, I'd say that the goose liver ravioli is one of my favorite dishes ever and I've had the bucatini, gnocchi, parpadelle, lamb's brain ravioli, beef cheek ravioli, the linguine (and possibly a few others) which are all also very good. The only disappointment I've had there is the mint love letters -- but Babbo's list of pasta is quite long. In my mind it's probably a wash because I basically love all kinds of pasta. YMMV.

                For mains, I either don't have space at Scarpetta or we have tried something that's fine but not amazing like the goat or venison. I've not tried the famous cod and I think last time I wanted to try the duck but was just too full. Whereas at Babbo, I have trouble deciding between the lamb chops, pork chop, sweetbreads, rabbit, or duck. From what I've been able to try, Babbo wins, but if you are fine without having a main, Scarpetta may hold more interest.

                For desserts, if you're an ice cream and sorbet person, it's Babbo all the way. The sampler plates I've had there have been phenomenal. Scarpetta's desserts that I've tried have been very good: the chocolate cake, olive oil cake, and rhubarb cake. But none have wowed me like the tristar strawberry crostata (seasonal) or the non-traditional schiacciata uva (brioche baked with concord grapes, also seasonal). Babbo seems to change the desserts a lot based upon seasonality so it's also a bit of luck of the draw. But you're get good desserts at both.

                Overall, if I have a spaghetti or bread basket craving, and want to be able to actually make a reservation easily, or drop by and sit at the bar comfortably, Scarpetta is where I'd go. But in terms of the menu, Babbo has more variety overall, and that's meant many more return visits from me. Funnily enough, I find the host at both to be standoffish and a bit cold, but I haven't had any service issues though I'd give the servers at Scarpetta the edge.

                -----
                Babbo
                110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                Scarpetta
                355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                1. re: kathryn
                  rlove Jan 12, 2011 09:52 AM

                  I want to echo the bread at Scarpetta that kathryn mentions: I'm the guy who usually doesn't eat a single piece of bread, and I found the bread at Scarpetta a surprising treat and a highlight of the meal, which is saying a lot given the wonderful pastas and fish courses we had. Point being, even if you are not a "bread lover," the bread at Scarpetta is excellent.

                  -----
                  Scarpetta
                  355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

              2. re: RCC
                h
                hae young Jan 14, 2011 05:02 AM

                does scarpetta use canned tomatoes in winter season also? his(sc) fresh tommatoes are really better than canned tomatoes in terms of sweetness and flavour at batali's chains may or may not use ?

                1. re: hae young
                  r
                  RCC Jan 14, 2011 09:56 AM

                  I don't know what Scarpetta uses. But as far as I know, Babbo uses fresh tomatoes.

                  -----
                  Babbo
                  110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                  Scarpetta
                  355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                  1. re: RCC
                    h
                    hae young Jan 14, 2011 05:42 PM

                    i once heard batali saying in winter season his rest use canned tomatoes and not shamed of it.

                    1. re: hae young
                      c oliver Jan 14, 2011 06:01 PM

                      Yes, I've heard that more than once and agree.

            2. re: RCC
              j
              julilouie Jan 11, 2011 04:05 PM

              no one does it better than Babbo

              http://exm.nr/hQ2gdp

              -----
              Babbo
              110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

            3. f
              fm1963 Jan 9, 2011 03:49 PM

              I love both but generally prefer Babbo to Scarpetta. And since Scarpetta has a branch in Miami Beach (I looked at your profile), I think that Babbo would probably be a more unique experience.

              -----
              Babbo
              110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

              Scarpetta
              355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

              1 Reply
              1. re: fm1963
                k
                kathryn Jan 9, 2011 05:24 PM

                Good point - Babbo is an old carriage house right by Washington Square Park on a pretty looking block and one of a kind, whereas Scarpetta keeps expanding everywhere.

                -----
                Babbo
                110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                Scarpetta
                355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

              2. steve h. Jan 9, 2011 04:16 PM

                Babbo.

                1. sweet_polly Jan 9, 2011 05:03 PM

                  Wow...thanks for the feedback, guys! I wasn't expecting such a unanimous vote for Babbo. I guess the hubster will get his way (assuming I can snag a reservation). We'll keep Scarpetta in mind as our fall-back.

                  -----
                  Babbo
                  110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                  Scarpetta
                  355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sweet_polly
                    steve h. Jan 9, 2011 05:14 PM

                    The bar at Babbo is a really good fall-back if you can't get a reservation.

                  2. m
                    mla19 Jan 9, 2011 05:51 PM

                    I haven't been in awhile but there's a great tapas place called Tia Pol that's in Chelsea all the way West. It's not a formal or expensive restaurant and it doesn't take reservations so it may not be what you're looking for for your 2nd dinner but it fits the tapas bill and location request. They also do weekday lunch and weekend brunch.

                    Edited to add: It seems the chef at Tia Pol left for Txikito also in Chelsea. Maybe try that instead. I haven't been.

                    -----
                    Tia Pol
                    205 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: mla19
                      Pedr0 Jan 12, 2011 07:01 AM

                      Txikito is really very good, have always had perfect service there too. Tía Pol is great but Txikito is usually less crowded and I think has somewhat better food.

                      Always wondered about the relationship between Tía Pol, Txikito and El Quinto Pino. Were Eder Montero and Alex Raij partners at Tía Pol at one time?

                      -----
                      El Quinto Pino
                      401 W 24th St, New York, NY 10011

                      Txikito
                      240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

                      1. re: Pedr0
                        r
                        RCC Jan 12, 2011 07:06 AM

                        Haven't been to Tia Pol in a while, but was at Txikito last month. Those were terrific tapas we had at Txikito

                        -----
                        Tia Pol
                        205 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                        Txikito
                        240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

                        1. re: Pedr0
                          k
                          kathryn Jan 12, 2011 08:52 AM

                          "Alexandra Raij opened a tiny tapas bar called Tia Pol back in 2004 with partners Mani Dawes and Heather Belz. In 2007, the team, joined by Raij's husband, Eder Montero, debuted the even smaller El Quinto Pino.

                          Raij and Montero eventually split to launch Txikito on their own, but earlier this year returned to El Quinto Pino in exchange for their share in Tia Pol."

                          http://blogs.villagevoice.com/forkint...

                          -----
                          Tia Pol
                          205 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                          El Quinto Pino
                          401 W 24th St, New York, NY 10011

                          Txikito
                          240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

                      2. c
                        comiendosiempre Jan 9, 2011 07:48 PM

                        Not even in the same league. Babbo. Without doubt.

                        -----
                        Babbo
                        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: comiendosiempre
                          d
                          drumwine Jan 9, 2011 08:33 PM

                          Love both, but Babbo gets the nod. Have been to Txikito several times & highly recommend.

                          -----
                          Babbo
                          110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                          Txikito
                          240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

                          1. re: comiendosiempre
                            s
                            Simon May 21, 2011 08:54 PM

                            Not in the same league, but from my POV, it's the other way around: you couldn't pay me to eat at Babbo...Scarpetta is in my Top 3 in NYC...

                            1. re: Simon
                              Windy Jun 20, 2011 07:22 PM

                              What are the other two?

                          2. m
                            ml77 Jan 9, 2011 08:44 PM

                            For your other meal, I'd go to Eleven Madison Park. Craft and Gramercy Tavern would also be good options that are not far from Chelsea.

                            -----
                            Eleven Madison Park
                            11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

                            Gramercy Tavern
                            42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: ml77
                              goodhealthgourmet Jan 10, 2011 08:24 PM

                              i have to add Gotham Bar & Grill to your list of suggestions for the other meal...even after all these years, Alfred Portale & his crew still get it right every time.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                u
                                uwsister Jan 11, 2011 01:41 AM

                                My husband and I had a dinner at Gotham Bar & Grill and found it rather forgettable - perhaps we ordered wrong? What are your favorite dishes there?

                                1. re: uwsister
                                  goodhealthgourmet Jan 11, 2011 11:49 AM

                                  the yellowfin tartare - with shiso leaf & ginger vinaigrette - is my favorite tuna tartare *anywhere.* grilled octopus is some of the best i've ever had, duck is always a winner (unfortunately they don't have the grilled five-spice breast on the menu anymore), and their desserts are pretty delicious...though right now they're not offering my favorite - a sublime meyer lemon pudding.

                            2. rlove Jan 10, 2011 05:17 PM

                              I like both Babbo and Scarpetta and suggest you can't go wrong at either. I prefer Babbo overall, for its charm and experience, although I've had better individual courses at Scarpetta.

                              I've also had an absolutely fabulous meal at the Scarpetta in the Fontainebleau. It was only one visit, but it was excellent and is certainly not the case that it is a lesser experience. If you make it to Miami Beach more often than NYC, you could do Babbo in New York and save Scarpetta for your next visit down state.

                              -----
                              Babbo
                              110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                              Scarpetta
                              355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: rlove
                                TheDegustationAsian Jan 11, 2011 05:47 AM

                                I'm not so sure either has much charm. I think the ambiance at Babbo may be a bit "warmer," but ultimately think it depends on what scene you prefer as Scarpetta has a bit cooler vibe. Regardless, the OP might be interested in knowing that Babbo plays really LOUD alternative/rock music and if they are interested in having a conversation at all, they might ask for a seat upstairs when they make a reservation.

                                That said, both restaurants offer very good food, and are both are restaurants by Food Network stars (if you call being a judge on Chop't a star). Both have menus loaded with "classics" and a quick search will uncover multiple threads on what are each restaurant's signature dishes.

                                If you end up going to Scarpetta and still want a Batali restaurant, I'd suggest Casa Mono since the OP mentioned they like Spanish/Tapas. Hope you enjoy your trip.

                                -----
                                Babbo
                                110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                Casa Mono
                                52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

                                Scarpetta
                                355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                                1. re: TheDegustationAsian
                                  sweet_polly Jan 11, 2011 06:08 AM

                                  Ugh. I keep reading about the blaring music at Babbo, which I know I would absolutely HATE. Now I'm on the fence again.

                                  Thanks again for all the suggestions, everybody. I have already checked out a few of the menus...this is going to be a tough decision!

                                  -----
                                  Babbo
                                  110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                  1. re: sweet_polly
                                    s
                                    Simon Jan 11, 2011 07:07 AM

                                    go with Scarpetta...the black cod is one of my fav dishes anywhere...

                                    1. re: sweet_polly
                                      kelea Jan 11, 2011 09:10 AM

                                      I'm one of the few people on this board that MUCH prefer Scarpetta to Babbo. I also only get the spaghetti and the polenta. But they are to die for for me. Where else for Babbo, while I enjoyed everything I haven't had the desire to go back

                                      -----
                                      Babbo
                                      110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                      Scarpetta
                                      355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                                    2. re: TheDegustationAsian
                                      k
                                      kathryn Jan 11, 2011 07:11 AM

                                      I've never found the music to be insanely loud but we typically sit on the 2nd floor.

                                      1. re: kathryn
                                        p
                                        Pan Jan 11, 2011 10:43 PM

                                        I would concur. At least in my one trip there so far, I was also on the 2nd floor, and while my brother couldn't believe they were playing Guns 'N Roses, it really wasn't that loud.

                                        1. re: kathryn
                                          _emilie_ Jan 12, 2011 06:23 AM

                                          I agree -- if the music is an issue, try to sit upstairs. When I've been with my SO, we've sat downstairs and its boisterous and a bit of a scene (not in a bad way, just lots of energy and people watching), and you definitely notice the out-of-place-for-a-nice-restaurant music. When I went with my mom, we sat upstairs and it was a totally different experience -- very "nice restaurant" feeling, rather than a hotspot, and I didn't notice the music at all. Service was equally wonderful both times, but the overall atmosphere very different.

                                    3. m
                                      msm856 Jan 11, 2011 01:23 PM

                                      I have been to both Scarpetta's (NY and Miami) and Babbo 3x....IMHO
                                      SCARPETTA, while in its early days Babbo was the king, I get the feeling that it has turned into a place where the table turn is more important than the diners experence.

                                      Food quality at both is excellent, but again I am leaning toward Scarpetta....why not try both while you are here and make your own decision.

                                      -----
                                      Babbo
                                      110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                      Scarpetta
                                      355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: msm856
                                        sweet_polly Jan 11, 2011 01:43 PM

                                        I have decided to go with Scarpetta after all. It sounds like reservations are a PITA to get at Babbo and if the music is too loud (as posters all over the internet are saying it is) and I find that I am unable to be seated away from it, it will ruin my experience...no matter how good the food is. It's actually one of my top restaurant pet peeves, so I really don't want to risk it.

                                        I really appreciate all of the helpful feedback. I'll let you know what I thought of it when I get back (it'll be about a month from now). We don't have a great food culture here in Tampa, so I'm very excited about eating my way through your city! :)

                                        -----
                                        Babbo
                                        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                        Scarpetta
                                        355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                                        1. re: sweet_polly
                                          h
                                          H Manning Jan 11, 2011 03:37 PM

                                          For what it's worth, Scarpetta isn't exactly "quiet" - I thought the noise level was about the same as Babbo.

                                          -----
                                          Babbo
                                          110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                          Scarpetta
                                          355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                                          1. re: H Manning
                                            sweet_polly Jan 11, 2011 03:42 PM

                                            Thanks. :) The high conversation level of happy diners is something I handle a lot better than too-loud music.

                                            1. re: sweet_polly
                                              steve h. Jan 11, 2011 04:23 PM

                                              Scarpetta is a good choice.
                                              The music isn't loud, either downstairs or upstairs, at Babbo.

                                              -----
                                              Babbo
                                              110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                              Scarpetta
                                              355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                                      2. sgordon Jan 12, 2011 01:35 PM

                                        I like them both, but I find Babbo a little more of a unique experience. That said, rezzies are VERY hard to come by. You probably know the routine by now - call exactly one month before the date you want to dine first thing in the morning and hope for the best. If you don't get in, Scarpetta is a more than worthy second choice. Del Posto might also be worth looking into if you're leaning towards a Batali resto.

                                        For your other meal: Eleven Madison Park was a good suggestion, though it'll break $300 for sure - $125 minimum menu X 2 + $48 (or so) for four glasses of wine, and you're at $300 before you even add the tax & tip. If you can stretch the budget to closer to $400, for my money it's the place to go.

                                        Just to break down the math - $300 total budget, assuming wine @ $12/glass = $185 before tax/tip, or about $92/per person for the food part of the budget.

                                        But if that's not an option, there are some great meals to be found... If you cant do Babbo, maybe another Iron Chef? Morimoto can be quite an experience, and you can do it for under $300 - just order a bunch of different dishes (they're good for sharing) until you hit your price tag. Have a couple glasses of fine sake. Skip a sushi course, go for all prepared dishes - you could put together your own multi-course menu for $300, easily - say, two cold apps, two hot apps, two entrees, dessert.

                                        Or for something a little more "only in NY" - WD-50. If you enjoy playfulness & creativity, Wylie Dufresne (though certainly controversial) is the standard-bearer here. You couldn't do the tasting menu - but I find going a la carte more fun, anyway. Again, you could do your own expansive "tasting" - get two apps, an entree and dessert each - and still come in under your budget. If you're a fan of cocktails, I'd recommend them highest - their bartenders are spectacular, and very much in the kooky-creative style of the kitchen.

                                        -----
                                        WD-50
                                        50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

                                        Eleven Madison Park
                                        11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

                                        Babbo
                                        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                        Del Posto
                                        85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                                        Morimoto
                                        88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                                        Scarpetta
                                        355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: sgordon
                                          p
                                          Pan Jan 12, 2011 03:07 PM

                                          I'd recommend Lupa over Del Posto, based on only one meal at Del Posto and a bunch of meals at Lupa. However, Del Posto is beautiful and Lupa is much more informal and classy in atmosphere, if that makes a difference to sweet_polly. The back room at Lupa is much more sedate and relaxed than the front room, though.

                                          1. re: Pan
                                            g
                                            gutsofsteel Jan 12, 2011 03:15 PM

                                            I did not enjoy my Del Posto lunch, but really you can't compare Lupa and Del Posto. That's like comparing Teriyaki Boy to Masa.

                                            -----
                                            Lupa
                                            170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

                                            Del Posto
                                            85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                                            Teriyaki Boy
                                            216 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003

                                            Masa
                                            10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

                                            1. re: gutsofsteel
                                              p
                                              Pan Jan 12, 2011 08:44 PM

                                              I haven't been to either Teriyaki Boy or Masa, but though Lupa is less ambitious than Del Posto, it may be more reliable - and not at a low-end fast-food level, which is what I think Teriyaki Boy is, but a mid-range, informal but gourmet level. I mentioned that in my report in the thread called "Great lunch at Del Posto":

                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7541...

                                              1. re: Pan
                                                g
                                                gutsofsteel Jan 12, 2011 10:08 PM

                                                McDonald's is also reliable, that doesn't mean you can compare it to Luger's. My point was that comparing Lupa to Del Posto just doesn't have much meaning. Lupa is not "gourmet level" - it's a solid mid-range restaurant.

                                                -----
                                                Lupa
                                                170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

                                                Del Posto
                                                85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                                                1. re: gutsofsteel
                                                  p
                                                  Pan Jan 12, 2011 10:14 PM

                                                  They're both Batali-associated restaurants. I think you can compare between levels as well as between restaurants at similar levels of expense and ambition. I get that you don't think such a comparison makes sense and I understand your way of thinking, but I don't take back my comments.

                                                  But McDonald's sucks, and from what I've heard from people I respect, so does Teriyaki Boy. Lupa does not, and I've had a lot of delicious (if you prefer that to "gourmet") food there.

                                                  1. re: Pan
                                                    g
                                                    gutsofsteel Jan 12, 2011 11:51 PM

                                                    So what that they're both Batali restaurants? That does make them comparable. Otto and Babbo are also both Batali-associated. So? They're not really comparable either. Shake Shack and EMP are both Danny Meyer-associated. Does that make them comparable? Of course not. Maybe you like Shake Shack, and you didn't enjoy EMP. Does that make Shake Shack better than EMP? Of course not - you can't compare them.

                                                    I like Lupa, but comparing it to Del Posto just doesn't make sense...one is a casual restaurant that doesn't have any interest in being a "fancy" place and the other is striving to be a wordclass, upscale, starred restaurant.

                                                    The fact that you enjoy Lupa more doesn't make the comparison valid.

                                                    I like Petite Auberge better than Adour....that doesn't mean that a comparison between the two is valid. It isn't.

                                                    And McDonald's doesn't suck...I like me a Big Mac now and then. That doesn't mean I should compare it to Luger's. Teriyaki Boy doesn't suck either. And gourmet and delicious are not synonyms.

                                                    -----
                                                    Lupa
                                                    170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

                                                    Del Posto
                                                    85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                                                    Teriyaki Boy
                                                    216 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003

                                                    1. re: gutsofsteel
                                                      p
                                                      Pan Jan 13, 2011 12:38 AM

                                                      I know what gourmet means; you just objected to the way I was using it.

                                                      I understand your points perfectly. I don't have to agree to operate by them in order to fully understand them. Because while you are certainly right that comparing like to like is easiest, the fact is, you can compare any two things, although you are limited by the degree of difference and similarity between them (if they're too similar, there may be too little to contrast). People like to speak of "apples and oranges," but they are both fruits, whereas apples and garden hoses would be a more difficult comparison. Now, whether my comparisons are useful to you is another question, best left up to you. And that's all I want to say, lest we go too far off track in this thread.

                                            2. re: Pan
                                              r
                                              RCC Jan 12, 2011 03:16 PM

                                              Lupa? I like it too, but,hmmm, sweet_polly won't because she doesn't like rock music,(which is sufficiently subdued, imho) while dining.

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                                              Lupa
                                              170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

                                              1. re: RCC
                                                p
                                                Pan Jan 12, 2011 08:45 PM

                                                I meant to post that Del Posto is much more classy in atmosphere than Lupa.

                                                I don't notice the music at Lupa much, and I'm a musician, so it really isn't loud.

                                          2. p
                                            peter j Jan 14, 2011 10:57 AM

                                            I need to make a reservation for 6 at Babbo for 2/18. I know there's only one large table and phone lines are always busy, so...

                                            Is it possible to show up at the restaurant at 10 am on 1/18 to make the reservation in person? I think I read that somewhere but I can't seem to find the thread... Thanks.

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                                            Babbo
                                            110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: peter j
                                              sgordon Jan 14, 2011 11:24 AM

                                              Don't know - I'd say if you go in person, have your cell phone on you and start calling at 9:57. If you're worried, have a couple friends calling for you from other phones as well.

                                              Also, given the explosion of high-end Italian over the last few years, and that there are far more celebrity chefs splitting the market than in Batali's heyday, I don't think the lines are QUITE as bad as they used to be. Still one of the tougher rezzies in town, for sure, but not impossible.

                                              1. re: sgordon
                                                c oliver Jan 14, 2011 11:30 AM

                                                Since they don't serve lunch, I'd doubt one could even get in the place. And is the res person even on-site?

                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                  r
                                                  rrems Jan 14, 2011 07:48 PM

                                                  Yes, according to other posts on CH, they do indeed open at 10 am for in-person reservations, so you can go there and beat the phone system.

                                                  1. re: rrems
                                                    c oliver Jan 14, 2011 08:01 PM

                                                    Cool.

                                              2. re: peter j
                                                k
                                                kathryn Jan 15, 2011 06:39 AM

                                                Yes - you can actually walk in a bit earlier, like 9:50am and the hostess will open up the book and basically give you any time you want. I've gotten 8pm on Saturday for 2 or 4 people this way. And I've maybe run into ONE other person while doing it this way.

                                                1. re: kathryn
                                                  p
                                                  peter j Jan 18, 2011 07:29 AM

                                                  Great. I showed up at 9:50 am today and got my reservation for the desired date and time. The reservationist was really nice too. Thanks for the tip!

                                                  1. re: peter j
                                                    k
                                                    kathryn Jan 18, 2011 07:41 AM

                                                    You're welcome!

                                                    1. re: kathryn
                                                      c oliver Jan 18, 2011 08:50 AM

                                                      That is just so cool. I'm envious of you NYCers.

                                              3. s
                                                scotty27 Jan 23, 2011 09:09 AM

                                                Babbo is better, good luck getting in. Lupa is a great choice if neither are available and how about Locanda Verde???

                                                www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                                                -----
                                                Lupa
                                                170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

                                                Babbo
                                                110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                                Locanda Verde
                                                377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

                                                1. sweet_polly Jan 23, 2011 11:43 AM

                                                  I have made reservations at Scarpetta. Thanks again for your help, everyone. You guys helped me to decide that, even if the food is somewhat superior at Babbo, Scarpetta is less risky for me. I honestly think it would annoy the $#!+ out of me to have to listen to Guns 'n Roses while eating a $300+ dinner. I guess I'm old. :-p

                                                  Will report back after the dinner (in three weeks).

                                                  -----
                                                  Babbo
                                                  110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                                  Scarpetta
                                                  355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: sweet_polly
                                                    c oliver Jan 23, 2011 01:20 PM

                                                    I'm sure you'll enjoy your dinner. For future reference, Bob and I had dinner there (granted three years ago) with apperitifs and a full bottle of wine and it was $150.

                                                    1. re: c oliver
                                                      sweet_polly Jan 23, 2011 01:27 PM

                                                      My husband and I order like there's no tomorrow when we're on vacation (we don't have the greatest food culture here in Tampa, FL). It's a sickness. :/

                                                    2. re: sweet_polly
                                                      c
                                                      conordog May 21, 2011 07:12 PM

                                                      Can't believe u put stock in the GnR reports. babbo is a superior dining experience in every facet. I read this whole thread only to come away upset and dejected. I'm sorry these people steered u wrong. The scarpetta spagetti is SO overrated. Especially put next to the babbo garganelle funghi oe even their classic ( but perfect) bolognese.

                                                      1. re: conordog
                                                        s
                                                        Simon May 21, 2011 08:50 PM

                                                        yeah, and if she'd gone to Babbo in the summer she might have even to got to see Batali walk through the place wearing Bermuda shorts and Crocs!...woohoo...helluva dining experience ;)

                                                        -----
                                                        Babbo
                                                        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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