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Rethinking Babbo

  • c

We were able to snag a reservation at Babbo for our upcoming NYC visit. However, after reading some of the negative comments, we may need to substitute another Italian restaurant. We were considering doing the tasting menu with wine pairings but need to be mindful of the cost and keep below $200 each. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

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Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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  1. You're going to find negative comments about any restaurant, to be honest- the most important thing is to see the context from which they came, and if the reviewer has brought up legitimate concerns that you would be troubled by, then you should take them to heart.

    I do like Babbo, but another upscale italian place with tasting menu/wine pairings that I like would be Scarpetta. Al Fiori is very nice, but probably not going to clear under 200 each.

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    Babbo
    110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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

    Ai Fiori
    400 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018

    1. I think you are going to find negative comments on this board about every restaurant in NYC. Was there something in particular about the negative comments that has turned you off Babbo? For instance, you might not care for the loud music. Otherwise, I think there are enough positive comments about the food that you should keep the reservation. One way to save some money might be to order bottles of wine instead of doing the wine pairings, particularly if there are more than two of you. I had a really great meal at Babbo and have nothing really negative to say about it apart from the noise which was a little loud. If you are interested in a quiet, romantic dinner Babbo may not be the best place.

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      Babbo
      110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

      8 Replies
      1. re: ChemWork

        InfoMofo and ChemWork, thank you both for your positive comments. There will only be two of us at this particular restaurant and we are both "Mario Fans." So I think we will just keep our Babbo reservation. Do either of you have a preference to the tasting menu or just ordering from the menu?

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        Babbo
        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

        1. re: cjml

          They will seasonally have special tasting menus, and I had a really stellar tomato-focused tasting menu one time.

          They also had a pasta tasting menu, where every course including dessert was pasta- and that was interesting... but way too much, I wanted to die by the end.

          If they're not offering a special tasting menu, I don't think the normal tasting menu is anything that special versus the a la carte, especially if you're not doing wine pairings.

          1. re: InfoMofo

            Wine pairings are something that we enjoy doing.

          2. re: cjml

            I would advise that you order a la carte, if only because the most famous dishes are NOT on the tasting: pig's foot, tripe, octopus, lamb's tongue with three minute egg, mint love letters, goose liver ravioli, the pork chop, the sweetbreads, etc.

            I've had several meals there a la carte and always been pleased.
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/527074

            Of course the trade off is missing out on the wine pairings.

            More on dishes at Babbo:
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/754619
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/583928
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/701188
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/563179
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/543101
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/524042

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            Babbo
            110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

            1. re: kathryn

              They won't do pairings when you order a la carte?

              1. re: kathryn

                Actually if you do a la carte, you can still request wine pairings. I've done that quite a few times, and they were always happy to do that.

                1. re: nohofoods

                  I am a huge Babbo fan and find the staff incredibly accomodating. I tend to design my own tasting menu with my gf. Basically, we share 4 to 5 dishes (pastas and appetizers usually) and ask for wine pairings. The server gladly splits each dish for us and serves one at a time. It's a great way to sample a lot of the menu and can be quite affordable. Enjoy your babbo experience!

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                  Babbo
                  110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                2. re: kathryn

                  At my dinner there we ordered the tasting menu and then added a couple of those dishes to split between the two of us. Worked out well.

            2. either Scarpetta or Maialino...

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

              Maialino
              2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

              1. There is nothing wrong with Babbo, and since you have never been there I am sure you will enjoy it, but there have been better places that have opened in the last few years. Scarpetta, Maialino and Ai Fiori are examples of these, but my current absolute favorite is Ciano. I really feel it beats all the others, and the prices are not excessive. They have a great wine selection, too.

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                Ciano
                45 E 22nd St, New York, NY 10010

                2 Replies
                1. re: rrems

                  re: Ciano...haven't been yet, but it's very close to my home...what do you like?...what should i try?...

                  1. re: Simon

                    fluke crudo
                    veal meatballs

                    tagliatelle with crab
                    pappardelle with duck
                    garganelli with mushrooms

                    lamb loin

                    When we were there this week, we had 3 dishes from the tasting menu (all of the dishes on the tasting are available a la carte) and they were amazing:

                    gazpacho with lobster
                    soft shell crab sliders
                    crisp duck

                    I also had a special of gnocchi stuffed with sausage. They looked like agnolotti, but the dough was made of potato. It was one of the best pasta dishes I have ever had.

                    For dessert, the tiramisu semifreddo is excellent.

                    It's great that is is in your neighborhood, but I would not call it a "neighborhood" restaurant. It is definitely worth travelling to.

                2. stick w Babbo-i'm as critical as they come and i love love love Babbo

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                  Babbo
                  110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011