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Looking for input on Scarpetta, Babbo, & Minetta Tavern menu choices

Hi all! Lurking on these boards helped me pick my restaurants, and all the reservations are made.

How do these choices sound?

Scarpetta: Pumpkin Casonsei, Duck & Foie Gras Ravioli, Black Cod. (DH will surely go for the pancetta wrapped pork loin- has anyone had it? Is it good?)

Lunch at Babbo: I'm thinking no primi, and two pasta courses: the beef cheek ravioli, and the agnolotti with brown butter and sage...then the crispy branzino OR a selection of 5 cheeses and dessert.

Dinner at Minetta: My hubbie and I may share the cote de boeuf if it's really worth it. Their coconut cake is also definitely on my must-eat list! May just skip hors d'oeuvres since nothing stands out and the steak and sides will be so filling.

Dinner at EMP: I know there's no menu, and I've been to EMP twice before. I am curious, however, if they always have the duck available. And would they offer both the hot and cold foie gras course? Or will I sound like a total glutton if I subtly ask for it?.....*sheepish grin*

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  1. Scarpetta: I'd do the polenta, short ribs, spaghetti, duck/foie ravioli, and share the cod if possible. It's good but I didn't find it as amazing as other people did. I think the spaghetti is simple but great.

    Babbo: If the lunch portions are similar to the dinner portions, and you're skipping antipasti (primi = pasta), I'd think you might not have enough food. I'd get two pastas, the two entrees, and dessert.

    Minetta: the cote de boeuf is definitely worth it if you like very flavorful, funky steak. They also cook it on the rarer side of medium rare. Some people may find the funk overwhelming. For me it's just on the line of being too much. Also the salad it comes with comes at the end of the steak, and pretty small. It's a palate cleanser, our server told us. And don't forget about their wonderful souffles!

    EMP: they can basically grant your every wish, as long as you let them know. I'd mention the duck when making the reservation and confirming the reservation, just so they know in advance. Someone on here has mentioned that on rare occasions, the duck isn't available.

    If you want to have a hot foie gras course and your husband wants the cold, that can also be accommodated. If you want to double up on foie gras (two hot and two cold), there may be a supplement though. Just ask! No need to be subtle about it.

    7 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Thanks kathryn! A few more questions:

      Any desserts at Scarpetta and Babbo that really stand out?

      Wouldn't 2 primis and two entrees be too much food at Babbo for one person? Or are there lunch portions just really tiny?

      I'll definitely make sure to mention the duck when i confirm with EMP.

      Thanks again!

      1. re: eviemichael

        How many people are you going to be for each meal? I assumed 2 for each meal since you mentioned your husband a few times.

        At Scarpetta, I don't think I've had anything off of the current dessert menu except the chocolate cake, which is good.

        At Babbo, the seasonal crostata is usually very good. The chocolate hazelnut cake is also nice. In the fall they sometimes have a great concord grape and brioche dessert. It's Gina's non-traditional take on Italian harvest bread with grapes: "Schiacciata d'Uva." Hopefully it will be there when you go. I also recall enjoying the budino in the past. If nothing else appeals, get some gelati/sorbetti.

        1. re: kathryn

          Oh sorry, I realize now that was confusing. I will be with my husband (and for some other places, also with a few friends), but I am just considering my own meal. DH doesn't like to plan things out as much as I do! :)

          Thanks again for the advice. The grape-brioche dessert sounds wonderful.

          1. re: eviemichael

            I've been to Babbo once, a few years ago. I liked my meal very much, but I remember that the selection of gelati and sorbetti was inconsistent in quality. One or two of them weren't up to par - nothing horrible, of course, but not wonderful like the rest of the meal. I'm sorry that I can't remember the flavors at this late date. I think the one we liked best was the buttermilk gelato, which had a great sourness.

      2. re: kathryn

        hi kathryn,

        How do you compared the cote de boeuf at Minetta (tried) vs ribeye at Momofuku (haven't tried)? I love intense funk so wouldn't mind doing the cote de boeuf at Minetta again, but of course my heart also feel like may be I should try something new. And since I am dining solo I guess one huge steak is enough for me instead of going for both. Your always helpful advice will be greatly appreciated! :)

        1. re: kobetobiko

          The ribeye at Momofuku is less intimidating, but still very flavorful, and comes with a great side (I think we had a shisito pepper slaw with radishes that was pretty big, plus a bowl of steak drippings). Less monotonous. But overall less funk than Minetta. Also the size at Momofuku Ssam can vary a lot, sometimes 85 oz, sometimes 65 oz, dependent upon what they have in back.

        2. re: kathryn

          Had the duck foie ravioli at Scarpetta tonite, I was very disappointed. I found the dish had too powerful flavors to enjoy the whole dish. It was good for a few bites then a struggle to get through it.
          The black farfalle with lobster dish was real good,
          the hamachi sashimi appetizer was very good,
          the scallops smelled kind of funky but tasted good.
          The panicotta with pineapple was just ok
          I almost got the venison, I think I should have.
          The prices are pretty steep.
          Good wines by the glass. Some are expensive, Barolo $28

        3. I also did lunch at Babbo, with visiting family--Skip the brown butter agnolotti, trust me. Do the black pasta with bottarga (we each shared a few bites of this off of mom's plate, and died a little). Or if you dislike black pasta, try the gnocchi, which is heavenly (and I don't even like much cheese).

          1 Reply
          1. re: calf

            Thanks for the tips! Is the brown butter agnolotti too sweet?

            I like black pasta, but I don't like jalapenos too much. Gnocci sounds like a great alternative. :)

          2. My one experience with the black cod at Scarpetta was mediocre (a friend ordered it and I tried some - it was not 100% fresh-tasting), but based on others' comments here, it seems to have been a fluke. Otherwise, I think your orders are good, though if it's your first time at Scarpetta, you might consider switching the pumpkin casonsei (same as casunziei?) with another one of Scott Conant's signature dishes: the polenta that Kathryn mentions. If you're lucky, it will be wonderfully mushroomy; if you're unlucky, it'll be more buttery and less mushroomy, but still delicious. That pumpkin casonsei dish does sound delicious, though!

            I've been to Scarpetta only 3 times (and at Conant's former restaurant, L'Impero, once before that) and not too recently, but I believe I remember the duck breast secondo being great. I tend to like duck, though.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Pan

              I love duck too, but I always order it and I thought I'd branch out with the cod. :)
              We'll probably get polenta for the table to share.
              If I get two pasta courses and one entree, do you think that's too much?

              1. re: eviemichael

                Seems like a lot of pasta to me, but if you're hungry, you don't find that too heavy, and you don't also have an appetizer or dessert, you can do it. I've so far tended to order an appetizer (confusingly listed under the "primi piatti" category, which oddly excludes the pastas, which normally form the core of the primi on Italian menus), a pasta, a secondo, and a dessert, and then I'm stuffed! So I think it's better to be a bit conservative, unless your philosophy is to enjoy as many tastes as possible and then not eat much the rest of the day.

                1. re: Pan

                  I figure I'll be going up a dress size after our NY trip!
                  Are the portions large at Scarpetta? I don't know why, but I assumed they would be on the small side.

                  1. re: eviemichael

                    I find that the bread basket, one appetizer, one pasta, and half an entree really fill me up at Scarpetta. I've even skipped the entree in favor of dessert before. That dang bread basket is so great though!

                    1. re: kathryn

                      Good to know. Maybe I'll do 2 pasta dishes and then share a main. I really can't choose between the duck ravioli and pumpkin pasta dish. I gotta have both, what can I say?
                      I wonder why I assumed the portions were small...

                      As I sit here with my small little chicken salad, I CANT WAIT to dig in to that bread basket!

                      1. re: kathryn

                        Sorry, one more question. We have tickets for a jazz show at the village vanguard that starts at 9.
                        Our Scarpetta reservation is at 6pm, and we'll have to leave at 8:15. 2 hours is enough time for a leisurely dinner there, right?