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Posted by st. louis travelers on 07/22/2006
We had so looked forward to our visit to Babbo in NYC! And it was so disappointing! It was to be a highlight and we're foodies -- watch the Food Channel, have bought the cookbooks, love to cook! We had 9:30 reservations, but we still had to wait and, as the bar was over-crowded, all we could do was stand at the maitre d's stand and wait...and wait! Finally, when a table was available, we climbed the long stairs up. The wait staff was okay. But the meal was hurried and the food was only luke warm when it arrived. We did the pasta tasting menu. We expected "extraordinary". What we got was very average. It is hard to live up to all the Zagat stars and expectations of most diners will be high! We were uncomfortable the entire evening, a real change from the other top drawer restaurants we had eaten at. Glad to leave and put it behind us. No need to return. Sorry, Mario! You need to have a more welcoming staff and watch your kitchen a little more.
Posted by Tree on 07/21/2006
The service was very polite and accomodating at Babbo. However, the food and the atmosphere were lacking. Perhaps it is because my guest and I arrived at around 10pm, rather on the late side. Still, I do not think this is an excuse. We ordered two Traditional Tasting Menus, with eight courses. I appreciate that the food seemed to be made fresh, but it took a full 2.5 hours for all of the food to come out. I was falling asleep by the time the main course (3rd) arrived. I was not very impressed with the food -- extremely on the salty side for 3/8 of the courses. The Pappardelle was much too greasy and salty. Our first course was a tiny, shriveled eggplant slice. The atmosphere is also not very good. We decided to wait at the bar until a table was ready, and when we made the switch to the table, it was so small and crowded (I elbowed two people) and so loud (we couldn't hear each other speak across the table) that we decided to just go back to the roomier bar. Right when our sixth course came around, it was around the time when the restaurant started to close up, apparently. Two females on the waitstaff sat near us at the bar, very drunk, and were shrieking, laughing, and slurring very close to us while we tried to eat our meal. Then they started to paw at and flirt with one of the older male waitstaff, which was quite uncomfortable. For the price we paid, the unpleasant atmosphere, and the lackluster food, I will not return. Sorry, Batalli. I'll just watch you on the television.
Posted by Anonymous on 07/08/2006
Our Picks for Two: ANTIPASTA: Steamed Cockles with Red Chiles. This probably wasn't the best start to our meal. It was just average, something you would find at your typical Italian fare. PRIMI: - Goose Liver Ravioli with Balsamic Vinegar and Brown Butter. This dish was absolutely phenomenal. I'm not much of a fan of pate, but with the balsamic reduction the two ingredients worked perfectly together. We had this more towards the end of the meal; being a sweet dish it was a great lead into dessert. - Beef Cheek Ravioli with Crushed Squab Liver and Black Truffles. This was my favorite out of everything we had, and a lot of people seemed to have ordered it too. A rustic and simply done dish. Although the black truffles didn't add anything to the already great pasta it was plainly used for aesthetics. SECONDI: - Duck with Sweet and Sour Cabbage, Speck and Brovada. The duck was cooked very tender and crispy, it almost tasted like the crispy pork you get in those chinatown restaurants. I would have probably enjoyed it better if it had a different sauce paired with it; I wasn't too crazy about the crushed up lima beans. It didn't overpower the duck which was good. - Barbecued Squab with Roasted Beet “Farrotto” and Porcini Mustard. Really, Really flavorful. I think the Roast Beet "farrotto" made the dish. Everything was wonderfully put together and the flavors and ingredients worked very well with eachother. DOLCI: Cherry Upsidedown Cake and Moscato (sweet wine). I don't usually like cherries it my dessert, but yet again this restaurant does everything wonderfully. We had Moscato to top off a fantastic meal. - - - Service at Babbo is nothing less than great. Our server made great suggestions to the menu. Him and the rest of the staff were very attentive. Not at all annoying, came over once to see how things were and when you needed something he was always there in a second.
Posted by Charm City Food Critic on 07/02/2006
Did the eight course pasta tasting menu - 5 pastas / 3 desserts. Food was wonderful. Service was exceptional as well. Sommelier was extremely helpful and showed no arrogance at all (although he looked like he was about 17). He directed us to three choices of Brunello that we not in the stratospheric price range, but still fit my reques for a traditional Brunello. Cannot say enough good things about the meal. Only downside is that I could not get a reservation before 9 pm (on a Monday night no less). They did fit in a buddy of mine at the last minute.
Posted by Sam on 06/11/2006
My friend took me here for a birthday dinner. We decided to give going there a shot the night before, so we did not have a reservation. We walked in around 6 and passed the tables for "walk ins" across from the bar. If you can avoid this, do - when people line up the bar gets crowded and I imagine you lose all atmosphere as you squeeze to make froom from the crowd. The host was very pleasant and said the wait for 2 was about an hour - and then, a second later, remembered that he had a reservation for 2 and the party was late. He said if they were not there in 10 minutes the table was ours. 10 minutes and a few dirty looks to those entering later, we had a perfect table at the bottom of the grand staircase. The atomosphere is very cozy. They brought out an amuse bouche which was a crustini with a marinated chickpea (and meat?) salad on top. DELICIOUS! And a promising sign. From there the waiter came by and was very pleasant and informative. Here is what I sampled, and for the sake of simplicity let me just say it was ALL great - I started with: Buccatini All'Amitriciana (thick spaghetti with a thin bacon like meat, hot peppers, and pecorino in a lovely tomato sauce-YUM!), my friend got: Black Pepper Pappardele with Wild Boar Ragu - hearty and meaty and delicious, and then for entree I got a special: Soft shelled crabs cooked in olive oil and served over radishes and squash - small crabs, but PERFECTLY cooked and wonderful on the veggies, and my friend got: Grilled Lamb Chops "Scottadita" which were succulent, tender and delicious. The wine list, while pricy, deserves a nod, and the desserts were an excellent finish. This place is worth the hype. All hail Mario Batali!
Posted by Anonymous on 05/18/2006
This was, by far, the most amazing restaurant experience. I have been to countless amazing restaurants - c'mon we're new yorkers, but this place was impeccable. The pasta, meats, and deserts were nothing short of perfection. The pasta tasting menu was an experience on it's own - their pasta is unlike anything i have ever had. If you're sick of all the restaurants that are all abt. ambiance and not the food, this is the place to go.
Posted by Ali on 05/05/2006
Went there for my birthday and was completely blown away. The food was flawless, atmosphere hip and relaxing, the staff were terrific. I can't wait to go back! I've been to quite a few hot restaurants this really rates!