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Babbo


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I second the Goat Cheese Tortellini...heaven on a plate.

Thanks very much...my wife will love it. I am wondering what the "fennel pollen" adds to the dish. Does it add the normal fennel flavor? Or something different? Thanks again for all the suggestions...I can't wait for tomorrow night.

Jeff

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Fennel pollen is in no way overpowering when used as a dusting. It has a sweeter anise flavor but much mellower than the fennel seeds. Enjoy!

"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them." ~Winston Churchill

Morels- God's gift to the unworthy human species

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Well, we went to Babbo Saturday night and as much as I had high expectations, they were exceeded. We got there a bit early and were able to squeeze our way to the bar and grab 1 stool. I was immediately impressed by the bartender's knowledge of the wines that were available by the quarter-liter. My wife had a Barolo that she loved and I can't remember the name of the wine that I had, but it was blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Frnac, and Nebbiolo. It was a touch lighter than I expected, but nice.

When our daughter and her boyfriend arrived, we were seated at a table only about 30 feet from the bar. I had expected that this would mean a noisy night, especially given the NYT review regarding the blaring rock and roll. We did not find that to be the case at all, and had very little problem with the noise leve in the restaurant all night...even though we were there until 11:30. (I was afraid that when Michael Stipe came in and was seated nearby, we would suddenly hear REM blasting over the speakers..but, no).

Another surprise, only because I do not remember hearing about the service, was how outstanding the service was. Our waiter wsa able to strongly suggest certain dishes and had a very detailed knowledge of every dish (I wish that some of his detailed descriptions were on the menu!).

We started out with the prosciutto, beef cheeks, and "autumn vegetables" appetizers. Although my wife loved her vegetables and the kids loved the prsciutto, the beek cheeks were clearly the standout. What everyone here have already said does not need repeating. An amazing depth of flavor, and yet I didn't find it too filling (maybe because I hadn't eaten since breakfast?).

For the main course we had the Garganelli with Funghi Trifolati, beef cheek ravilioli, goat cheese tortelloni, and the pork chop. The garganelli was very well done, but the goat cheese tortelloni was a huge hit (thanks to eGullet for this strong recommendation). And, while I am not really a pork guy, this wsa by far the best pork chop that I ever had. In fact, it was so good that I can barely remember ever EATING another pork chop! It was amazing that it could be cooked so perfectly throughout the entire piece of meat. Although it was very large, I savored every bite and finished it all.

Desserts were also great although, thankfully, not nearly as filling as previous courses. The saffron panna cotta was fantastic, and the apple walnut (I think, I was delirious by now) was also delicious. I had the 3 cheese course parmiagiano reggiano, taleggio, and gorgonzola. All superb. And I was finally able to try a 1977 Smith-Woodhouse port, which is one of the few 1977 ports that I have not tried. Just like all the others, it was outstanding, as was the 40 yr old tawny that was also ordered.

All in all, an amazing evening. And I cannot say enough about the waiter. He seemed to know about everything on the menu, from wines, to pasta, to mains, to cheeses. I have always know how hard it is to get reservations (it took me 40 minutes of non-stop dialing! A total of 400 phone calls!), but I never knew what a truly special experience it is. Thanks Mario!!

Jeff Wilson

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And, while I am not really a pork guy, this wsa by far the best pork chop that I ever had. In fact, it was so good that I can barely remember ever EATING another pork chop! It was amazing that it could be cooked so perfectly throughout the entire piece of meat. Although it was very large, I savored every bite and finished it all.

I am curious as to the method of cooking.of the pork. It sounds like it may have been cooked sous vide. Does anyone know if they are using that method in the kitchen there?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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And, while I am not really a pork guy, this wsa by far the best pork chop that I ever had. In fact, it was so good that I can barely remember ever EATING another pork chop! It was amazing that it could be cooked so perfectly throughout the entire piece of meat. Although it was very large, I savored every bite and finished it all.

I am curious as to the method of cooking.of the pork. It sounds like it may have been cooked sous vide. Does anyone know if they are using that method in the kitchen there?

When Dayne and I were there in July he had the pork chop, I'm pretty sure it was grilled. Jeff, did they drizzle the balsamic on/around it?? mmmmmm! LOVE Babbo!

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And, while I am not really a pork guy, this wsa by far the best pork chop that I ever had. In fact, it was so good that I can barely remember ever EATING another pork chop! It was amazing that it could be cooked so perfectly throughout the entire piece of meat. Although it was very large, I savored every bite and finished it all.

I am curious as to the method of cooking.of the pork. It sounds like it may have been cooked sous vide. Does anyone know if they are using that method in the kitchen there?

When Dayne and I were there in July he had the pork chop, I'm pretty sure it was grilled. Jeff, did they drizzle the balsamic on/around it?? mmmmmm! LOVE Babbo!

The reason I ask is that when in Spain recently all the most wonderful meats had been cooked that way and I would never have guessed it. I don't see any reason why a kitchen like Batali's flagship might not be doing the same. Wendy, do you recall if it was labeled as grilled or was it an assumption? I may have to find out for myself as I'll be dining there next week. :biggrin:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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When Dayne and I were there in July he had the pork chop, I'm pretty sure it was grilled. Jeff, did they drizzle the balsamic on/around it?? mmmmmm! LOVE Babbo!

Yes, and that balsamic was just amazing. A perfect complement to the pork chop.

Jeff

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

I scored a reservation for 6 this weekend at Babbo. It will be my second time to the restaurant, and I want to order straight off the menu instead of doing the pasta tasting (which I enjoyed on my first visit). I can't decide what to order though, and I'm getting nervous as the date is quickly approaching.

So I will put forth this question to all the Babbo lovers out there on eG: If you were going to Babbo tomorrow, what would you order? (Let's pretend that the only limiting factor is appetite)

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If you were going to Babbo tomorrow, what would you order?

The Testa

Squab Liver Ravioli

Anything he has on the menu with lambs tongue.

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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If you were going to Babbo tomorrow, what would you order?

I'd order the pasta tasting menu again, but since that isn't an option I'd be sure to try to Mint Love Letters as my pasta course.

Bill Russell

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Visited Babbo this weekend and enjoyed the Pasta tasting menu. It was bar none the best pasta meal my husband or I have had. Given the option we would have returned the next evening :biggrin: . Overall we found the service to be extremely professional, informed, and pleasant. We had a late reservation. Looking back our choice of a tasting menu so late in the day probably made for a late night for the staff, who were more than ready to leave by the time we were done though we were not the last ones there. However, I am very glad we selected the tasting menu.

I won't repeat the dishes because most have been described here - I would agree with previous posters that the Tagliatelle with parsnips and pancetta and the garganelli with mushrooms were the highlights.

The wines were excellent, and both the bartender and our server helped us to select wonderful wines. At the bar we ordered the Fiano di Avellino, a grape I had never tried, and found it to be fresh and bright, a perfect way to start the evening. For pairing with dinner we selected, with our server's help, a lovely Barbaresco. It paired fairly well with the lighter pastas, but really shined with the tomato and mushroom sauces. With dessert we opted for a Moscato d'Asti recommended on the tasting menu.

They were most accomodating of my mango allergy and substituted the featured dessert of saffron panacotta and mango with a delicious chocolate treat that I don't recall (I have to say that the Moscato d'Asti clouded my memory at this point). Overall we were happy to have been able to dine at Babbo and are looking forward to a repeat visit!

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Re-visited Babbo on Sunday evening with my twelve year old son, who is very much a foodie in the making. After reading the posts here, I had pretty much decided on the pasta tasting menu but should have shared that predisposition with my son. We were seated and he immediately zeroed in on the gnocchi with braised oxtails and pigs foot appetizer. Discussion ensued, wine was brought and the waiter came over to see how negotiations were progressing. I told him that I was losing to the gnocchi with oxtail, which amused him. Without missing a beat, he offered to substitute the gnocchi for one of the pasta course if that would "seal the deal" for the meal and suggested that we could remove the pyramids. Done and done. This, to me, is true service since I did not even consider asking for a substitution.

We went on to have a truly wonderful evening. The Taglietelle really was a highlight, the combination of the parsnips, pancetta and butter (and more butter) was great in terms of both texture and flavor. The oxtail was very rich and flavorful althought the gnocchi were not so exciting . . a little chewy actually. We also enjoyed the pasta with cremini mushrooms and the bolognese, but at that point, we were really, really full. The saffron panna cotta and mango sorbet were an excellent end to dinner.

One final note, I was somewhat bemused by the music played during the evening and the fact that no one else seemed to notice that in a very refined dining room, we were all dining to a mix that included the Greatful Dead and early Who -- not the muzak versions.

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Re-visited Babbo on Sunday evening with my twelve year old son, who is very much a foodie in the making. After reading the posts here, I had pretty much decided on the pasta tasting menu but should have shared that predisposition with my son.  We were seated and he immediately zeroed in on the gnocchi with braised oxtails and pigs foot appetizer. Discussion ensued, wine was brought and the waiter came over to see how negotiations were progressing. I told him that I was losing to the gnocchi with oxtail, which amused him. Without missing a beat, he offered to substitute the gnocchi for one of the pasta course if that would "seal the deal" for the meal and suggested that we could remove the pyramids. Done and done. This, to me, is true service since I did not even consider asking for a substitution.

We went on to have a truly wonderful evening. The Taglietelle really was a highlight, the combination of the parsnips, pancetta and butter (and more butter) was great in terms of both texture and flavor. The oxtail was very rich and flavorful althought the gnocchi were not so exciting . . a little chewy actually.  We also enjoyed the pasta with cremini mushrooms and the bolognese, but at that point, we were really, really full. The saffron panna cotta and mango sorbet were an excellent end to dinner. 

One final note, I was somewhat bemused by the music played during the evening and the fact that no one else seemed to notice that in a very refined dining room, we were all dining to a mix that included the Greatful Dead and early Who -- not the muzak versions.

Amy -- Mrs. Busboy and I must have been in the room with you. How pleased I was to hear not just the Dead, but, raw, uncut live Dead from what sounded to me like a 70's era show. They switched over to The Who just about the time our appertizers arrived.

Unfortunately, we didn't enjoy the food as much as you did. Of first courses, we loved the lamb-brain raviolies, (this trip turned into something of an offal fest for us, including the brains, tongue at the Modern, trip and chicken feet at dim sum), and my wife very much enjoyed the testa, which I was a little understated to my jaded palate. The octopus seeemed a little rubbery, though. And main courses of braised shortribs and roasted pork loin felt unimpressive; the rib seemed lonely and austere, rather than rich and warm, while the thin slices of pork were just a bit rubbery.

I should point out, though, that the service was as wonderful as the room is delightful, and they were able to wedge us into a table just ten minutes after we walked in, without a reservation, asking only that we return it by 9 -- giving us more than two hours for a relaxed dinner. We'll likely try it again.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Busboy-

Glad they fit you in, sorry the experience foodwise was not up to par. Our reservation was for 5:15 on Sunday evening (30 days exactly and still a ridiculous time). I was truly expecting to walk in to a half empty restaurant and was pleasingly surprised to see that the downstairs room (we were literally under the stairs) was very full with a good vibe going in the bar area (must have been thanks to the Dead). For the regulars I wonder if the mix of patrons was typical or somewhat unique for the holiday weekend. It was a mix of generations and there was also a few groups in jeans that definetely had that "I've seen Mario on TV and had to eat at his retaurant" look.

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Busboy-

It was a mix of generations and there was also a few groups in jeans that definetely had that "I've seen Mario on TV and had to eat at his restaurant" look.

Hey -- that was my wife! :laugh:

All of the people around us seemed very New York -- gay couples with supportive parents, middle aged men with tasteful piercings (odd as that may sound), older types who still wear ties to eat out. As you said, an excellent vibe throughout. (We were just to the right of the strairs, and so probably could have winged you with a bread slice, if the stuff didn't taste fo good).

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am going to Babbo in a few weeks as part of a part of 4.

I've already gone once, and had the pasta tasting menu with wine pairing which was amazing. Everyone else is going to Babbo for the first time.

My first thought was to get the pasta tasting menu again, unless anyone can think of a combination of dishes we can get that will really represent the best food Babbo has to offer.

Any suggestions?

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I think you can't go wrong with a DIY "interesting meats tasting menu." Babbo does some of the best in the City.

Antipasti:

Warm Tripe alla Parmigiana

Pig Foot Milanese with Rice Beans and Arugula

Warm Lamb's Tongue Vinaigrette with Hedgehogs, and a 3-Minute Egg

Testa with Pickled Pearls and Thyme Vinaigrette

Primi:

Lamb's Brain "Francobolli" with Lemon and Sage

Goose Liver Ravioli with Balsamic Vinegar and Brown Butter

Beef Cheek Ravioli with Crushed Squab Liver and Black Truffles

Mint Love Letters with Spicy Lamb Sausage

Secondi:

Barbecued Squab with Roasted Beet Farroto and Porcini Mustard

Grilled Quail with “Scorzonero alla Romana” and Saba

"Rabbit alla Triestina" with with Red Cabbage, Potatoes and Horseradish

Fennel Dusted Sweetbreads with Quince Vinegar and Duck Bacon

--

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I think you can't go wrong with a DIY "interesting meats tasting menu."  Babbo does some of the best in the City.

Antipasti:

Warm Tripe alla Parmigiana

Pig Foot Milanese with Rice Beans and Arugula

Warm Lamb's Tongue Vinaigrette with Hedgehogs, and a 3-Minute Egg

Testa with Pickled Pearls and Thyme Vinaigrette

Primi:

Lamb's Brain "Francobolli" with Lemon and Sage

Goose Liver Ravioli with Balsamic Vinegar and Brown Butter

Beef Cheek Ravioli with Crushed Squab Liver and Black Truffles

Mint Love Letters with Spicy Lamb Sausage

Secondi:

Barbecued Squab with Roasted Beet Farroto and Porcini Mustard

Grilled Quail with “Scorzonero alla Romana” and Saba

"Rabbit alla Triestina" with with Red Cabbage, Potatoes and Horseradish

Fennel Dusted Sweetbreads with Quince Vinegar and Duck Bacon

Good work, this sounds unbelievably amazing!

Too bad I'm not going to be in NY anytime in the foreseeable future

:sad:

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  • 2 weeks later...

My girl just cancelled a reservationFOR TOMORROW at babbo at 830 for two people.. I am sorry i was going to see if anyone wanted it here.. But if you call right now and say are there any cancellations it might work..

edit to add: I got the reservation back and have it.. I am going to call later today to see if there are cancellations so i can add two more people.. If they cant do it, pm me and i will give you the name its under.

Edited by Daniel (log)
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