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gmi3804

Babbo

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The real problem this night was getting the food from the kitchen to our table:  One dish claimed to include a scoop of gelato, but instead arrived as a brown puddle leaking onto the miniature ricotta cheesecake. 

I'm not sure what to think about all of this.  Should I be worried?  Will I ever have a great meal here again?  I'd hate to think that I won't.

Peter, I'm sorry to hear that you were disappointed with your pre-dessert. I am the pastry cook who plated this for you that evening. You actually had a warm chocolate and goat cheese fritter with a tiny quenelle of chocolate sorbetto and fresh cherries, and I am sorry to hear that it had melted by the time it reached your table and that you were disappointed with your meal.

-Melissa

Even though I'm not Peter, I think that replying is a very kind gesture.

I wish there were more people such as yourself that don't hide went something goes wrong and offer an apology.

Coming out in the open forgives a multitude of sins.


Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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I agree that melofunk's post was a kind gesture, but I wouldn't think that melted ice cream would be the fault of the back of the house, in any case. It seems safe to assume that the ice cream started off frozen, but the dessert sat too long before it was delivered to the table. In that case, even if the server wasn't to blame for that fact, s/he should have noticed that the ice cream was melted and asked for the dessert to be replated. Isn't that right?


Michael aka "Pan

 

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However, since the server obviously didn't notice - um - did the customer mention the problem?

I agree that melofunk's post was a kind gesture, but I wouldn't think that melted ice cream would be the fault of the back of the house, in any case. It seems safe to assume that the ice cream started off frozen, but the dessert sat too long before it was delivered to the table. In that case, even if the server wasn't to blame for that fact, s/he should have noticed that the ice cream was melted and asked for the dessert to be replated. Isn't that right?


Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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I agree that melofunk's post was a kind gesture, but I wouldn't think that melted ice cream would be the fault of the back of the house, in any case. It seems safe to assume that the ice cream started off frozen, but the dessert sat too long before it was delivered to the table. In that case, even if the server wasn't to blame for that fact, s/he should have noticed that the ice cream was melted and asked for the dessert to be replated. Isn't that right?

You're right. The server should have noticed it. It must have been obvious and s/he should have asked for it to be re-plated. But as bergerka said, did Peter say anything and if so, what was the server's reply.


Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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I've been looking over this thread and did not see much mention of vegetarian dishes. I am considering going to Babbo with my parents and vegetarian fiancee in a month and would like some more info on options for a vegetarian. She is fine with dairy, just not meat, fish, or animal based broths.

I appreciate the info anyone can offer.

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I've been looking over this thread and did not see much mention of vegetarian dishes.  I am considering going to Babbo with my parents and vegetarian fiancee in a month and would like some more info on options for a vegetarian.  She is fine with dairy, just not meat, fish, or animal based broths.

I appreciate the info anyone can offer.

From what I understand, a vegetarian would do fine there.

I think they'll even do the pasta tasting menu to suit her needs.

Enjoy


Time past and time future

What might have been and what has been

Point to one end, which is always present.

- T.S. Eliot

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Just looking at the menu, a vegetarian could construct a menu like this:

Antipasto

Three Goat Cheese Truffles with Peperonata

Roasted Beet Salad with Ricotta Salata

Acorn Squash "Sformato"

Neci con Funghi Misti

Braised Fennel Salad Pears, Goat Cheese and Cherry Vinaigrette

or

Baby Red Oak Leaf with Black Olive Blood Orange Citronette

Primo

Goat Cheese Tortelloni with Dried Orange and Wild Fennel Pollen

Garganelli with Funghi Trifolati

or

Pumpkin "Lune" with Sage and Amaretti

Secondo

There are no vegetarian secondi (the secondo traditionally being the meat dish). A vegetarian could have a second pasta dish, or perhaps choose several contorni, which are:

Roasted Beet Farotto

Babbo Greens with Roasted Shallots

Rapini with Roasted Garlic

Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary

Since your fiancée is apparently okay with butter, these should all be possible choices.


--

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I made reservations for Babbo today for October 15th. I began calling promptly at ten (when they open), but continued to receive a busy signal until 10:30!! I finally got through and secured a 5:30 spot.

I also questioned about the possibility of the whole table doing the pasta tasting menu, but with my fiancee receiving a vegetarian pasta tasting. The reservationist made it clear that the whole table would then need to have a vegetarian pasta tasting :sad:

I can understand that they want the whole table to do the tasting, so everyone is served at the same time and so they can make the correct amounts of pasta in bulk, but I would think such an accomodation would be possible.

I am planning on calling back and inquire about the possibility of 2 of us doing the vegetarian and the other 2 doing the regular tasting. I have read on this forum that they won't do the pasta tasting for only one person, so perhaps they would make this special arrangement for 2 people. Oh well, perhaps the whole family will just have to order different dishes and share.

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It definitely adds an order of magnitude to the coordination of a tasting menu if the kitchen is trying to execute two different tasting menus for the same table. Some restaurants do it, like Per Se, but I can understand why restaurants at a lower pricepoint and level of service would balk at the task.


--

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I also questioned about the possibility of the whole table doing the pasta tasting menu, but with my fiancee receiving a vegetarian pasta tasting.  The reservationist made it clear that the whole table would then need to have a vegetarian pasta tasting  :sad:

I can understand that they want the whole table to do the tasting, so everyone is served at the same time and so they can make the correct amounts of pasta in bulk, but I would think such an accomodation would be possible. 

Yes, that is an unfortunate limitation of Babbo. I've ordered tasting menus by myself at a number of other restaurants at Babbo's price point, so I think they could get with it. The rule applies whether you order the pasta tasting menu or the general tasting menu. Babbo's tasting menus are popular, so I suspect during peak hours they're always making mulitples of everything. You'd think they could figure out a way to do this.

I'm going to be in NYC next month and plan on dining alone at the bar, any recent reports on this, best time to go.....I'm assuming a weeknight might be best?

Babbo is full every night, so the day of the week doesn't matter much. If you show up early in the evening, you'll either have no wait, or not much of a wait.

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If they won't allow 2 different tasting menus at the same table maybe you can "create" your own. When we (2 ppl) go to Babbo, my friend and I would choose about 5 pasta dishes and ask then to split it between both of us, thus creating our own pasta tasting menu.

I am planning on calling back and inquire about the possibility of 2 of us doing the vegetarian and the other 2 doing the regular tasting.  I have read on this forum that they won't do the pasta tasting for only one person, so perhaps they would make this special arrangement for 2 people.  Oh well, perhaps the whole family will just have to order different dishes and share.

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I'm going to be in NYC next month and plan on dining alone at the bar, any recent reports on this, best time to go.....I'm assuming a weeknight might be best?

I went a few months ago and got a seat easily on a weeknight by showing up slightly before the bar opened (it opens at 430, I waited outside with a handful of others from about 420) - that way I was assured of a spot at the bar once eating is an option (5pm). You can also try to wait for what's basically the second seating, when the early birds finish, but that's so hard to pinpoint that I elected just to eat early.


Edited by sakana (log)

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on the vegetarian tip: mario batali is not about vegetarian. he is about authentic italian cuisine with local ingredients. there aren't too many vegetarians in italy. i think its a pretty silly idea for babbo to have a vegetarian menu.

on the waiter/pastry cook tip: melissa, awesome that you post here! but its not a waiter's place to talk about a cooks food. thats a *really* good way to get fired. maybe something should be mentioned to a manager. or maybe they were really slammed at that moment.

if you are not enjoying things when they are coming out, let the restaurant know, instead of remembering the flaws with each course and posting them on egullet the next day. this is beneficial because:

a) the restaurant should be made aware of the problem and will try to remedy the problem you and for future guests

b) you will get better food, more to your liking

c) you will get free stuff.

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Went to Babbo on the night of the 24th. We had an early reservation, because that was the only option after an hour of busy signals. I am very glad we were there before most people though, because we were able to commandeer the waiter for at least 15 minutes. He was probably one of the better waiters I have ever had. Honestly, I did not expect too much from the service, and was damn impressed by all of the wait staff and an excellent sommelier. Anyhow, showing up early was very nice in that respect. Without his aid it would have been difficult to craft our own menu, which I will now jump into a bit.

After getting a lengthy dissertation by the waiter on the courses in the pasta tasting menu, because my italian is nonexistent, I was dissapointed that the last three plates were dessert. Now, I love dessert, but every time I have a "menu" with multiple desserts I end up liking them, but always remember the food far more. So for me, that left four courses. Therefore, after a lot of thought (too much, really) we ended up going with one antipasti, split two primi's, and a secondi each. I think I enjoyed this much more than I would have the tasting menu. If I went back, I would probably skip the secondi, and instead do two antipasti, two primi, or maybe one antipasti three primi. The pastas listed on the primi menu all look to be incredible. Now that I have, contrary to popular suggestion, encouraged people to not go with the pasta tasting menu...

My first course was the lamb's tongue vinaigrette. This was absolutely delicious, and everything on the plate blended well together. There is definitely a LOT of lamb's tongue, so this is not for the sheepish. My significant other had the grilled octopus, which was equally good. The smokiness was superb, and the lemon dressing was remarkable.

For the first split primi, we decided to take the squid ink tagliatelle from the pasta tasting menu (yes they let you do this with any of the courses on the menus). I have often read here that the tagliatelle should be replaced by the beef cheek ravioli, for shame! The waiter actually reccomended this pasta above any of the others on the menu, and while I have not had the others, I will say it was very, very good. There certainly was quite a bit of it, but the blend of flavors between the greens, tagliatelle, and pancetta was superb. Do not pass this dish up people.

For the second primi, we went with the beef cheek ravioli, as per just about everyone's suggestion. It was very good, though I wouldn't say it lived up to my expectation, which I freely admit was off the charts. It tasted a little "stroganoffy", and I didn't think the sauce was very strong, which is too bad given what it was. The liver part when tasted was great, but I probably could have went for more of it. Overall, a good course, but I wouldn't rate it as a must have.

For the secondi I had the duck, which on this evening was accompanied by a nice sweet wine-like substance, caramalized onions, cranberries, and figs. It was a nice course, it was also a very huge course. As stated at the opener, I would probably skip this in lieu of more pasta. It was good and almost worth it just for the presentation, but the other items on the menu were just that much better. My SO had the guinea hen from tasting menu, and I would rate it not quite as good as mine. Again, good but not great.

We finished off with some cheesecake. I'm sure the tasting menu desserts are good, but goddamn...this was tasty.

I'll get off my horse now.

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Well, I had a much more thorough review written up, until my new kitten stepped on the keyboard somehow erasing everything..... :angry:

Here is the short of the meal I had saturday night with my parents and fiancee.

First, my mother was very glad we were seated upstairs as the noise and crowd would have been to much to be able to hear our own conversation.

We should also mention that everyone at the table commented on how tiny the bathroom was. I don't know how a larger person could fit. My fiancee is a size 0 and still found it tiny. But we don't go to restaurants for the bathrooms (initially at least), but for the food.

Antipasti:

I had the Grilled Octopus with “Borlotti Marinati” and Spicy Limoncello Vinaigrette. I really enjoyed the dense, meaty, grilled texture and taste of the octopus, although I didn't expect it to be as spicy as it was. It required several gulps of water after each bite. Still, a very nice start to the meal.

My mother had the Five Autumn Vegetable Salad with Goat’s Milk Ricotta and Pumpkin Seed Oil which she said she enjoyed very much, yet I never tasted it.

My fiancee had the Neci con Funghi Misti. I though this tasted good, but was not much different than other mushrooms in pastry dishes I've had at lesser known restaurants. My fiancee said she enjoyed the accompanying cabbage more.

Primi:

My mother had the Gocchi with braised oxtail. This was awesome. The Gnocchi were dense enough, yet still felt light and fluffy. The sauce with the oxtail was very rich, meaty, and delightful

My fiancee had the Pumpkin “Lune” with Sage and Amaretti. The amaretti cookie was shaved over the dish. She loved this, as did I.

I had ordered Fernando’s Pyramids with “Passato di Pomodoro” off the tasting menu, not really knowing what to expect, only that it was frequently enjoyed by fellow eGulleters. They were very good and I would eat them anytime, but did not seem as special as many had mentioned. My mom made a comparison to Chef Boyardee ravioli, which I thought was terrible, but I can see where she is coming from

My dad ordered the Beef Cheek Ravioli at my beckoning. This was awesome and my favorite pasta of the night. It reminded my a lot of Beef stroganoff. I loved the triangular shaped ravioli and really enjoyed the filling. Although upon coming home, I looked at my copy of the Babbo cookbook which says they use squab livers for the filling, so I am a bit confused as to what I truly ate. This was very rich, savory, and delicious.

Secondi:

My fiancee had the Garganelli with “Funghi Trifolati" for her main course, being a vegetarian, which was good (especially the mushrooms).

my mother had the Grilled Guinea Hen with Pumpkin Fregula and Black Olive Vinaigrette which she said was excellent, but she was way to full at this point to finish or enjoy fully.

My dad and I split the Deconstructed Ossobuco for Two

with Saffron Orzo, Cavolo Nero and Chestnut Gremolata. The giant presentation before they split the dishes was awesome and intimidating as was the individual plates. The meat fell of the bone, the accompanying bone marrow was a delighful treat, and the cheesy saffron orzo was very delicious. I wish I hadn't been so full so I could have savored every single bite on my plate.

Dolce:

my father had the Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Orange Sauce and Hazelnut Gelato which he enjoyed, but made few remarks on.

My mother had the gelatto and sorbet assortment which is always fun to have so many different tastes. The green apple sorbet was the absolute best. I would love to get a gallon of that stuff.

My fiancee and I had the Sacchiaciata "something" can't remember the name. This was a big triangle of brioche, that had concord grapes crushed into the top and served with a vanilla honey ice cream. The was very reminiscent of a bread budding, although the flavors of the concord grapes were nice and strong, there needed to be more in the bread than there were. After a few bites, we were left with a lot of plain tasting brioche.

Summary: I think I enjoyed the experience more than the rest of my family and while everyone enjoyed the food, I'm not sure it fully lived up to our high expectations. I would definitely go back, especially to try some of the more radical and interesting pasta dishes.

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To the best of my recollection, the squab livers are used in the sauce with the beef cheek ravioli dish and not in filling. If one cannot find squab or chicken livers, it's pretty easy to recreate the filling and then just toss the ravioli in some kind of infused brown butter sauce,

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I think there are several versions of the Pyramids dish - I recall having one in a brown butter sauce that I liked more than the one with tomato sauce.


Bill Russell

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While in NYC earlier this week I had dinner at Babbo and just like the first dinner I had there it was extremely delish!

I ended up at the bar on sunday night around 8:30 and the place was packed. Even if you are just wanting to hang at the bar you need to check with the maitre de and he'll put you on a list. I waited about 5 mins and then was seated at about the middle of the bar. I could not believe how crowded the place was!!

The bartender ( forgetting his name, tall, very nice, has been there a long time) was very pleasant and I ended up next to a girl whose boyfriend is a waiter there so that was quite fun.

The amuse was garbanzo beans done with an aged balsamic and herbs on crostini, delish! and I don't generally like garbanzo's.

I started with the lambs tongue with a vinaigrette, 3 minute egg and rocket- truffles shaved on top. YUM!! this was really plate lickable. The egg and the lambs tongue are just such a perfect pair together.

Then I had the beef cheek ravioli with squab liver sauce and truffles shaved on top. I didn't remember both these dishes being described with truffles but they must have been..... there were a lot of them! The ravioli is so perfect and light and beautiful, the beef cheek reminded me of a great fall stew. perfect and very filling.

I had a selection of three cheeses, all perfectly ripe and well handled. One was a goat cheese from Coach Family Farms.

After dinner the bartender introduced me to Amaro's which I hadn't had before, I tasted 3 different ones and decided on a nice (baby) version- Amaro Meletti. What a great way to end my meal.

With my dinner I had a quartino of valpolicella which kept getting refilled magically :wink:

Star sighting of the night was Luke Wilson (is there ever a night without a famous face in Babbo?)

One of my best meals and experiences while in town!

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I had one thing to add to my previous review. More of a question really, but is the bread at Babbo supposed to be soooo tough? Perhaps this is a traditional preparation/recipe, but it made it difficult to enjoy as crumbs would fly everywher when trying to pull off a bite.

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I had one thing to add to my previous review.  More of a question really, but is the bread at Babbo supposed to be soooo tough?  Perhaps this is a traditional preparation/recipe, but it made it difficult to enjoy as crumbs would fly everywher when trying to pull off a bite.

It gives them an excuse to decrumb the tables over and over with the big, trademark soup spoons.

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So I went to Babbo with a party of 4 on Sunday night (my third trip this year), and well.... it was very disappointing.

As much as it hurts me to say this, the service at Babbo has gone down considerably. They did not refill water until asked, took way too long in refilling our wine glasses, and really just was not attentive to our table. A friend of mine who dined with another party that night, experienced a mishap by the kitchen. She had gotten the traditional tasting menu, and one of the pastas came out, apparently undressed and unfinished. Unknowingly, she ate it. The next course they brought out was the finished pasta. When the restaurant realized their mistake, they took the pasta back. She asked to try it, because of their mistake, and they refused.

In addition, they've also raised prices; their tasting menus by $5 each and also a few dollars in a la carte dishes and the wine as well. Its pretty much as if they arbitrarily just added a few dollars to each dish.

Since I had had the tasting menus the previous times I went, we decided to go with 4 antipasti, 4 primi, and 3 secondi. We also ordered two bottles of red wine.

All in all we had:

Grilled Octopus

Steamed Cockles

Warm Lamb’s Tongue Vinaigrette - very very good

Prosciutto San Daniele “Riserva”

Spaghettini

Garganelli - amazing, as always

Goose Liver Ravioli - amazing, as always

Black Tagliatelle - amazing, as always

Whole Grilled Branzino

Duck

Deconstructed Ossobuco for Two

Pistachio and Chocolate Semifreddo

Warm Apple Crostata

Schiaciatta

While all the dishes were good, the only dishes that I found to be amazing were the garganelli, goose liver ravioli, and black tagliatelle (I knew I should have gotten the pasta tasting menu again ).

Overall, I was disappointed with the dishes, as I had expected to be "wowed" more with the non-pasta dishes.

I know next time to go to go ahead and get the pasta tasting menu, as its always a solid choice.

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I will be visiting NYC at the end of February and my current plan is to dine at Babbo on Fri night, Kittichai on Sat night and WD-50 on Sun night.

However, from reading some of the posts here, it sounds pretty difficult to get reservations at Babbo - presumably even more so on a Fri night?

Do you think I would be better off trying for WD-50 on Fri night and Babbo on Sun night?

(My other alternative is to try for a table at Blue Hill on Friday night if I fail to get in to Babbo - it seems to get good reviews here and friends have recommended it.)

thanks

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I will be visiting NYC at the end of February and my current plan is to dine at Babbo on Fri night, Kittichai on Sat night and WD-50 on Sun night.

However, from reading some of the posts here, it sounds pretty difficult to get reservations at Babbo - presumably even more so on a Fri night?

Do you think I would be better off trying for WD-50 on Fri night and Babbo on Sun night?

(My other alternative is to try for a table at Blue Hill on Friday night if I fail to get in to Babbo - it seems to get good reviews here and friends have recommended it.)

thanks

You can usually get a rez at Babbo if you don't mind eating late.

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