A Night Out at Babbo

This post is dedicated to my lady Christi.

So this post defies my rule of “not writing about a restaurant unless I’ve been to it at least twice” (traveling not included), but this reservation was too hard to get, and this place being so acclaimed and all, I figure that this meal can be exempt from my rule.

Babbo only takes reservations one month in advance, to the numerical date (this is much easier to figure out than Gramercy Tavern’s silly 28 days). To make a long story very short, I spent about 2 hours of my life making this reservation for Christmas Eve (lots of calling/ hanging up/ redialing– an all out warzone). But I scored a table at 7:45pm! UNBELIEVABLE!!!

So anyhow, Matt and I were VERY excited about this. We both even started reading Heat to prepare for the meal. We had endless discussions about whether we would get the pasta tasting or the regular tasting meal. Blah blah blah- this is about the only thing we talked about for a week.

We walked in, and the place was PACKED. The restaurant is actually set up really awkwardly, but that may have had to do with the gigantic Christmas tree in the middle of the restaurant. Tis was the season. Oh, and who is that in the corner booth? Only Jake Gyllenhaal and the entire fam– Maggie, baby, Peter, mom, dad, and some other people who don’t matter.

Ok so they made us wait almost 30 minutes for a table to open up– I swear they were letting in A-listers in before us, despite their “fairness” mantra. Bullshit. By the time we got a table upstairs (MUCH airier and nicer than downstairs), we were starving and kinda drunk.

So these pics aren’t so great, but they will have to do- I’m no Erin Gleeson, ok??? After all of the hype about the tasting menu, we decided to go a la carte so we could sample their more signature dishes (that we read about in Heat– roll eyes here). Honestly, we got a bottle of wine and I don’t really remember anything towards the end of the meal. Bad food blogger!

Armandino’s Salumi– maybe this is from Batali’s dad’s place in Seattle. The more pricier of the two salumi plates on the menu. Prosciutto and salami- both mouthmelting.

Lobster claws with chives and fennel– This was on the tasting menu but we were able to order it a la carte. Huge chunks of lobster meat, complimented by a nice crunch of the fennel. The chives gave the combination a nice garlic-y kick.

Mint Love Letters: These are worth the hype- they are divine. Mint, pea and sausage stuffed raviolis- what a great idea!

Chianti Stained Papardelle: These I think were Matt’s favorite- with wild boar ragu. I can not emphasize enough how delicious the pasta at Babbo is– really like what you would eat in Italy. These super thick noodles were perfectly al dente, and as the dish’s title suggests, just lightly coated with the sauce. As Buford observed in Heat, it’s all about the pasta, less about the sauce here. Right on.

Fennel Dusted Sweetbreads: OMG this is by far my favorite, and most memorable dish of the entire meal– just thinking about it stimulates my saliva glands. FAT pieces of sweet breads lightly battered and fried, then glazed with vinegar and tossed with onions and duck bacon. Jesus this was just amazing- the vinegar cut through any sort of gamey-ness of the sweetbreads and just left you with a pillowy cotton-like texture in your mouth.

Eel Livornese: This was on the special menu, and entirely forgettable. The eels are stewed with tomato sauce- it would be more of a comfort dish I think in Italy. But it was an interesting way to cook eel- there were even bones in it still (very spiky suckers). My mom thinks this is a certain kind of eel that you eat when they are still babies, as opposed to how you would eat it in Japan.

At this point I have no recollection of these desserts, which could mean that I was: a) too drunk or b) the dishes were not up to snuff

Saffron Panna Cotta: with Quince, Pink Peppercorn and Quince Sorbetto

Pistachio and Chocolate Semifreddo???

Petit fours on the house??

Overall, I would say that Babbo definitely lives up to the hype, and a great spot for a special occasion, or if you just have an inkling for some good pasta. It’s a good balance between casualness and seriousness–my two biggest complaints is that the Radiohead was too loud and self-conscious to be natural, and our waiter was a robotic prick.

Needless to say, I will definitely go back.

110 Waverly Place
New York, NY 10011

Get Directions
(212) 777-0303

4 Responses to “A Night Out at Babbo”

  1. erin gleeson Says:

    mamma, che bello! ci voglio andare! i love the photo in the primo section of the fork holding up the papardelle….brava!

  2. erin gleeson Says:

    mamma, che bello! ci voglio andare! i love the photo in the primo section of the fork holding up the papardelle….brava!

  3. Merriberry Says:

    Love it! Did not think you were going to take pics at Babo but I love that you did!

  4. Merriberry Says:

    Love it! Did not think you were going to take pics at Babo but I love that you did!

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