Monday was my hubby's birthday - the big 30!!! He took me somewhere special for my birthday so I wanted to take him somewhere special for his. He had mentioned he wanted to eat at Babbo, Mario Battali's restaurant and so I was off to make reservations.
When I initially called they had no reservations left but when I called back the Saturday before to see if anyone had cancelled they had a reservation for 2 at 9PM available for me. The timing was perfect.
Babbo's 1st level is small and tight. We ended up having to wait 20 minutes for our table and there really was NO good place to stand but we muddled through. Babbo's decor/style is very interesting. It's fine dining at it's best and the decor is very simple and understated but the crowd is very casual and they were playing Led Zepplin, which while great because I love Led Zepplin is not the type of music I imagine listening to during my fine dining experience. The music continued on to U2 and other classic rock throughout our entire time there.
We were seated in the dining area on the 2nd floor which I was very happy about. There was more space up there and it was quieter because it was away from the wine bar area. We ordered a bottle of wine and of course water for the table and then the waiter brought out a chef's taste of chickpea bruschetta for us to enjoy. Every table received this. It was good (especially since I don't really like chickpeas - maybe I should try them again...) but it was a little spicy for me.
For my first course I ordered the Duck Bresaola which was divine. It was thinkly sliced duck (think like prosciutto) with shaved asparagus on top of it marinated in some great dressing and then there was this parmesean cheese little pie with it that was perfectly browned on top. The 3 flavors together were delicious. Especially the asparagus. Jon had the crispy spring vegetables with goat cheese. The plate was smeared with goat cheese and then layered above that were peppers, snow pea pods, arugula with something sweet drizzled over it. It was also very good - it had a good crunch and went perfectly with the goat cheese.
For my pasta dish I had the pappardelle bolognese. The waiter had warned me it was a large portion so when it arrived I immediately halved the portion and now I have delicious Babbo leftovers for dinner again tonight!!! The pappardelle took me back to Italy. It was perfectly cooked and the meat sauce was the perfect compliment to the pasta. Jon ordered the Bucatiniall'Amatriciana (which I loved in Italy but tends to be spicy in the US). I had a bite of his and it was also very good. It's presentation was not as pretty as it really just looked like a bowl of spaghetti and it didn't have pancetta in it which it usually does in Italy.
For my meat dish I ordered the grilled pork chop which was ginormous!!!! It was a double chop - I was almost embarrassed to have it on my plate (especially with my aversion to bones!) I quickly cute the large piece of meat away from the bone and moved it to the other side of the plate. The waiter came over and suggested that per the chef I use the 16 year old balsamic oil as a dressing for it which I much obliged. The pork could not have been cooked better. I cut this in half as well so that I could enjoy all my meals without feeling like I had over done it. It had peppers and onions with it. Jon ordered the Brasato al Barolo (Braised Beef with Porcini Mushrooms). The presentation on this dish was so beautiful! It was this perfect square of braised meet with sauce on the bottom and the mushrooms piled on top. Jon's dish was melt in your mouth good but it was sweet which surprised me!
All in all our experience at Babbo was thoroughly enjoyable. Ahhh...and now that both of our 30th birthdays are over and our 5 year wedding anniversary we probably won't be "Fine Dining" again for awhile. If you're willing to spend the big bucks for the experience and a special occassion Babbo is a great place in NYC to do it. Babbo on the cheap - it might be possible - if you each ordered one pasta dish and just one drink and didn't get anything else. It wouldn't be quite the same experience but it would be amazing food.
Restaurant Review: 5 Stars
Post in Comments:
Have you ever eaten at Babbo? Did you like it?
When you go out for Fine Dining what kind of music do you like to listen to?
PS - I haven't posted reviews on our other two "Fine Dining" experiences but have no fear they will be appearing sometime during a Foodie Wednesday post!