Babbo NYC

By grace.g.yang ยท May 4, 2007
Under: Dinner,Prix-fixe,West Village

On Tuesday night, I was lucky enough to get a reservation for Babbo for me and Chris. I just randomly called, got through (FINALLY), and they had a last minute cancellation. Babbo is the restaurant owned by Mario Batali, and the restaurant that basically put him on the map. (He’s the chef that always wears orange crocs. The restaurant is located in the west village on Waverly Place:

We decided to go with the traditional tasting menu ($75), even though we wanted to do one traditional tasting menu and one pasta tasting menu (they require full participation from the table, so we had to pick one or the other and the desserts on the traditional tasting menu sounded better. Plus, if we ordered the pasta tasting menu, we’d have to eat 6 different types of pasta, which would’ve been too many carbs, even for me). Before we even ordered, a waiter brought by some of their chickpea bruschetta:

It was an interesting take on bruschetta. I think it tasted more like tapenade mixed with chickpeas and balsamic vinegar, but the olives were definitely pureed, not chunky (if there were olives in it).

For our appetizer, we had bresaola with fiddleheads and pecorino:

I’ve never even SEEN fiddleheads before, but apparently, they’re the top parts of the fern that hasn’t fully matured (and that’s why they appear curled). The bresaola is the air dried salted beef and the pecorino is the little pieces of cheese made with sheep’s milk. At first, I was kind of scared to try the fiddleheads – they actually looked more like snails than anything else. I wrapped the fiddlehead and the pecorino in a piece of the bresaola and took a chance…it actually tasted great! The fiddlehead was REALLY crunchy and paired well with the meat and cheese (you couldn’t really taste the fiddlehead, but when I tasted it individually, I thought it tasted very…fern like).

Next, we had pappardelle with Chanterelles and Thyme. Chris’ comment: I know what Thyme is! (It was actually Chris’ favorite dish from the night):

Pappardelle actually means “large fettuccine” and Chanterelles is a type of mushroom that tastes super meaty. At first, I thought it might be meat (when you first bite into it, it tastes like…pot roast) but then there’s the definite chewiness that you would expect from a mushroom. The pappardelle was perfect (not overcooked – made al dente without being undercooked, either) and paired well with the mushroom, thyme, and Parmesan.

Our next dish was my least favorite out of all of the dishes we tried: duck tortelli with “sugo finto”:

I couldn’t find any definitions online (not even at, but it was a tortelli pasta with duck on the inside and a tomato sauce. Don’t get me wrong – I am a HUGE fan of duck…but this definitely did not taste anything like duck. The duck was pureed too fine and the texture wasn’t very appealing:

Why is it so grey?! Also, the tomato sauce, in my opinion, was a little too sweet/tart. I feel like they made the tomato sauce with grape tomatoes or something. Chris enjoyed the dish more than me…it’s not that I DIDN’T like it, I just wouldn’t be placing it on a tasting menu, where you’re supposed to be showcasing your restaurant’s specialties.

The main course was the grilled lamb loin with favetta and mint pesto, my personal favorite of the night:

The lamb was really tender (look how medium rare that is), the mint pesto added a kick, and the favetta (I’m guessing that’s some sort of legume) added a crunchy texture to the dish. I thought the mint pesto was really great and would’ve been a good addition to a pasta of some sort.

After the lamb, we basically moved onto dessert…weird, right? I thought there would be more substantial dishes (only one meat dish?). We had coach farm’s finest with fennel honey next:

We were both wondering what would come out (since we didn’t know what coach farm sold to begin with). The cheese was a goat cheese with peppercorns and fennel honey, which they dished out at the table. They also brought out little baguette’s to place the cheese on (only four pieces – you had to strategically place enough honey/cheese on each piece for maximum enjoyment…something Chris didn’t know. The cheese tasted like cheese from any grocery store and didn’t seem that special (sorry, Mario).

Our next dessert was vanilla bavarese with brown butter and laurel:

(Sorry about the picture quality – it got dark and I didn’t feel like using flash so I had to fill in the light myself). Bavarese is Italian for bavarian cream – look at the vanilla beans!! I thought this dessert was really light and could have used a crust of some sort to balance it out.

The next dessert was my favorite of the night: cioccolato e aceto (what?):

The chocolate had a great sauce on it and I couldn’t figure out what it was (a tart cherry sauce mixed with dark chocolate was my best guess). I looked it up online and cioccolato e aceto translates directly to chocolate with vinegar. Genius! The tartness from the vinegar paired really well with the chocolate and the white stuff on top was a light cream that was really delicious as well.

We thought our last dessert was going to be the warm apple and walnut budino with cinnamon gelato:

but we also got this:

The warm apple and walnut budino with cinnamon gelato was a type of dessert that’s really heavy (the budino was too nutty but the cinnamon gelato was surprisingly light…even though it was really creamy). The final dessert was like an almond pudding with almond gelato and candied apricots. I didn’t care for the almond pudding (or whatever it was) but the almond gelato reminded me of the Pistachio Pistachio ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s (minus the pistachios).

The dinner took two and a half hours total (they took a long time to bring out the last dessert). We thought the dinner was good, but nothing to write home about. I guess it’s something that you need to try out once (if I went back, I wouldn’t get the pasta tasting menu – I would probably order an appetizer and then a main course, instead). The service was great, our seats were great (we sat upstairs right below the skylight), and the energy at the restaurant is very positive (if that matters at all). Afterwards, Chris was still a little hungry, so we headed to Yolato for frozen yogurt (we couldn’t help ourselves!). I didn’t think it was that great the second time around and definitely prefer Pinkberry or Forty Carrots now.

This weekend, I’m running in my first 5K! I’m doing the Revlon Run/Walk with my friend, Leo, through Central Park. I’ve never really run in my life (and I still think I’m more of a fast walker than anything), so I’m really excited about doing the 5K (even though most people can do those without training at all). After this 5K, I’m doing a 10K in mid-May (for Kidney health, I think), and then another 10K in June (for women only). I love running in central park after work (especially around the reservoir because it’s really beautiful right around 6PM). I’m also going to try to play frisbee in central park after the 5K, see spiderman, and have brunch on Sunday. I’ll be back with updates this weekend!

Reader Comments

Hey, what kind of camera do you have?

Written By Jawwad on May 6th, 2007 @ 10:05 pm

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