110 Waverly Place, New York, NY
WOW. There's nothing I hate more than super hyped up restaurants owned by chefs that have crossed over into the dark side of television, but Babbo will have to be an exception to that rule. Every single course was absolutely amazing. The best - we're talking fireworks in your mouth GOOD. This was our second time at Babbo so we opted to sample a few dishes versus going for the mouth-watering pasta tasting menu again.
We shared one antipasti (Grilled Octopus with “Borlotti Marinati” and Spicy Limoncello Vinaigrette $15), two "primi" dishes (Stinging Nettle Pappardelle with Wild Boar Ragù $23 and Beef Cheek Ravioli with Crushed Squab Liver and Black Truffles $23), one "secondi" (Duck with “Scafata,” House-Made Pancetta and Brovada $29), two desserts (Pumpkin Cheesecake $12 and Grape Concord Fancy "Donut" with Vanilla bean gelato - I can't remember the real name $12) and two cups of coffee (oh and 4 glasses of Pinot Nero). Let's just say I'm still full from dinner.
It's incredible how every single dish was a hit. The octopus was the best I've ever had in my life. It was tender as can be, the flavors just incredibly outstanding. The citrus/acid from the limoncello, the red onions, the sweet aged balsamic - it was darn near close to an outer body experience.
The two pasta dishes were outstanding. The texture and flavor of the pappardelle and ravioli pastas are to die for - I could eat the pasta on its own! Batali perfects each dish with a generous helping of wild boar ragù for the pappardelle and a savory earthy beef cheek stuffing for the ravioli. The flavors were so deep, hearty and comforting but not overbearing by any means. It's seriously the type of stuff that makes you close your eyes while you savor all of the different notes bursting on your tongue!
The pasta dishes were followed by the duck. Of course cooked to perfection! It was a good dish but not as earth rocking as the pastas. It's so hard to outshine the pasta dishes here - they manage to leave a lasting impression even hours after the meal.
We then took our server's advice and ordered the Pumpkin Cheesecake and the Grape Concord Schiatteli (I think that's what it was called, or something that sounds like that!). Wow (again).
If you're in the NY area, make reservations. They take reservations 1 month in advance. It's a bit tricky to get a decent time slot. 6:45, 9:45 and 10:45pm seem to be the only ones that are ever available. But don't be alarmed, it's the most unpretentious place. You'll see a nice mix of suits and jeans, the wait staff is friendly and don't make you feel like a second rate citizen for asking what a quince tastes like. If you're from out of town and plan to visit NYC and love Italian food - it's so worth it, I promise!
P.S. As soon as I got home, I reserved all of Batali's cookbooks at the library =)
Thursday, October 4, 2007