Babbo

In my two visits to Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich‘s Babbo, the food has been nothing short of excellent, including the Pasta Tasting (and wine pairing) this last time.  Babbo is white table cloth, but doesn’t feel that way with the blaring rock music for which the restaurant is famous.

There are three sections of seating at Babbo, and each feels a bit different. The bar area is best for a casual meal for two friends to catch up. The upstairs feels slightly more formal – perhaps the volume is even a touch lower – while the downstairs is happily in the middle. None are stuffy, though ,which is perhaps the most important aspect.

That being said, when I dined at Babbo the first time (admittedly, over a year ago), we had a server who nearly ruined the meal for us. Essentially, we ordered the Grilled Pork Chop and our server forgot to put the order in, and when we realized and mentioned it she insisted we were wrong and became very rude. We politely said it was fine and asked her to please place the order anyway, but from that point forward she wore an angry frown and used a bitter tone with us. It was all very bizarre and I never quite understood it, but thankfully the manager was very apologetic and the service was spectacular during this most recent visit.

Of the pasta dishes, I most enjoyed the Black Tagliatelle with Parsnips and Pancetta paired with a 2015 Brandini Langhe Arneis, and the Papardelle Bolognese paired with a 2011 Masciarelli “Marina Cvetic” Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva. The Olive Oil Cake and Gelato was quite good, but I actually prefer L’Artusi‘s Olive Oil Cake a bit more.

Nonetheless, barring a peculiar service incident, you should have a wonderful meal at Babbo.

Summary:

Rating System Guidelines:
4 Stars: outstanding, cannot wait to return
3 Stars: great, would be happy to return
2 Stars: good, though not necessary to seek out
1 Star: forgettable, ought to dine elsewhere

My rating is meant to account for not just the quality of the meal and experience, but also the value, without favoring the ultra expensive. In other words, a high-end restaurant (e.g. Del Posto) and a casual eatery (e.g. BaoHaus) can both receive 4/4 stars, even though they are extremely different atmospheres and the former is clearly “nicer.”

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