New York City Review: Babbo

Babbo Ristorante e enoteca
110 Waverly Place
Tel: 212-777-0303

After wanting to go to Babbo for nearly two years, Mike finally got us a reservation in December.  I heard mixed reviews about the restaurant so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  The space is intimate and the clientele was fairly old (median age was 40-50 that Wednesday night).  I may be wrong but I got the feeling that a lot of those guests were loyal regulars.  We were seated upstairs and I was very impressed with the sommelier’s service.  He spoke in layman’s terms and was very helpful in choosing wines by the glass for each of us.  We basically chose what we wanted and discussed what wines would go well with them.  There were a couple of course menus but we decided to do a la carte.

 Warm Lamb Tongue Vinaigrette with Brown Beech Mushrooms and a 3-minute egg ($13).  This dish was my kind of food- nice acidity in the vinaigrette cut with the creamy egg yolk.  Would definitely recommend it to people!
 We shared three different pastas (they portioned it out for us before bringing it to the table).  We all had our hearts set on this Black Spaghetti with Rock Shrimp, Spicy Salami Calabrese and Green Chiles ($25).  The spaghetti itself was very flavorful (pretty interesting texture) and I loved the combination of rock shrimp with salami.  So simple yet delizioso! 
 Beef Cheek Ravioli with Crushed Squab Liver and Black Truffles ($23)
 Chianti Stained Pappardelle with Wild Boar Ragu ($23).  Yes, it was as good as it sounds.
 Mike’s Whole Grilled Branzino (can choose to have them fillet it before serving) with Radicchio in Pancetta and Lemon Oregano Jam ($29).  The branzino was delicious but I personally didn’t like the jam AT ALL!
 Robert’s Fennel Dusted Sweetbreads with Sweet and Sour Onions, Duck Bacon and Membrillo Vinaigrette ($27)
Duck with Braised Swiss Chard, Babbo Pancetta and Cherry Vinaigrette ($29).  The duck thigh confit had a crispy skin and was really good but I was quite full at this point and didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the antipasti and primi.  The duck was good but nothing special.  These days I find that I’m quite disappointed with the main course- maybe it’s just because I’m pretty full by then, or maybe it’s because when the appetizer is good, you expect more from the main course?

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