Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca:
The super popular and critically acclaimed Mario Batali restaurant. I loved Mario Batali even before I got to New York (the Food Network is one of my favourite channels) and I used to get super excited whenever I saw Mario Batali duel another chef on Iron Chef America even if it was just a re-run of an old episode. His food always got rave reviews from the panel of judges - so I made it a goal to get a reservation at the restaurant when I was planning my NYC trip. So a month before I even arrived in New York, I was calling at exactly 10am to try to get reservations on May 19. Eventually I got through an hour later and was given two choices: 5:30pm or 11pm. You can guess which one I took...
Babbo had a dark and cozy atmosphere inside the restaurant with a huge tree in the center.
A very interesting spin on bruschetta! It was a great way to start the meal.
Grilled octopus with "Borlotti Marinati" and Spicy Limoncello Vinaigrette
The octopus was cooked to perfection. It had a meaty texture and was very tasty. The spicy vinaigrette and borlotti beans were a great complement to the octopus.
Linguine with clams, pancetta and hot chiles
The clams were sweet and succulent and the pancetta added a nice salty flavour, but we found that the linguine was drowning in oil (which was kinda disappointing). We weren't fans of this pasta dish...but the next:
Black Spaghetti with Rock Shrimp, Spicy Salami Calabrese and Green Chiles
This was amazing! I loved this dish: the black spaghetti was fantastic al dente and paired with the bits of slightly spicy salami - it worked together in perfect flavour harmony. Delicious!
Olive Oil Poached Halibut with Stinging Nettles, Baby Carrots and Spring Brodo
The Halibut meat was perfectly cooked - firm and very juicy. I thought the sauce was nice in moderation as it was quite watery. Now that I know what stinging nettles are - I could definitely taste the flavour from the stinging nettles (which I guess are in season). I can't say I'm a big fan of it though.
Soft Shell Crabs with Morels, Fiddlehead Ferns and a Wild Watercress Pesto
The two crabs were delicately fried and quite a savoury mouthful. For two tiny crabs, they were really meaty portions! The pesto wasn't a big hit, but it was still a delicious dish overall.
Warm Blueberry Crostata with Cool Lime Cream and “Spezie Dolci”
A nice light and warm dessert! Yummy (but not as amazing as the tarts at Clafouti).
Banana Cake “Sottosopra” with Banana Buttermilk Gelato
This was the PERFECT way to end the meal - we were pretty stuffed after the primi and secondi but we knew we had to make room for dessert and this dessert was the gran finale to our Babbo meal. It was rich and decadent: the upside down cake and gelato combination was heavenly. It totally made my night!
Complimentary biscotti and cookies
The food never ends here...
I loved the chocolate cookies the best! (I'm a huge chocolate addict)
Overall: Great Experience! I'm so glad I finally got to try Mario Batali's restaurant and it definitely met my expectations. The pasta was great and the desserts were amazing! The menu was simple and classic with some interesting twists.