Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca

14. October 2004 Italian, West Village + TriBeCa 0

110 Waverly Place between MacDougal and Sixth
about $200 for two, with a few drinks, with tip
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Our first time at Babbo, we went all out, asked questions about never-heard words written on the menu (braciole! francobolli! scottadita!) and picked out a bottle of red wine to match. I started with spicy lamb tartare with mint crostini and a quail egg in the middle. It killed me.
The boy chose the grilled octopus with “borlotti marinati” and spicy limoncello vinaigrette. You know how octopus can be chewy sometimes even in the best Japanese restaurants? This was perfectly tender.

For primi, I had the one-pound lobster with spicy budding chives, sweet garlic and what seemed to be four pounds of spaghettini. The boy opted for beef cheek ravioli with crushed squab liver and black truffles. I was so full after all that, sharing the secondi became a good call: guinea hen braciole with favas and pecorino.

Ufortunately, we had to draw the line on desserts. There was just no way I could have squeezed in another bite but our waiter gave us complementary cookies anyway.

On our second visit, we managed to control ourselves. We decided to share a lot of the offal starters since we knew the pasta dishes were too much for us. We finished the night with four of the best dishes we’ve eaten in our lives:

Warm lamb’s tongue vinaigrette with chanterelles, pecorino Toscano and a 3-minute egg
Calf’s brain “Francobolli” with lemon and sage
Goose liver ravioli with balsamic vinegar and brown butter
Fennel-dusted sweetbreads with sweet and sour onions, duck bacon and membrillo vinegar

Sharing the appetizers was definitely the way to go. It allowed us to get a better sense of the Mario Batali behind Babbo.