Tuesday, December 22, 2009

O mio Babbo caro

So in one brief year my Dad and I have eaten at Mario Batali's Babbo three times. I guess it's time for me to at least mention it.

For those of you stymied by the frustration of trying to get reservations, let me just highly recommend the practice of slipping in to snag a seat at the bar or one of the six bar tables in the front. It's easy, it works and you get top drawer service even if you're "only" a walk- in.

My dad and I have fretted each time and each time the maitre d has very calmly said "No problem. Would you like to check your coats?"

Boom. Done. I'll take a spritz and some of those fabulous Parmesan salt bread sticks.

Our first course was the pumpkin lune, with sage and amaretto-- justly renowned. Sublime purée of pumpkin in a scrap of perfect pasta with just the right bite. Sauteed sage on top and a soupçon of amaretto.

Wine for the night was a fabuously full bodied but smooth superTuscan called Montevertine. Our server was, by the way, above and beyond helpful not only answering all my oddball questions but tracking down more interesting info for us about ingredients, varietals, etc. But that's what we've come to expect from Babbo's which I find completely warm and welcoming and unstuffy.

Dark photos--what you get for the enjoyable ambiance. But this is my beef braised in Barolo. The server says chef advises a shaving of fresh horseradish over the top. Whatever chef says. And yes, tender and yum.

My Dad's perfectly PERFECTLY cooked venison.

Dessert menu but cheese is listed. Which do you think I chose?

I also adore the cute box that the coffee condiments come in.

Clockwise from the right: Robiola, nicely buttery; Toma Maccagno, not unlike some herbaceous French cheeses; and a fabulously stinky Taleggio.

Finally, mignardises.

Utterly fabulous. As we walked out another pair of diners were talking. The one guy says, "You know, usually I find something to bitch about, but not here. Everything was just right."

Couldn't agree more.

- Posted from my iPhone

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