We arrived at Babbo for dinner at 5:00 on Sunday (May 24th) and were escorted upstairs for dinner. It is clear that the upstairs is reserved for tourists, as people in jeans, polo shirts and shorts were soon to surround us. We, dressed properly for an evening out in jacket and tie and an elegant dress, must have made the mistake of giving the restaurant our out- of- town area code when we made the reservation.
The kir royales we ordered as a pre-dinner cocktail were well prepared and we were advised that the Creme de Cassis was replaced with Chambord, which was a very nice touch. After quite some time deliberating over the menu, we selected the soft shelled crab appetizer and the waiter selected a mushroom crepe. Being a lover of soft shelled crabs (we are from Maryland) I was disappointed that the crab was small, over battered (told that Wondra was used for coating), over cooked and greasy from the frying. The mushroom crepe was nicely presented, the mushrooms well sautéed, but the crepe, seemingly made from whole wheat, was bland did not hold any structure.
The entrees also disappointed. The pairing of lobster with a red sauce over pasta had a heavy taste and the delicacy of the lobster was entirely lost in the dish. The squares of sheet pasta with a Bolognese sauce was lighter, if you can believe that. The pasta was well made, but there was a paucity of Bolognese sauce on the dish, bringing the enjoyment of the dish to a rapid conclusion
One highpoint was the sommelier, Marla, who was able to fine a nice Italian red to match the meal, which was well priced at $65. All-in all, we feel that Mr. Batali may have jumped the shark at Babbo.
As a side note, we had dinner at Lupa the night before, and while it was alright, it was not nearly as satisfying as the meal we had there a year ago.