Went to Babbo last night for the first time with my boyfriend and a friend we were taking out for dinner. I have to say, the first thing that struck me was how formal the place looked and felt. I was expecting a more laid-back, younger-feeling vibe from the posts on this board, but instead the place seemed a bit stuffy, yet trying too hard not to be stuffy by playing Bob Marley. Sigh.
That said, we did enjoy ourselves, although we were seated in the three-person booth by the kitchen, and the accoustics were less than great. The charred octopus appetizer was the best thing we got. Divine in texture (perfect, not chewy or tough) and taste. Our other appetizer, a special of fresh mozzarella, sea salt, olive oil and sauteed ramps, was great too.
My pork chop was huge and perfectly cooked, with tasty fennel and grilled vegetables nicely positioned on top (I would have love more of them!). Boyfriend's gnocchi with oxtail ragu was delicious, but not the best I've had. Friend's pasta bolognese was fine, nothing special I thought. The waitstaff was very helpful and the sommelier suggested some delicious Montepulciano (of which we ordered a second bottle) to go with our dinner. We were too full for dessert (I have no idea how people order tasting menus and don't want to die after all that food!) Overall, it was nice, but I'm still going with Lupa as the better choice. Food is just as good, but the place just feels younger, cooler and more comfortable.