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Babbo Review

MM | May 3, 2005 10:10 AM

My dad and I had an 8pm reservation on Saturday night.
We were seated at about 8:15 on the second level of the restaurant.

The décor was subliminal. It was not flashy, not trendy, not what you would imagine one of New York’s most popular restaurants would be. Instead it was relaxed and cozy – almost like being at someone’s home. It was minimalism to the fullest.

Our server spoke to us with the utmost class and respect and was in no way “snobbish” as I have heard Babbo service described.

We began with three appetizers: the grilled octopus, tripe and the lamb’s tongue vinaigrette with the 3-minute egg - this dish was the best of all. It consisted of a mound of small bites of lambs tongue topped off with a soft boiled egg, which you then open up to create a blanket of yolk. Never in my life have I had a dish as exquisite as this. It was so delicious, that every bite was just as amazing as the last – the novelty never wore off because my brain did not have the capacity to remember the degree of perfection that my taste buds had last experienced.

For the primi, we split two pasta dishes. One was beef cheek ravioli and the other was mint “love letters.” These complimented each other perfectly. The ‘love letters’ was light and minty with a hint of spice that only presented itself several seconds after the bite was taken (I still have no idea what created that effect). The beef cheek ravioli was much heavier, covered in a pate-like sauce and sprinkled with bits of truffle.

We split just one secondi – the sweetbreads. These, like the previous dishes, were amazing. It was lightly crispy on the outside, giving way to the most delicate sweetbreads I have ever had. They were so tender; it was almost like they almost took on a gel-like consistency. This was accompanied by some orange zest, scallions and caramelized onions.

For dessert (at 10:30 - yes, we dined for 3 hours total), we opted for the saffron panna cotta. It was light and delicious and the consistancy was like silk.

Who knew that this unassuming building would be home to one of the greatest culinary gems of New York?

Thank you so much, hounds for your suggestions! Never would I have thought to get the lamb's tongue nor the beef cheek ravioli - but these were my favorites!

Dad, if you read this, please post something. NY chowhounds love it when out of towners give a review!

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