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Babbo Review - Pasta Tasting Menu (long)

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Babbo Review - Pasta Tasting Menu (long)

Evan | Jun 11, 2003 11:13 AM

We decided to order the pasta tasting menu, ersonally, I wanted the regular tasting menu, but was overruled by my girlfriend (and I was also overruled on the wine matching aspect too, but I digress), so here is my review.

After ordering some great drinks, the wild strawberry belini and a sort of watermelon puree drink, both very light and summery, were perfect as we were sitting underneath the sky light and the sun was still out when we got there. The amuse bouche was a chick pea bruschetta. very tasty and overflowing with chickpeas. Very Mario Batali'esque. so far so good.
As for the actual pastas, I can not complain about anything that was served, and enjoyed all the dishes, but I would not recommmend ordering the pasta tasting menu. While all the dishes had vastly different tastes and would've been very good on their own, together, the lack of different textures ultimately hurts the overall experience.

First dish - Black Tagliatelle with Sweet Peas and Mint. Excellent starting dish. Squid Ink pasta, with a light creamy sauce. I believe it had shaved goat cheese on top, but I'm not positive. Small portion and light flavor, but tasty and a good tease to the rest of the menu.
Second dish - Asparagus and Ricotta Mezzalune with Sage Butter. Basically an asparagus and ricotta ravioli (mezzalune means half moon), in another light sauce with shaved asparagus on top. The crunch of the asparagus played nicely with the soft texture of the mezzalune. Sauce added nice nutty flavor without overpowering it.
Third dish - Garganelli with Funghi Trifolati. How can I explain garganelli, looks sort of like a long rigatoni. Hollow with ridges. In a very earthy light mushroom sauce, with a variety of mushrooms. The garganelli was pleasently al dente with a perfect amount of sauce to match the mushroooms. If I remember correctly they shaved pecorino romano on top. As a confessed mushroom hater, I surprising really enjoyed this dish, and even ate the mushrooms. A different taste from the other two dishes, as it was not as rich.
Fourth dish - Alejandro's Pyramids with Brown Butter and Thyme. Named after the prep cook that makes the pyramids, this pasta is essentially squares of parpadelle that are filled with braised short rib, and each corner is folded in, resulting in folds of four triangle sections, hence pyramids. This was a fantastic dish. Very very rich and silken texture, especially with a brown butter sauce. Personally my favorite, I even finished a few of my girlfriend's as she found it delicious but too rich to eat all of the pyramids. At this point, even though I was enjoying the meal, I was getting tired of having the same textures over and over again. I really wanted something chewy or meaty, like a piece of lamb or steak, biggest issue with the pasta menu.
Fifth dish - Final pasta was parpardelle bolognese, made with veal and pork. Classic dish and beautifully executed. Shaved parmigano reggiano on top. Meaty, with broad flat noodles. Only a hint of tomato let the richness of the meats take control of the dish. Loved this one, but was getting awfully full and couldn't quite finish it. this was the first of the night that I didn't finish
Sixth dish - Rogiolono (sp?) with Blood orange marmalade. This was a creamy mixture of cow and sheeps milk on a sesame? cracker topped with tiny blood orange cubes and sauce. Small, creamy, and tangy from the blood oranges. Nice transition from the dinner.
Last dish - The waiter brought us two different desserts so we could have a sample. One was a saffron panna cotta with lemon sorbet and wild berries and the other was a chocolate hazlenut cake with carmel gelato. The safron panna cotta was delicious, with an almost gelatinous texture and good hint of saffron, but not overpowering. The sourness of the lemon sorbetto made a nice contrast. The chocolate hazelnut cake, unfortunately wasn't as good. Very very dense with big chocolate flavors isn't exactly what I was expecting. the cake looked like the light molten cakes served basically everywhere else, so when you take a bite and get a dense cake, you are kind of thrown for a loop. I don't think this was the best choice, especially after eating all the pastas.

I fully intend to go back to Babbo, but can't imagine ordering the pasta tasting menu again. The service was fantastic and prompt, but not in your face. We were not rushed, everything was cleared in a timely manner. And the waiter was nice and helpful, and took his time to explain every dish as well as the recommended cheese to be grated on top.

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