Visited Babbo on Saturday night for the second time in a about a year and left feeling the same way I had the previous time. This is a great restaurant to which I love being invited. But I would never select it on my own accord.
While the food is great- there are many things about the restaurant that rub me the wrong way for a place of such glorious fanfare and acclaim
I do not enjoy the smugness of the young staff- from captain and sommelier to the waiters. They are well trained in what to say but I don't feel they have the true expertise our genuine (or well practiced) graciousness of other top notch staffs. I could not get a clear explanation of the cheese plate selections, and after bragging about how special the comped antipasto meats were- from Mario's father's salumeria- the captain couldn't give us the name or even location of the deli.
We were not seated for our 9:15 reservation on Saturday until 1030. They bought us a round of drinks- at 9:30 or so- but at a certain point it becomes ridiculous. People show up late for 630 reservations- I understand- but when they do that they need to be admonished politely. Seating a party 1:15 late, with a reservation is preposterous- and would not even be attempted at any other high quality restaurant.
The food was very good. Had to indulge in the lambs tongue salad again- which always hits the spot. Sadly, the egg was overcooked- more like a 4 minute egg than a three minute version- so it became more of a composed part of the salad (is this even really a salad?) than a part of the dressing. Love the earthiness of this one.
Split the mint love letters and the beef cheek ravioli with my buddy. I must confess- I though the mint love letters were incredible. Very tangy and bright- perfect. Beef cheek ravioli was top notch as well- very rich. If it were not 1130 by this point I may have ordered 2 pasta courses .
Sweetbreads are my favorite main course and couldn't help myself. They are perfectly crispy and just the right portion size. The bacon adds over the top flavor.
There is no question that the food here is quite delicious- and I may have to visit lupa soon just to re-hash some of the flavors. But I would feel very uncomfortable choosing this restaurant. And I won't.