On the advice of the NY Hounds, we showed up at Babbo without a reservation about 5:30 pm in hopes of eating in the bar. We were seated right away at a table by the window. I must say, overall, we came away from Babbo feeling that it is is very good but overrated. Perhaps it was our mood, perhaps the dishes we selected. First of all, neither of us eat organ meats other than liver, and neither of us eat offal. So, that ruled out A LOT of items on the menu that get rave reviews. Husband is a beef eater, I am not, but he wasn't interested in the beef cheeks ravioli, which is so highly recommended. Also, we were not ravenous, so we ordered 2 appetizers and 2 pasta dishes. I had the marinated sardines with black radishes and peperonata in lobster oil. It was an interesting match of flavor and textures..the lobster oil was very tasty, the marinade a bit sharper than I like. Hubby had the three goat cheese truffles - truffle shaped scoops of a very creamy and mild goat cheese dusted with different ingredients - a mushroom, and 2 others which I don't recall - one was a tiny seed, I believe. These were very good but not terribly exciting.
Hubby really enjoyed the mint love letters with spicy lamb ravioli. I liked my black tagliatelle with peas and parmigiano. The pasta in both dishes was perfectly made and cooked, the ingredients fresh and tasty, although some of the peas in my dish were tough and starchy (overripe).
We shared a saffron panna cotta, which was subtly flavored and good but not particularly memorable.
We had a quartino of a house red which was delicious.
Overall, a very nice dinner, but nothing to write home and rave about. Service was professional, but aloof. For the cost and the reputation of this restaurant, I should be able to rave about it. I hope to give it another try some day to be sure it wasn't my mood.