Friday, January 6, 2012

...NYC, Day 3, Part 2: Babbo

 For Day 1 of my New York City trip, click here.
For Day 2, Part 1, click here.
For Day 2, Part 2, click here.
For Day 2, Part 3, click here.  
For Day 3, Part 1, click here.

 James and I had some near-death experiences in NYC:

1.) While hailing a cab, an SUV backed into James (going at about 3 MPH).
2.) Walking through Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I unknowingly stepped onto a large patch of ice (I did not fall).

Ok, those aren't so bad, but...

3.) We took a pedi-cab from 42nd and 6th to 39th and 8th in rush hour traffic.

Yeah, that wasn't the smartest move.  We got there quickly, but when you come within 1 inch of a Jeep Wrangler's bumper while wedged between a barrage of yellow taxi cabs, it hardly seems worth it.

It's definitely not worth $35.

We took the pedi-cab because we were exhausted after walking across the FREEZING, BLUSTERY Williamsburg Bridge, which has to be at least a mile long (probably longer), or at least it seems that way when the wind is whipping in your face, lowering the temperature at the surface of your skin by 20 degrees...

...and your bladder is at capacity.

Luckily, we found refuge in a Burger King at the end of the bridge.  THAT was worth the $1.79-ish we paid for fries just so that we could use the restroom.

Never so happy to see a Burger King before in my life!
The subway station was a block away from Burger King, so we hopped on and rode back to 42nd street...where we almost met death in a pedi-cab.

After the adrenaline rush subsided, we were able to warm up and nap a bit before getting ready to go to our 10 PM reservation at Babbo, Mario Batali's famous Italian restaurant near Washington Square.

We took a taxi, and arrived about 1/2 an hour early.  I guess we were excited.

Babbo facade
 Lucky for us, they could seat us right away.  We checked our coats and were seated upstairs at a table for two in the crowded restaurant.

I was nervous.  Overwhelmed.  Out of my element.  Trepidation set in.  I have always said that I am not a fancy person, but this was over-the-top.  James sensed my anxiousness and admitted that he was a bit uneasy as well.

After being presented with the menu, James recommended that we do the traditional tasting menu, and I agreed that that was probably the best way to experience what the restaurant had to offer, since who knows when we'd make it back there again?

Susan was our server and presented us with each dish and wine pairing.  She was very engaging and  had no problems answering any of our questions, making us feel much more comfortable in the intimidating setting.

I'll admit that each dish had things in it that to this day, I cannot identify, nor do I know how they are found in nature.  I speak English and Spanish, and many things were not in either language (nor close to it), so pardon my ignorance.

 We were first presented with a Chickpea Salad on crostini as the chef's welcome...and where I dropped chickpeas on myself trying to get them to my mouth (smooth move, I know, but I was nervous!):
Chickpea Salad on Crostini
The pictures that follow are our courses in the order that they appear on the traditional tasting menu at Babbo.  I won't go into detail about each one because I will say the same about each - they were like nothing I have ever had before and tasted out-of-this-world!  This restaurant lives up to the hype, for sure.  The only thing that I did not like was the goat cheese, but I don't like goat cheese from anywhere, really, unless it's mixed well with many other ingredients.  These pictures speak for themselves (forgive the quality - it was very dark, and I had to enhance them):

Babbo Culatello with Ramps and Pecorino

Pappardelle with Chanterelles and Thyme

Duck Tortelli with "Sugo Finto"

Grilled Guinea Hen with Pumpkin Fregula and Black Truffle Vinaigrette

Coach Farm's Finest (goat cheese) with Fennel Honey - the one thing I didn't like
"Gelo alla Val di Non" (a gel with walnut crumble)

Chestnut "Palacinche" (layers of chestnut paste with ricotta)

Chocolate Pistachio Cake with Chocolate Ganache
Sweet Potato Spice Cake with Lemon Mascarpone
Although everything (except for the goat cheese) was unbelievably wonderful, my favorite parts of the meal had to be the duck, guinea hen, and gelo. I'm not going to pretend that I know much about each dish, because - I don't.  I can only judge based on previous experiences at restaurants, mostly in and around Pittsburgh, and this was far superior to anything I have ever experienced, personally.

James and I couldn't pass on the suggestion of espresso after our meal, which as served with a few small cookies to enjoy with it:
Espresso & Cookies
Babbo was an experience that we will never forget.  Reservations for this restaurant are hard to come by, as you can imagine, especially in the week between Christmas and New Year's, so we were very fortunate to be able to secure one.

I could not think of a better way to end our New York City trip: dinner with James in a fabulous restaurant opened by a world-famous chef.  Grazie, Mario Batali.  Bravo.

Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca
110 Waverly Place
New York, NY 10011

Babbo on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed your NYC series! What better way to experience the city than with a personal tour guide? Was happy to see that James had you walking everywhere as it is the BEST way to experience New York. Also glad to hear that Babbo is still a quality venue. Regarding the similarity of PGH and NY weather, I would have to give a slight nod to NY for having more sun during DEC/JAN/FEB but hey, that just fuels a Pittsburgher's creativity!