And so the Gwyneth Paltrow love continues...will it ever stop? I doubt it. I hope that's ok. My friends and I were all incredibly thankful for this, her affection for Mario Batali and subsequent praise of Babbo. That sounds like some sort of tribal chant, doesn't it? - "the praise of Babbo". Not quite... well, almost. If you call consuming a colourful myriad of Italian Wines, ordering Pig's Trotter and experiencing food-gasms over Sweet Potato Tortellini a tribal experience... which I've promptly decided I do. So there you go.
Peta, Vicki and I were to take Bhey and Russ out for a special dinner. Our way of saying "thanks for letting us completely take over your one-bedroom apartment for two whole weeks and showing us around the city. You're amazing and generous and we cannot thank you enough. We love you, please enjoy this pig's trotter as a token of our love and gratitude". Babbo said this perfectly.
Babbo serves up supremely divine, rustic Italian cuisine. But it's better than your average 'top quality' restaurant. There's just something special about Babbo. It's assured yet not arrogant. And it surprises you - I mean, they were playing the Red Hot Chilli Peppers as background music. And the staff were all very very friendly and helpful. We were given great advice from the Sommelier, choosing matching Italian wines.
We ordered Prosecco to start, followed by a white, a red, then a dessert wine. It appears my white was the only glass I captured on camera, but you get the idea. We were not short of a drop.
We all shared our appetisers, which was actually quite a scene. We passed my iPhone around for some sneaky shots - everyone (by this point in the trip) was not only incredibly supportive and enthusiastic of my photographic documentation, but also incredibly skilled. Thanks, guys, for embracing my nerdy qualities. Anyway, after snapping a shot, we proceeded to taste, appreciate and then pass our plate to the left. And so it went, until all our appetisers were enjoyed. Efficient and effective, if not curious to the outsider.
Calamari with a Spiced Crumb, lovely and very well cooked.
Pig's Trotter, one of Babbo's signature dishes. It was very flat and crumbed, like a fine schnitzle.
Mussels with Chilli, Garlic and Wine, with Toasted Bread. Enough said.
Sweet Potato Lune Tortellini, with Sage and Amaretto Crumbs - uhuh. Complete and utter bliss. Just simply, amazing.
Caprese Salad - such a favourite of mine, made with unbelievably good quality ingredients.
For mains we essentially stuck to our own plate, with a swift taste of neighbouring dishes. All were divine. I was quite proud, as we all chose something different and exciting based on our Waiter's recommendation. I love doing that - trusting those who you respect and going for it. In my experience, rarely does it disappoint.
Russ's Pork Chop - thick, tender and with lovely sweet tomatoes and peppers.
Bhey's Oxtail Ragu - you can't go wrong with a rich ragu, really. Completely delicious.
My Beef Cheek Ravioli with Crushed Squab Liver - very creamy and tender morsels. A favourite of our Waiters. I felt very sophisticated eating this (just in case you were wondering...)
Vicki's Tile Fish with Cucumber Gazpacho - incredible clean and fresh, and so stunningly vibrant.
Peta's Grilled Guinea Hen - deliciously charred, with barbequed corn kernels providing an exciting burst.
We shared a couple of desserts - by now we were rather stuffed, yet there were two dishes that we could not pass up. And we shared, that's hardly an overwhelming bite ;)
and Creamed Corn Custard with Cornmeal Doughnuts, which was the winner for me. Such an exciting concept!
Babbo Love. Love for good food, love for NYC and love for my friends. Corny like a cornmeal doughnut, but completely true.