“One of the 50 best restaurants in America.”
-The New York Times
“The Best New Restaurant of 1998.”
– The James Beard Foundation
And the review from 2005 New York Zagat Survey:
The Mario Batali-Joe Bastianchi team makes “culinary dreams come
true” at their Village Italian “paradiso” where “life altering” dishes
in “perfect harmony” come with “A+” wines and “savvy, spot-on”
service; the “classy” carriage house setting hums with “high energy”
but you may wear out your “speed dial and luck” trying to score a
“nigh impossible” reservation.
On Friday night, I managed to snag a nigh impossible reservation, thanks to a couple who canceled their 10:30 table for two. I’ve been chomping at the bit to eat at Babbo for almost as long as it’s been open.
The food at Iron Chef Mario Batali’s flagship restaurant lived up to expectations and then some.
Dinner started with a gift from the chef. An amouse bouche of spicy marinated chickpea bruschetta.
For Antipasti, we split Grilled Octopus with “Borlotti Marinati” and Spicy Limoncello Vinaigrette. The octopus was tender and meaty, not chewy like I expected.
We also shared “Neci con Funghi Misti.” A chestnut crepe filled with mixed mushrooms, and topped with shredded radicchio, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, balsamic vinegar and a sauce that was made out of green.
Primi was “Pumpkin“Lune” with Sage and Amaretti. An amazingly delicate ravioli filled with pumpkin, parmesan and nutmeg and tossed in a sage butter sauce. As soon as the plate hit the table, the waiter produced a microplane grater and dusted the dish with grated Amaretti cookie.
Ask what I want for my final meal on earth, and Mario Batali’s Pumpkin Lune might very well make the cut for one of the courses.
And? Here’s the recipe.
Our Secondi had a tough act to follow. But, predictably, both were brilliant.
We split “Two Minute Calamari, Sicilian Lifeguard Style.” A very spicy very delicious tomato and calamari stew with caper berries, pine nuts, Israeli couscous, olives and scallions.
And a whole Grilled Branzino with Cardoons and Lemon Oregano Jam.
The two dishes couldn’t have been more different – the calamari was incredibly flavorful and spicy. A punch in the jaw. The Branzino was delicate, light and understated. A study in simplicity.
Dessert was a pineapple crostata with a pineapple chip and zabaione and dusted with confectioners sugar.
As Def Leppard (yes, Def Leppard) rocked from the restaurant speakers, I polished off the last few bites and slipped into a food coma, reflecting on what was easily one of the most perfect meals that’s ever crossed my lips.
The average human has 10,000 taste buds. On Friday night, all 10,000 of mine were grinning from ear to ear.