Classy Eats for Relatively Cheap: Sam Reviews Babbo

Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca

110 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10011

www.babbonyc.com

Adventures of a Hopeless Foodie Rating:  5/5

The Background

Hello everyone,

I know I haven’t posted in a while.  My fall break just started, so in preparation I’ve been busy packing and traveling.  Expect an awesome Chicago series to come soon.  But first, I’d like to share the meal I ate for lunch the day I left NYC.  The other day I was walking to one of my classes from Starbucks when I stopped to reminisce about the last time I went to Babbo, so I went to look at the menu posted outside.  My mom, our family friend, and I had all gone to eat there around Mother’s day last year, and it was one of the most amazing and unforgettable meals of my life.  However, I cannot afford to spend my entire budget going to Babbo whenever I feel the need for some amazing food, because that’s basically how crazy-expensive dinner is.  But I noticed something amazing when I walked up to look at the menu wishing I was rich.  It said lunch over the menu, and most of the entrees were between $20-25.  Oh my god.  You mean I can eat there and just not eat anywhere else the rest of the day and still basically be within my food budget for the day?  So the very next day, I brought my nicest dress in my purse to class with me (I like to dress up in my fancy “pretend-I’m-rich” clothes when I go to a really nice place alone, even though the dress itself cost me $20), and headed there for lunch.  I figured I’d only need to eat one meal that day anyway since I was getting on the plane later on.  However, I had been debating if I wanted dessert or not.  I knew it would cost almost as much as my food, but I remembered it being incredible.  And then I got some amazing news, and decided I needed to celebrate.  I’M GOING TO LONDON NEXT SEMESTER!!  Yay!  I had been waiting for this news for almost two weeks after my best friend found out she was going, because they decided to open up a new study abroad site for science majors and wanted us to indicate our preference.  I had been panicking that I wouldn’t get in.  And anyone who’s seen my dorm room knows how much I love London.  I have a huge Union Jack hanging above my bed, and I have about ten London postcards lined up on my wall.  I love London, and I can’t wait to blog about all of my London foodie adventures!  Anyway, this prompted me to get the dessert and spend twice my food budget for the day.  Whoops.  At least it was worth it.

The Atmosphere

So one of the things I found amazing the first time I went to Babbo was its layout.  You walk through the door and behind these curtains at the doorway, and it feels like you’re entering an entirely different world.  The lighting is dimmed, and everything feels very intimate, but the restaurant is actually pretty large.  It’s really amazing because it looks like you’re on the inside of someone’s house, and there really aren’t any houses in the middle of Manhattan.  There’s a wide staircase leading up to the second floor right in the middle of restaurant, and carpeting on the floor.  It’s really a unique dining experience that’s very difficult to describe.  However, this time I sat at the bar up front, which is also very nice.  If you ever want to eat at Babbo for dinner but don’t want to call one month in advance to the day at opening and be on the phone the entire time, just eat at the bar.  It’s a little less comfortable, but at least you’ll probably get to eat there that night with a lot less of the hassle.  Both times I’ve gone all of the waiters were EXTREMELY helpful.  The food comes out promptly, and they always make sure everything is alright and to refill your drinks.  Not only did the bartender ask me how I was enjoying everything, but so did the back waiters.  They really try to make you feel like your opinion is important.

The Food

How can I describe the most amazing food in the world?  I mean, it’s just spot on with perfection.  And one of my favorite things they do at really nice restaurants is bring you out little things for free.  ImageI got z little appetizer, and while it wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever had in my life, it was still pretty good, and I never knock anything free.  It was a little slice of a baguette with some chickpeas on it.  I got the beef cheek ravioli as my entrée, because I remembered last time I had it, I was really impressed, but since it was five months ago, I couldn’t recall exactly what it tasted like.  I got my food, and it was like heaven on a plate.  Seriously.

Image

And it was only a $20 dollar plate, which is not bad at all for this caliber of food.  The ravioli noodles were made to perfection, just the right amount of light sauce, and the stuffing for the ravioli was perfect.  The meat was utter perfection, tender and perfectly cooked, the absolute best cut of meat made in the most amazing way.  The cheese on the top was delicious, but sometimes it felt like there was a little too much cheese piled on top.  Still, it never detracted from the flavor.  Then I sprang for the dessert, the gelato and sorbet sampler.  Last time I ate it I got twice as many flavors, but this is also because for dinner the dessert costs a bit more.  Still, I was a little mad at first when my dessert and it came out with only three scoops for a $12 dessert. Image Then I started eating it, and the regret melted away.  I think the flavors were cream cheese sorbet, espresso gelato, and hazelnut gelato (if there’s one problem with Babbo, it’s that the servers’ Italian accents are so thick it can be difficult to understand them when they explain things to you).  I honestly couldn’t even pick a favorite.  Each time I’d get bored of one flavor I’d move to another, and each time I went back to a flavor I would remember everything I liked about it in the first place.  The cream cheese was so strange, but amazing.  I’ve had cream cheese ice cream, but never sorbet.  It was packed with flavor, and almost had an acidic biting kind of flavor.  The espresso was strongly packed with coffee flavor, but balanced with the creamy flavor.  And the hazelnut was primarily soft tasting with an occasional punch of hazelnut flavor.  Everything was perfect, and I treasured every last bite.  So that’s how my meal ended up being $32 plus tax and tip.  But I thought I kind of deserved it because of my amazing news.  And for the record, I ended up having to buy more food at the airport anyway, so guess that plan of not going over budget wasn’t going to pan out.  Another memorable dish that I’d recommend that I had last time is the octopus, which is so flavorful, delicious, and meaty that it tastes almost like lobster.  I’d highly recommend saving up your money and having just one dish here.  It’s worth every penny.

Until next time, eat up!

~Sam

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