When we moved to NYC years ago, we dreamed of eating at Mario Batali's first and most famous restaurant Babbo.
Tucked away in a cozy townhouse on Waverly Place, Babbo serves fresh, modern Italian with unexpected ingredients (goose liver, beef cheeks...you get the idea).
Time and time again we tried to get reservations. Time and time again we failed.
This restaurant has been open since 1998 so it never ceased to surprise us that calling a month ahead of time as suggested often yielded the same result. "That time is unavailable." Once when S met Mario Batali at a fund raising event (still jealous about that, by the by), we even joked that he should have asked about getting a reservation!
Well, thanks to my sweet pal R's persistance, our luck changed on Wednesday eve. As our dear pals AK and LD were packing for their move to Chicago, we dropped the bomb that we were heading to a surprise Babbo farewell dinner! So, what if the reservation was at 10:15 pm on a school night, right?
It's easy to see why this place is packed 100% of the time. From the second we sat down, the service was impeccable. The food might have been some of the best I've ever tasted.
As we polished off our bottle of wine, we started the meal off right with the Proscuitto San Daniele "Riserva" and the Grilled Octopus (my favorite).
We kept going by splitting three pasta dishes between us. Each dish came out alone predivided onto the appropriate number of plates (loved this).
First, came the Mint Love Letters (pea and mint stuffed pasta topped with spicy lamb sausage).
Next, came the Chianti Stained Pappardelle with Wild Boar Ragu. This was easily my favorite of the pastas.
Last, but certainly not least, came the Gnocchi with Braised Oxtail. Whoa, momma.
Since I'm not a huge sweets person, I skipped dessert in favor of a splash of limoncello which made me feel like I was back on our honeymoon...
Considering the hour, we were more than content. An important note? The check was impressively fair!
Still, much more important than any of the above, was the wonderful night had by all as we toasted and celebrated our sweet friends' exciting new journey.
We will miss them more than they know.
(images courtesy serious eats, new york daily photo, new york mag, tasty good times, flickr, the wandering eater)