110 Waverly Pl
New York, NY 10011
The brainchild of one Mario Batali, Babbo Ristorante is just one of several restaurants that Batali has in New York City. This quaint Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village showcases some fine Italian cuisine with a particular focus on the pasta. We were lucky to have lunch here as we heard some great things about Babbo through many friends. Plus it doesn't hurt knowing that he was Iron Chef.
The place itself is cozy and small. I loved the layout of the whole place and enjoyed the intimacy of the restaurant. I didn't feel as though you had to be overly dressy, but some people were. Some people weren't. It was all good.
The menu offered quite a bit more variety than I anticipated. The primi pasta dishes all looked rather good, so Anna didn't stray from it. I opted for a larger secondi main to get me going. We started with Calamari “alla Piastra” ($16), which was grilled calamari with white Beans and hot peppers. The calamari was tender with a nice slight char. The flavor was a bit bland and really needs the hot peppers to complement it.
I ordered the Grigliata Mista ($27), which was the Chef's Special mixed grill. It comprised of a lamb chop, sweetbreads, and Beef Tongue. The lamb chop....amazing. Cooked perfectly medium rare. The meat melts under the knife and I wish it was a larger cut as I craved it further long after I finished it. The sweetbreads were flavorful and supple, but the thickness left some of the inside to be undercooked and spongy. While there was still some blood that was not cleaned out. The beef tongue is an underrated cut of beef. Very beefy flavor and I liked Babbo's version, but the texture gets a bit too weird for me with how thick it is. I think it would probably be better suited if sliced a bit thinner (just personal preference for me I suppose).
Anna ordered the Gnocchi ($19) as her main. Gnocchi is one of Anna's favorite pasta dishes, and she especially loves it with a nice white creamy sauce to go with it. However, the gnocchi at Babbo is one of the few that I have seen with a red sauce. She was a bit disappointed, but was unphased. The dish itself was good. The gnocchi was tender but still had bite and done well.
She also needed dessert and got the White Chocolate Cheesecake ($15) that was finished with a Coconut Croccante. The cheesecake was incredible. The coconut pieces were a perfect addition and really gave it a bit more bite. It's a very soft cheesecake so it was good balance.
Service was wonderful. Everything was timely and impeccable. The servers would come clean your plates and your table too. The prices are rock-solid for lunch as no entree was ever over $30. The whole lunch was under $100 and everything was solid yet unspectacular. Worth a repeat visit, especially to try their pasta tasting menu.
Ambience: A- | Service: A- | Price: B | Food: B