June 17, 2016 / Leave a Comment
On an extremely (and suddenly) wet and blustery New York day, stepping into Babbo was perhaps the most heavenly respite a hungry foodie could ask for.
Having had my newly purchased $5 umbrella turn itself inside out mere minutes after purchase enroute, I learned that walking isn’t always the best option for your wellbeing (and that you shouldn’t buy cheap umbrellas from Canal St vendors). Things took a turn for the better however on arriving at my midday dining destination, Babbo. From the powerhouse team of Mario Batali & Joe Bastanovich, the atmosphere is warm, cosy, and the smell….oh, the smell! Wafts of all kinds of Italian goodness hit your nose the moment you enter, boding well for what’s to come.
One great thing about Babbo is that they have an entire area at the from of the venue with around six tables and the entire bar space reserved for walk ins. Rather handy when reservations at NY’s top spots can be hard to come by at short notice. Mine was the only table occupied of the walk-in area during this service, though a few people came and went from the bar area. That might be partially attributed to the suddenly sour weather though!
It was fairly quiet in the double level venue today, so there were plenty of staff at the ready to assist with my order. At times, too many. Every couple of minutes there was someone approaching my table wanting to clear my plate throughout the meal, which I found a tad off-putting. There wasn’t really any ‘passion’ in the restaurant either – it felt like the staff were merely reciting a script and didn’t really want to be there. They did know the menu and wines well however. I really struggled with what to choose – so much of the menu sounded absolutely mouth watering. They also have a great lunch set menu if you’re hungry – currently it’s in aid of (RED) and priced at $59 for four courses. I didn’t feel the need to add any more dessert calories to an already mammoth week of NYC eating so opted to order the items that really stood out a la carte.
The music on offer didn’t add to the sombre atmosphere embodied by the staff – it was a playlist from my father’s era, and he’s 78! I hadn’t heard these tracks since I was a child, and it really didn’t do much to lift the mood. A jazzier, more lively soundtrack definitely would have been an improvement, though I hear it’s a lot more ‘fun’ at Babbo in the evening, so take note if that’s an important factor for you.