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This weekend we tried Babbo in NYC. There are lots of opinions on this restaurant. On the Parker board they have a thread with 40 something replies about it.

I believe that it lives up to the hype. We had the Pasta tasting menu with the reserve wines. The food was incredible. The sommelier did an excellent job with matching the food and wines. Great atmosphere, glassware and especially good service. Sit upstairs if you can.

The not-so-good things: a terrible waiting are where they are serving food at the bar so you can’t get a drink through the throng. The people are eating so you can’t sit down. It seems like a feeble attempt to squeeze in a few more meals at the expense of the patrons who are waiting for some time.

I will definitely go back again as Mr. Winetex is very, very jealous that he was unable to go. I give it a 94 on my scale all inclusive. Excellent!

Here's the menu FYI:

Black Tagliatelle with Parsnips and Pancetta
Alta Adige Pinot Bianco “Sonnenberg”, Castel Schwanberg 1998
*Excellent, excellent pasta

Fennel and Potato Ravioli with Opal Basil and Brown Butter
Collio Tocai Friulano, Russiz Superiore 2001
*Excellent but I don’t care too much for fennel

Garganelli with Funghi Trifolati
Toscan Pinot Nero “Case Via”, Fontodi 1999
*Wild and wonderful – wild mushrooms and Pinot

Alejandro’s Pyramids with Butter and Thyme
Marche Rosse “Chaos”, Le Terrazze 1999 (Montepluciano & Syrah)
*To die for – there was beef or lamb or both inside of these. Everyone voted this #1 food and wine

Pappardelle Bolognese
Rosse del Salento “Ner”, Conti Zecca 1999 (Negroamaro & Cabernet)
*Good – was a number 2 for my companions

Aged Coach Farm Goat Cheese with Currants and Gooseberries
Lambruso Reggiano, Ermete Medici NV (served cold)

Saffron Panna Cotta with Pears and Cardamom
Hazelnut cake & ice cream
Chocolate dessert (don’t remember too much about this one)
Piemonte Solative, Ferrando 1997 (Erbaluce)
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Nice review Winetex. I agree that this is one of those places that lives up to the reputation. I sympathize with you on the cramped waiting area. It really is small, but hey, it's NY. Space is at a premium. But I wouldn't trade in bar space to expand it. As a person who travels alot on business, and frequently eats solo, I LOVE that certain high profile places welcome single diners and offer the FULL MENU at the bar. Too many have limited "Bistro" menus at the bar. This isn't really a place for people to hang out and drink. There are plenty of other options in NY for this. So I think that it is just fine if they use the bar for singles and walk-ins.

That said, I'd hate to be in the waiting area with 3 other people, and another table of 4, all waiting to be seated. It would be like riding the Number 4 Train during rush hour.
TJ - you will really enjoy this restaurant. Our reservations were made through a concierge at a relatively late time (one week before). Armmar says you should try to call one month in advance, especially for the weekend.

Dr. T - you are so right on everything but the service. It was exceptional and personal. Perhaps it is because we were having the tasting menu w/ the reserve wines? In fact at one point we did not eat all of one of the courses and they were very concerned and asked us if something was wrong. We indicated that we were pacing ourselves given the large amount of courses (we are women). I think guys would have eaten every last bite! Much better service than I was expecting...
TJ - good luck. You shouldn't have too much of a problem if you can be flexible on Fri/Sat and the times.

Something to consider as we found out this weekend - if it is raining hire yourself a car to go down to Babbo. The village is residential and it is hard to catch a taxi late at night in the rain. Some of the diners waited at least an hour for a taxi. One of my friends lived there and insisted that we hire a car and it was a stellar move.
I remember your post about AZ, jb. I will definitely look into it. Not sure what Mrs. TJ has lined up, but who knows. Will let ya know once we go or get it lined up.

Winetex-- Any thoughts on what car service? And did you have to set a specific time to be picked up? Sounds like a good idea... Also, what time of night did ya go there (and get out)?
TJ - A hotel concierge will book you a car in milliseconds. Below is a number for the one we used all day last Sat and for the trip to Babbo. Our reservs were at 9:30 and we didn't get out of there until midnight as the tasting menu takes a while.

There are so many of them in NYC. I wouldn't pay more than $80 an hour. Totally worth it if you want to go a lot of places like we did. Again if it's raining a car is a must. This company was pretty good - good driver, excellent limo:

S&K Carriage Corp.
Stephen A. Lipsett - President
(718) 409-1203
(917) 824-2713 VM
(917) 805-3179
TJ-Reservations are very difficult on weekends, particularly if you don't want to eat late. Babbo starts taking reservations 30 calander days in advance at 10am. If you don't get thru by 10:30-11 forget prime time reservations, 7-8:30.

Winetex, I thought you said you also were going to Gotham Bar & Grill. I will be there 10/22 (although I've been there before as well). Curious to your thoughts on it.

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