Just back from dinner at Babbo, Mario Batali’s West Village Italian restaurant. Frank Bruni’s assessment of the menu as simple, indulgent, and gutsy is spot on (note I loved Frank Bruni’s reviews just not his book). Downstairs is a bit of scene, upstairs more relaxed. A rock n’roll soundtrack plays loudly at times throughout the restaurant. There is a reason Gina DePalma won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef and why the restaurant is always packed.
Marinated Fresh Sardines with Carmelized Fennel and Lobster Oil
Goat Cheese Tortelloni with Dried Orange and Wild Fennel Pollen (a signature dish)
Barbecued Squab with Roasted Beet “Farrotto” and Porcini Mustard
Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Orange Sauce (I hated to do this, but had to skip the Hazelnut Gelato)