Babbo Enoteca recently opened down in the Village taking over the old site of the Coach House site. The old Coach House reviews and articles are still on the men's room walls.
For us, Babbo was love at first sight, that is, sight of the menu. A lot of people will only eat animal muscles, avoiding just about every other organ! Babbo does serve animal muscle, but the menu was full of offal, the miscellaneous organs. Naturally, we went for an all offal meal. To our amusement, the maitre'd at Babbo remarked on our "bravery". He called it bravery, we called it greed.
How could we say no to the wonderful head cheese, Babbo home brew with all those lovely meaty bits floating in gelatin or the lamb tongues with poached eggs and parmesan cheese. The beef cheek ravioli were rich and the meat melting. The duck heart sauce was hearty and complemented the chestnut gnocci. We were in heaven. We even had the pork cheeks and cabbage and the fennel dusted sweatbreads with sweet and sour onions and bacon. The latter was a delightful study in contrasts.
Yes, we know that the New York Times considers Babbo staircase one
of ten most deadly restaurant staircases in the city, but a few dozen
is a small price to pay for such culinary wonders.
NOTE: Babbo has a sister, or
rather, father restaurant out in
Seattle. Mario Batali is the chef and an owner at Babbo Enoteca, and
his father, Armandino Batali runs Salumi.
UPDATE 13 April 2005: Each
time we come back to Babbo we seem to have forgotten how good it is.
There is nothing quite like the pan fried pig's foot. It has all the
pig's foot richness and texture, plus a crispy fried outside crunch. If
you want advice, get anything wrapped in pasta, for example, the beef
cheek or goose liver or green pea paste pasta. They'll call it ravioli,
or wraps, or lunettes or whatever, but it doesn't matter, it will be