Oh, Batali. Oh, Babbo's.
You're my favorite Iron Chef (sorry, Morimoto)! Don't get me wrong, my meal at Morimoto's in Philly was amazing. But, there's just something about non-raw, cozy, savory, Italian magic.
I need to start with the service, even though the food was definitely the star. Because if it weren't for the polite, accommodating service, I wouldn't have gotten to create my own tasting menu. I'd studied the menu for a couple weeks and had my heart set on a few items. Problem was that the tasting menu didn't include everything I wanted to try, but ... well ... I wasn't going to come to Babbo's and only order one entree.
So, the staff let me and my beau pick our top 3 choices and they created a pasta tasting menu just for us! They even suggested the order the pastas would come out in to make sure the flavors melded well.
We started with the dish I was most excited about - the spaghettini with spicy budding chives and a one pound lobster. Yup. One whole pound.
Next, we got the beef cheek ravioli with crushed squab and black truffles and then the bucatiniall'amatriciana with guanciale (unsmoked Italian bacon prepared with pig's jowl), hot pepper, and pecorino.
The bucatini was my favorite noodle. It was something I'd never had before. It was a thick, spaghetti-like pasta with a hole running through the center.
Now, I never order ravioli because it's never done well. They're usually overcooked and you get tired after the third one. But Batali's beef cheeck ravioli was the best I've ever had in my life. I highly recommend you try one of their raviolis when you're there. But, if I had to pick a favorite dish, I can't NOT choose the spaghettini with the WHOLE POUND of lobster. :-)
For dessert, the staff suggested the most delicious dessert wine: Castel de Paolis, Muffa Nobile. The beau ordered the saffron panna cotta with quince, pink peppercorn and quince sorbetto. I was super surprised that I LOVED it because I don't usually like panna cotta. It was also refreshing after such a rich meal. The gelato in both desserts were amazing.
My ONLY complaint: even with a reservation (that I had to confirm), we had to wait 30 minutes.