Sunday, 25 July 2010

Babbo




As we strolled down the streets of Manhattan on our last evening in New York we felt a slight sadness in having to leave this great city. We had grown very fond of wandering its varied and intriguing neighbourhoods, visiting its myriad of excellent galleries, museums and tourist attractions. I was even going to miss the crazy heat of the subway stations and the crazy people of the subway trains. Mostly I think I was going to leave with a feeling that we hadn't sampled everything that the big apple had to feed us.

We were walking to Babbo the flagship restaurant of the larger than life Italian American chef Marco Batali who was brought to my attention when I read the excellent book, Heat, by Bill Buford. The book records the author's experiences working in Babbo's kitchen but also his attempts to retrace Batali's steps by training to cook and butcher in rural Italy. It is a fascinating read and has meant that Babbo has been in my sights for a while.

As we opened the door and pushed aside the heavy curtain the warm and humid evening gave way to a cool but bustling and lively bar and dining room, decorated with Italian wine and paintings.
We waited a couple of minutes before our table became available and were then led upstairs to a second,slightly brighter room. We started in our typical way with a couple of G&Ts while we carefully picked our way through the very Italian menu. Antipasti, primi, secondi, pesci, carne and dolci all had sections on the menu. But we settled finally on our dishes and a fine bottle of Brunello de montalcino.

I started with a warm lambs tongue salad and Claire had a beetroot tartare with ricotta salata. My tongue was sliced thinly into delicious ribbons and dressed with a...
Claire's beets mimicked a steak tartare in look and with it's seasonings which were laid out carefully on the side of the plate for the diner to add to their taste. Anchovies, capers, gherkins and mustard were all lined up in cute piles.
Claire's main was chianti stained papperdelle with a rich wild boar ragu. I had a stuffed rolled beef flank.

1 comment:

claire_packham said...

you forgot to add the dessert!