Let me begin by thanking Tra for the treat, thanking the recession for hooking the rese and PRE-PAUSING the following!
DISCLAIMER: I do not judge spots by the price of their dishes, the effort of the rese or the star power involved. If Lugers', steak for 2, was 15 dollars, it would still BODY every spot in NYC in the dark with its chubby arms tied behind it's back. We ALL know a lot of the best Vietnamese spots are VERY inexpensive... WORD.
So, 11 years after opening, Babbo is still THAT SPOT that helped to make Batali a singular name chef... Upon sitting down, a Chic Pea Bruschetta was served - imagine Red Pepper flakes, INSANE Olive Oil and some ?tangy something a top a Baguette slice, simple, solid & to the point - VINO PLEASE! Grabbed a clean crisp white, sommelier suggested, from some ill region I didn't have time to write down... BACK TO THE VITTLES! The 2 antipasti dishes we ordered was not as simple as the chic peas - the 1st was 2 Large, grilled, Soft-Shell Crabs on a bed of Scarlet Runner Beans & the 2nd was Octopus that was outrageous! Cooked to a perfectly firm texture w creamy Borlotti beans and a Spicy Limoncello Vinaigrette, the oct blew my mind... For the main course Tra chose the 'Spaghettini' in a Tomato sauce w/ Chives and a ONE POUND LOBSTER for good measure (OH, AND 'NUFF BUTTER)! I chose the whole Branzino, filleted and served w a side of grilled Radicchio wrapped in Pancetta (WOWSERS)... The fish was accompanied by a sweet, tangy jam made from oregano and lemon... The Branzino was PERFECTLY cooked, lightly firm, moist w/ a earthy, grilled skin... And the Radicchio must have been grilled on the same grill as it was smokey and solid... We finished the bottle and decided to skip desert only to receive a final treat with the check: almond biscotti, chocolate baci cookies, and almond meringue cookies...
JOB WELL DONE. PRETTY IMPRESSED THAT THIS MANY YEARS LATER A RESTAURANT STILL CARES AND HOLDS ITSELF TO SUCH A HIGH STANDARD - THANK YOU.