Dan and I got all dressed up last night for our dinner at Babbo -- he in dress pants and a black and gray striped shirt, me in a dress with heels that aren't really logical for walking (but they have ruffles on them!). First thing I have to say is that they give you a large piece of really incredible Italian bread that they continually replenish throughout your meal. This should be industry-standard as far as I'm concerned.
I did not take any pictures, but I did bring the menu home. Behold:
As you can see, there's a lot of Italian on there. Here's my translation:
COMPLIMENTS OF THE CHEF
(not on the menu)
Chick peas marinated in some kind of balsamic-y vinegar and oil with some herbs, sprinkled on top of tiny toasts.
Sweet peas whipped into a tiny little cake-looking mold, covered in carrot vinaigrette with slices of duck meat laid next to it. I think this was one of the best examples of flavors melding together to blow your mind.
Verdict: very good
Wine: a light white wine that was very, very good. And I don't even like white wine that much. Looks like I've been buying the wrong kind.
Wide pasta noodles with tiny mushrooms in a garlic, butter, and olive oil sauce with thyme sprinkled on top.
Verdict: OH MY GOD
Wine: bolder white wine that felt like it was a touch carbonated. Good, not my fave.
Duck meat in folded pasta that looks kind of like tortellini, covered in red sauce that has been cooked with pancetta. Very bold sauce that also had a lot of oil in it.
Verdict: very, very good.
Wine: really nice red wine, my favorite of the night.
Small slices of steak covered in a sweet and sour sauce that actually tasted a bit like A1, sitting on roasted turnips and mushrooms.
Verdict: the steak was a little rarer than I usually like it, but it was all really amazing. Great sauce.
Wine: really bold red, good but not what I would normally go with.
Cheese! Goat cheese with peppercorns in it, with some fennel honey on the side. I love goat cheese, so this was perfect for me, though I am still kicking myself for not even noticing the little toasts on which to spread some cheese. I just ate it all with a fork.
Wine: Champagne. I normally don't really like champagne, but this stuff was amazing. Dan left the table for about 3 minutes after this course and I came thiiiiiiiiiis close to finishing his off.
Dessert! A fig cooked with a wine reduction, served with marscapone cheese. The fig was good, but I was all about that cheese.
Wine: our first dessert wine, a really sweet red. Not my thing.
More dessert! Hazelnut gelato covered in very, very good chocolate with a cherry in the center. Apparently this is a very traditional dessert in Italy.
Verdict: Would move to Italy to eat this more.
Wine: white dessert wine, too sweet for me. Sweet wine makes me ill.
2 dessert: one from the tasting menu, and one a surprise from the chef.
Chestnut cake with a cherry sauce, some roasted nuts, and some kind of whipped cream on the side. The second was Saffron Panna Cotta with "Tre Agrumi" which is a panna cotta with orange sauce, pieces of grapefruit, and grapefruit sorbet.
Verdict: Both were incredible...but I'm all about the cherry stuff.
Wine: peachy and appley dessert wine. Still not my thing.
Dan got espresso while I got a decaf cappuccino and these came with biscotti and tiny cookies. The coffee was amazing, but I'm not a big fan of biscotti. I ate it all, though.
Final verdict? Great bread (I would go back just for more of that bread), good coffee, amazing food. Worth a month's wait for a reservation? Maybe. It's casual enough that you don't feel pressured to act perfectly, but it's still pretty damn fancy. I look forward to going again, but as far as becoming my "favorite" goes? Nah, I'm a casual girl, so I'd rather go to Vesta.
Sometimes, though, it's nice to get fancy.