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  • Last Books Read

    Born to Run by Christopher McDougall - (K) Humorous and thorough history and science behind ultrarunners and long-distance running
    *****
    Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela - (K) An autobiography covering his childhood, years as a freedom fighter and incarceration. Inspiring and informative
    *****
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón - (K&T) A mystery set in Barcelona involving an old book, a failed writer and murder
    *****
    Lush Life by Richard Price - A Lower East Side tale of cops, drugs and drinking
    ***
    The Chinese by Jesper Becker - (K&T) Modern history of my peeps, from the cultural revolution to the many failed economic and social attempts to move the country forward
    ***
    Setting the Table by Danny Meyer - A "how-to" on hospitality and business acumen by the restaurateur behind such NY institutions as the Shake Shack and Union Square Grill
    ***
    The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama - Obama lays out what is wrong with the current government and how, vaguely, to change it.
    **

Restaurants

Has it been two weeks since we mentioned restaurants in here? Where does the time go, etc…

Babbo

This was a celebration. We’d both wanted to eat at Babbo for awhile and when Kelly got offered a job, we decided now was the time. Calling late Thursday night, we were able to get an 8:15 reservation on Friday night. Babbo is the flagship Batali restaurant.

(Yes, I know the formatting is all screwed up. I wrote this in IE first and that’s what you get. I spent about 20 minutes trying to fix but then gave up. Deal.)

*Setting: Modern formal? Babbo seats probably 85 on two narrow levels. I say modern formal because a lot is given to presentation, not just of the food but also the wait-staff who perform table-side services like the cutting and plating of the Osso Bucco for two, napkins are refolded when you leave the table, you fizzy water is held at a central table and not at your own. Service is VERY good, if our waiter was a bit robotic himself. I call it modern because it was upbeat rock and Dzihan & Kamien type stuff on the loudspeaker.

*Menu: Being a celebration and after much deliberation (and borderline pleading from the waiter to make our own tasting menu), we ordered the daily pasta tasty menu – 5 pasta courses and 3 dessert courses. I also got the wine pairing. Why not make our own? Because the actual tasting menu had a few things that sounded more interesting than anything else on the menu. Here is the actual menu with wine pairings and pictures:

Black Tagliatelle with Parsnips and Pancetta
"Vespa Blanco," Bastianich 2005

 

 

  "Casunzei" with Poppy Seeds
Sylvaner, Garlider 2006      Garganelli with "Funghi Trifolati"
Morellino di Scansano "I Perazzi," La Mozza 2005
Domingo's Pyramids with Passato di Pomodoro
Barbera d'Alba, Gagliasso 2006

 

Pappardelle Bolognese

Malbec, Enrico Fossi 2002

 

"Fritelle di Caciotta" with Figs and Honey

Moscato di Trani "Piani di Tufara," Rivera 2005

 

"Fior di Latte" with Raspberry Vincotto

Brachetto d'Acqui "Pineto," Marceno 2007

 

Chocolate Chestnut Budino with Chestnut Gelato

Recioto della Valpolicella Classico "Campo Casalin," I Castei 1995

 

Mascarpone Panna Cotta

  Final Treats  

Notes: A very good meal that lasted over three hours but somehow flew by. The first four pastas were particularly interesting with the first two being standouts. It seemed as if every pasta had lots of fresh parsley, which was sometimes a bit much. A little too formal to feel super comfortable. The whole pasta tasting menu was $69 which I thought was quite a value.

Rating: ****

Del Posto

Restaurant Week New York ended on Friday we hadn’t taken advantage of it yet. Kelly and I have both been traveling a lot for work and between that and school, there was just no time. So, come Friday round 12:30 and I noticing a 1.5 hour gap in my schedule AND a need to be right next door to Del Posto for work I decided this was my chance. I texted dB “Going to Del Posto for lunch. Want to come?”

30 seconds later came the “2:00 meeting. Can’t make it”, followed by “Wait. let me try and cancel my meeting”, followed by “Bring your camera.”

It was too late. I was already on the subway making my way to 16th and 10th Ave.

*Setting: A VERY formal, very renowned restaurant in the Meat Packing District. This is a multi-million dollar marble dining space on par with the nicest restaurants anywhere. It is also another Batali restaurant, but totally different from Babbo. This really isn’t my kind of place. Too stuffy, everyone in a suit and pretty crowded by a lunch, but the people were way to dressed up to be there for RW. dB and I were the bums of the restaurant with our casual sweaters and scarves.

*Menu: RW prix-fixe menu. Three choices over each of three courses. We weren’t even offered the regular menu as we were obviously out of place. I had the crostata and cured-meat plate, followed by pork tenderloin with root vegetable slaw, followed by a semi-fredo. The pork was the standout. Very good but it in itself was formal, but very well seasoned and tender. Nothing crazy here. Just a solid meat plate. See also: boring. dB’s starter soup was good, his pasta main pretty dull and his cheesecake dessert very nice and light.

Notes: OK. I’ve done it. No need to go back. I’m sure the hoity-toity get it. Really. It’s very nice. But, I’m not 50 yet. This place was awarded 3 stars by Bruni so I’m sure its great. Just not my place.

Rating: **

Enoteca Barbone

Having been here before with some other friends about a year ago, I decided to take Kelly. The prices are a very good value in my mind and it has solid comfort Italian pastas and mains. The chef came from Babbo and therefore the menu is very similar.
*Setting: Whereas Del Posto is very formal, Barbone is your nice neighborhood joint. Tight seating for maybe 40 people, a little loud, though this was mostly caused by a tipsy, tall blonde who had the laugh of a hyena. It’s very comfortable, just like the food…

*Menu: Comfort Italian. Maybe 10 or so house made pastas, 10 or so rich mains and 10 or so appetisers (which we didn’t have, but included things like asparagus fries, endive salad, etc. We had the duck ravioli (pretty good, but lacking a bit of duck flavor), red beet gnocchi (amazing – delicious, etc), braised lamb shank (thick and rich and delicious and really, how can you screw this up?) and chestnut agnolotti (which was also delicious). Pictures on flickr – see link to the right.

Notes: The service is a bit sporadic but we really, really like this place. At the end of the meal, they offered us complimentary Muscato and Italian cookies (the proper name I’m currently forgetting). They also accidentally threw away the two-thirds of my shank I was saving for the next day. Upon realizing their mistake, they made up a full-size plate of pasta for us to take home and refilled our Muscato. We looked around, nobody else got free Muscato, and I remembered that when I had come before the owner had sat down with us for an hour or two and we talked about his new restaurant and his Armenian origins when I suddenly thought maybe he remembered us. But c’mon, that was over a year ago. When we got up to leave, he came over to shake my hand and say “Good to see you again.”

I don’t know whether he remembered me or not but it was a nice gesture. K and I are sure to go back…

Rating: ***

Blue Ribbon Brassiere

We’d been to a Blue Ribbon before but not this one. We stopped by after watching Rent on a Sunday night for a quick, 10pm dinner.
*Setting: Seating for maybe 50. Darker with a small bar. Still doing brisk business at 10pm on a Sunday night, if that says anything. Blue Ribbon is known for being a favorite of NY chefs.

*Menu: Modern French Brassiere including things like a Duck Club sandwich, whole branzino, roast duck breast and bone marrow and oxtail marmalade. K & I had the last two items. The marrow felt luscious and rich and it should have been shared with two others but I ate it as a main course…and got heartburn. The duck, Kelly claimed to be the best breast she’d ever had and she’s Chinese, so that’s quite a statement.

Notes: It has quite the reputation and we see why. Very good, if a tad pricey for what it is. A very nice place to have dinner… or drinks… or lunch…. or brunch… or a midnight snack….

Rating: ***

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One Response

  1. […] our wonderful meal at Enoteca Barbone (per Diesel’s previous post), we headed over to Tre, a restaurant/wine bar in our hood.  You would think that a place that […]

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