Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca, West Village
New York City , New York
Tel: 212 777 0303
Concierge.com's insider take:
Former American presidents seated at table 3? Check. Beef cheek ravioli with crushed squab liver and black truffles served at table 6? Check. Large-and-in-charge man with red hair in a ponytail, shorts, and clogs walking the aisles? Check. Such is a typical night at Babbo, Mario Batali's perennially hot and rollicking restaurant just off Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. Batali launched the place in 1998 with partner Joseph Bastianich, son of Lidia and a renowned vintner-restaurateur in his own right, and it was one of the first restaurants in New York to offer such an inventive and sophisticated take on Italian cuisine—with a voluminous wine list to match. The phones haven't stopped ringing since. Although the team recently opened the garish Del Posto (85 Tenth Ave.; 212-497-8090; www.delposto.com), Babbo (with its must-try pasta tasting menu) is still our favorite.