My currently reading list still shows Bill Buford's book Heat, even though I finished it a while back. It's to remind me to write something about what a good read it is. Much of it is set in the kitchen of Mario Batali's three-star restaurant, Babbo. His descriptions of the food intrigued me enough that tonight I wandered downtown to try it out. It's a miserably rainy Monday night, so I was able to walk in without a reservation and get a seat for dinner at the bar in only 15 minutes. It was a delicious experience.
The festivities started with an amuse-bouche of chickpeas on bruschetta. They were nicely spiced with a touch of heat. Then I ordered an antipasto plate of Babbo's housemade salumi - a couple kinds of salami, some lingua, a few sliced of lardo, and house-cured olives on a bed of tasty greens. I think it was watercress dressed with a sweet balsamic. As a first (and main) course, I had the chianti-stained pappardelle with wild boar ragu. Once again, quite delicious. And then I splurged and had a dessert, which really should have been split between two or three people. It was an almond upside down cake with espresso gelato and some kind of cherries. Extremely rich, and all that sugar along with the coffee will probably keep me up late tonight.
My only real disappointment was that I didn't even get a glimpse of the kitchen I read so much about.