Mon-Sat, 5:30pm-11:30pm; Sun, 5pm-11:00pm
A, B, C, D, E, F, M at W. 4th St.-Washington Sq.; 1 at Christopher St.-Sheridan Sq.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
The most exciting Italian restaurant in town serves food you'll never find in Little Italy. A staff as smart as you want your kids to be helps. So do two uncomplicated floors suffused in honeyed amber light, as easy to get comfy in as a calf-skin slip-on. But what will stun, fool, bewitch, and ultimately obsess you is chef Mario Batali's staggeringly original yet startlingly airy Italian cooking. Ever try goat-cheese tortelloni dusted in dried orange and wild-fennel pollen? Or spicy lamb sausage romanced by mint love letters and a paste of sweet peas? Get ready. Ingredients you didn't expect or have never heard of are about to become unforgettable. Hot-chili-flecked linguine and clams will make you lose your composure. Just get it together enough to make another reservation before you leave. Don't fool yourself into thinking that if you can't get in, you can hit Casa Mono and Otto for the same rush at half the price. Methinks Batali loves Babbo just a wee bit more than the others. And it shows.Pasta Tasting Menu
Eight courses, $80
Traditional Tasting Menu
Eight courses, $90
The bar opens half-hour prior to the dining room, every night.
Goat cheese tortelloni, $19; mint "Love Letters," $20; beef cheek ravioli, $23