Monday, May 18, 2015
We all know him and maybe even some of you have his cookbooks. With his bright red hair, orange Crocs and a larger than life personality, Mario Batali is hard to miss. His new place in Boston has been open for a while now so we decided to head on over and check it out.
As we drove there I began to ponder: with all of the great pizza we have in Boston, how good could it be? The last time we went to the Seaport District it was difficult finding a parking spot and very crowded. Plus, with all of the new restaurants there it seems to have reached the tipping point. I did not have high hopes.
There are several seating areas. If it had not been occupied, we would have selected the counter seating where the pizzas are actually being made. It was easy to see this young man's talent as he masterfully threw the pizza dough and used the paddle to briefly push it into the very hot, wood burning oven. Quite entertaining to watch.
Of course, we had to try the pizza. We went with the Meatball, which comes with Pickled Chili, Tomato and Fontina cheese. Anyone would be hard pressed to say that it was not excellent. The crust was perfect and the meat and cheese flavorful and satisfying. Great pizza.
We also had a salad: Spinach, Ricotta Salata with Truffled Honey. The ricotta was great, not runny but drier, and the honey wasn't overly drizzled on top of the fresh baby spinach leaves. So, we had to agree that the salad was also great.
The space is large, over 8,000 square feet, with a long bar for sampling wines and cocktails. What I have to say sets it apart from other places is the excellent service. Both of our servers spoke fluent Italian and were happy, indeed eager, to share their native language. And they were funny and warm and gracious. I guess the team of Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich don't have all of those successful restaurants in New York without knowing exactly what they are doing.
We also tried out a few of the desserts. The Pistachio Tartufo: Pistachio, Valhrona Chocolate, Guanaja, Chocolate Crumble, Sour Cherry and Zabaglione Crema. Very, very good. Then we sampled the Gelati and Sorbetti. I absolutely loved the Olive Oil gelato, creamy and subtle. The Lemon and Basil Sorbetti did not quite pack the flavor punch I was expecting, however.
It was a beautiful day in the Seaport, not overcrowded, with people streaming in and out of the ICA and relaxing on the grassy green of the park between the two spots. And the parking was easy! Overall, a great afternoon out and a lunch that really hit the spot.
Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca
11 Fan Pier Boulevard
Boston, MA 02210