Oh, Mario.Mr. Batali. Your Highness.
Thank you. My hostess for my weekend in New York and I tag-teamed the reservations line for 45 minutes on March 27 before I finally got through. My excitement was curbed only a little by the soothing British accent of the reservation agent who took my information, and I ended our call with a breathless "Godican'twaitthankyousomuchhhhhhh." When the day finally came, I walked in a haze all day long. I fasted and stared blankly at the TV in a futile attempt to pass the time more quickly. The 1 train crawled and Waverly Place stretched infinitely before us as we neared the restaurant. EPIC. It was like a dream come true walking into Babbo on April 27, which will live forever in my heart as the night I found true love inside a tiny envelope of pasta: Casunzei. (Bless you!) Casunzei, pockets of impossibly thin pasta filled with blood-red beet and ricotta, drizzled with olive oil and topped with smoky ricotta salata, poppy seeds and fresh, fragrant parsley. Just one of -- count 'em -- five pasta courses in the eight-course tasting menu that night. The food here speaks for itself, though. You know it's going to be ridiculous, and you know it'll be the best pasta you've ever tasted. Don't bother with anything else; you're a total idiot if you don't get the tasting menu. The overall experience just did it for me. Our server, an adorable dead ringer for Andy Samberg, was energetic and friendly but still incredibly efficient. Think 47 pieces of flair minus the cheese factor. He brought three perfect wine pairings to match up with our courses' progression. And somehow he made great conversation, told us what we needed to know about our food and wine and still managed to be gone before we knew he was stepping away. An Italian ninja. The restaurant itself was exactly as I'd imagined — still, I was in such awe that I was blown away with every glance. (What a fangirl!) Simply framed Italian phrases lined the walls, the room buzzed with conversation and hurried servers and busboys, and the classic rock and '80s soundtrack elicited a private, hushed "Oh my GOD, I LOVE this song!" reaction from every patron with each track change. I could go on. Really. For pages. The sad reluctance I felt picking up the last bite of each pasta. The meaningful looks exchanged with Sara across the table after the first bite of every new course. The voyeuristic glee we felt watching the most experienced servers carve up osso buco on the island just behind us while their intended recipients sat across the room, oblivious. My meal at Babbo was a defining moment in my burgeoning foodie existence. It sounds dramatic, yes, but it's true. I just...oh, I want to go back.