Ever since it opened in 1998 (a lifetime ago, it seems, in the arc of the Italian food and wine renaissance in the U.S.), Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s Babbo has been an epicenter for Italian fine wine in this country.
It’s as hard, if not harder, to get a table there as when Ruth Reichl gave it its first three-star review in the New York Times the same year it opened.
Today, a lot of people don’t remember that when it was opened, it was called (and is still called) “Babbo Enoteca e Ristorante.”
These days, enoteca is a pretty common word in American restaurant lingo and the concept of “wine bar” is widely embraced across the board.
But at the time, an Italian wine bar was a highly revolutionary idea. And when it opened its doors, Joe Bastianich’s and later Joe and David Lynch’s all-Italian list entirely changed the landscape for Italian wine in this country.
The list at Babbo is still one of the country’s most important “taste makers.” Wine professionals come from all over the nation to discover new wines and trends there.
And they are currently serving (as of this posting) Arcari e Danesi Dosaggio Zero by-the-glass.
Photo credit: Heath Brandon (cropped).