Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Making Nice

I just found this article on the New York Times and had to share as I just experienced this whole let's be nice to all customers who we are gouging with our very  high prices in an economy that is sagging to the point of dragging its belly on the ground.  

While I was in New York, I did manage to treat myself to a meal at Babbo, an intimate trattoria run by Mario Batali--the guy on the left in this photo.  Lucky for me I didn't have to go looking for it.  It happened to be right across the street from the hotel I was staying at in Greenwich so I walked over to see what all the fuss was about.  At 8:00pm on a Tuesday night, the place was packed.  Not a seat to be had and there was a wait just to get a spot at the bar.  But I figured I'm here, it's late, I'm hungry and I don't feel like walking around by myself trying to find a place. Plus, while not being a huge fan of Mr. Batali, I was curious to see what exactly would be in store for me from a dining experience.  Must confess:  I was not disappointed.  

The prices were crazy but we are talking New York and it really wasn't stopping too many people from dropping by.  Clearly, it is a locals place as everyone around me knew each other and bartenders warmly greeted the regulars.  I too was warmly embraced and my server/bartender could not have been more helpful or entertaining.  She asked me what type of red wine I was looking for and came up with a wonderful Italian Grenache that is from such a small vineyard I can't find bottles to buy to save my soul.  And this was a wine that you would want to drink over and over again.  The best part for me--she made sure my glass was full throughout my meal without charging me extra!  Nice little touch for someone who hates when her glass is empty.  Could this be a sign of letting go of arrogance and putting the customer first in bad times?  My meal, a special of sea bass, was cooked to perfection and melted in my mouth.  Dessert, a glass of Moscato was equally amazing and after the sticker shock from my bill I carefully crossed the street, making sure to look both ways even though it was a one way street and quickly fell into a sweet Italian slumber. 

Apparently this particular Batali location (there are three in the city) hasn't really felt the economic tightening as much as their other sites.  Here in Chicago, I have my favorite places that I go to over and over again because they know me and I feel as though I am entering a friend's home and am going to be treated as such.  My guess, it is much the same at this eatery only more expensive.  If you are traveling to New York anytime soon and want to experience a "neighborhood" type of place I'd give this one a try.  Keep in mind however, this is New York.  They are still a long way off from touchy-feely.  

Photo credit:  Tony Cenicola/ 

1 comment:

Phivos Nicolaides said...

But this is New York, the big apple dear Kim!!