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A New European Bistro in Greenwich Village Serves ‘Exciting’ Pasta, Times Critic Writes

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Times critic Pete Wells gives the restaurant two stars

The golden dining rom of Babs, with green banquettes lining the sides Evan Sung/Babs [Official]

New Greenwich Village restaurant Babs gets two stars in the Times for its “exciting” clam pasta and “intriguing” desserts.

Critic Pete Wells praises chef Efrén Hernández’s imaginative cooking, like when he pairs a mustard beurre blanc sauce with noodles, or when a sea bream comes slathered in Catalan romesco and French pistou sauces. The European bistro from the team behind Mimi opened in July and serves a top-notch clam pasta, seemingly Wells’s favorite dish. He writes:

Mind you, virtually the only Italian thing about the tagliatelle with clams at Babs was the tagliatelle. The sauce was a mustard beurre blanc, one of those French sauces that all culinary-school students are supposed to be able to make in their sleep. Mustard beurre blanc is often found providing a decorous yellow veil over a chicken breast or salmon fillet. It is not normally poured over noodles. But, tossed with salty French ham and Manila clams smaller than a thumbprint, it made a strangely exciting bowl of pasta that was much more coherent than it sounds.

Wells notes that the menu can be pricey — a “small” lobster cost him $48 and the $36 lamb chop was served with a “cold” and “underseasoned” potato salad.

But the rest of the menu is a go, including the charcoal-grilled swordfish, chicken andouille, fried cod cheeks, crab salad, and a raw sea scallop appetizer layered with sweet potato purée and trout roe. The desserts, too, are “far more intriguing than average,” like an apple galette topped with grated Swiss-style cheese, he writes. Two stars.


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