This past April, Boston warmly welcomed high-profile chef Mario Batalli to the Seaport District's Fan Pier with the opening of Babbo Pizzeria at 11 Fan Pier Boulevard. (The original Babbo resides in Manhattan with a Michelin Star.) Each time I venture across the Fort Point Channel I am wide-eyed in amazement at the changes taking place; shiny new buildings and restaurants are continuing to forever transform the city's waterfront. On a recent Tuesday, The Envoy Hotel's chic roofdeck overlooking the not-forgotten Barking Crab looks like the place to be. Across from a massive construction site, venturing towards what was once the lone Fan Pier Restaurant, Sam's, I locate Babbo. Inside the wide open, bright space, I spot my girlfriends gathered around one of the Carrara marble counter-tops sipping aperitivi from the likes of a classic Aperol Spritz (Flor processo, Aperol, orange), to a Peach Shrub (Zucca Amaro, house made peach shrub, vinegar) and a Summer in the City (Strawberry Rye, Cocchi Rossa, Peychauds). The Peach Shrub is unique and invigorating; I order one for myself.
Once seated at a round table for six, we start with Verdure (vegetables) Cauliflower alla Sciciliana ($5) and Peas, Mint & Prosciutto ($5) offer delicate little cauldrons with fresh, flavorful components. Joining the mix is everything on the Pesce section ($7 each / $21 all): Tuna Sottolio - sungolds, calabrian chilis, panzanella / Sardines Marinato - Portuguese sardines, cucumber, cherry tomato / Calamari Siciliana - fregola, caperberries, cherry tomatoes / Grappa Cured Salmon - arugula, primo olio. If you have a large group that enjoys seafood, ALL four for $21 is the way to go!Babbo's pizza is divine. The dough is made daily and pies are wood fired in a 1000 degree brick oven. The result is a Neapolitan style pie where an airy crispness is met with a wonderfully chewy texture. Just the right amount of toppings come together in the Squash & Stracciatella ($14) with thinly sliced summer squash and zucchini, wild boar salami, and chili adding a welcome spicy kick. The thin crust gets slightly overwhelmed by the Guacinale ($14), even so, I still welcome the delicately cured pork, perfectly soft boiled egg, and scallion on my pizza. The Bagna Cauda ($13) ends up being our only red sauce based pie, with escarole, parmigiano and sausage.
As if three Pizza's weren't enough, we shared from the Fritti Section: Fiore Di Zucca ($16) - local squash blossoms with conch farm goat cheese and lemon aioli and Eggplant Milanese ($14) with stracciatella and tomato jam. And for Pastas: Egg Yolk Ravioli ($15) - brown butter, sage, hazelnut, guanciale and a simple Gnocchi Pomodoro ($15) - cherry tomatoes, basil, mozzarella di bufala.
Overall - the pizzas were a home run, outshining the pastas but complimenting nicely the rest of the menu. I loved all the verdue, pesce and fritti that we tried.
Finally, you'll want to go big with the dolci. Megan had been here before and steered us right the entire evening - ending with the decision to order ALL the Coppettas. A group favorite was the Olive Oil Coppetta ($10) with olive oil gelato, lime curd, strawberries, passionfruit granita and basil syrup.
The S'More Coppetta ($10) featuring graham cracker gelato, dark chocolate gelato, chocolate crumbs and toasted marshmallow was a very close runner up for me. That gooey torched marshmallow sauce was unreal!
In a hilarious moment, the towering Sweet Corn Coppetta ($10) with blackberries, polenta cake, zabalgione and caramel corn toppled over, jenga style! The waitstaff were quick to clean up the mess and to assure us they would bring another right out. You don't have to think twice about service here, it is flawless.
P.S. A fun article in the Globe: Batali Bursts into Town with Babbo
11 Fan Pier Boulevard
Boston, MA 02210
Boston, MA 02210