>What can I say about Mio Babbo’s except for the fact that it’s a quaint little restaurant and if you go, don’t expect to be overwhelmed — it’s not THAT kind of place. My friend had wanted to go to Mio Babbo’s for quite some time now due to the fact that it was a place frequented during childhood even though the name has changed and quite honestly, so have the owners, chef and probably, the menu as well.
My friend and I came here in April in the hopes of having dinner only to be told that they were closing early that night because they were observing Easter Sunday the following day. However, he could serve us soup, that was the best he could do. We passed. This time, we arrived around 7pm on a Monday evening with only one table occupied.
We were promptly given menus and while we waited, we asked the server for a recommendation on a glass of riesling. When he brought it out to us, I took one sip and asked my friend to taste it, upon which I said “it tastes like weakly flavored water”. I decided to get a sauvignon blanc instead and while it was far better than the riesling, it was still rather dismal.
After perusing the menu for a while, we decided upon the antipasto plate and the scallops and shrimp vodka cream penne to share. I asked if we could substitute the penne for spaghetti and our server was happy to do that for us and even asked if we wanted them to split the plate to make it easier. I asked what the soup of the day was and wanted a cup of the vegetable soup with pearl pasta which was only $2 extra when ordered alongside an entree.
The antipasto plate was quite ample for a mere $8.95, but upon closer inspection, I understood why. The pepperoni tasted like the kind that came out of a plastic container rather than sliced off a whole link, and the sausage tasted like something Hickory Farms would be proud of. The roma tomatoes weren’t vine ripened and were wedged rather than sliced. To make matters worse, the wonderful fresh mozarella was cut into small chunks rather than thick slices and neither the tomatoes nor the mozarella were seasoned with any sea salt, olive oil or balsamic vinegar. Luckily, the table was graced with a bottle of pretty decent olive oil which I used as a drizzle before eating, but that still didn’t excuse the table salt provided instead of sea salt. The only positive items from the plate were the olives, roasted peppers and the artichokes.
Our pasta arrived — before the soup might I add — and I immediately noticed that the penne had not been replaced with the spaghetti as I had requested, but oh, hey, he remembered to split it for us. It was at that moment I asked if I could have my soup and the sheepish look I was given told me he had completely forgotten that I had ordered it. When he returned, he brought me a huge bowl of it instead of a cup, probably to make amends for all the mistakes he had already blundered through during the course of the evening.
It was just as well that the pasta was quite good, otherwise, I would’ve written the entire evening off to ‘just one of those nights’ which culinarily, just didn’t seem to want to make me happy. There were plump scallops and good-sized shrimp and although I didn’t think the texture of the scallops were anything to write home about, they were decent.
With so many good Italian restaurants in the Westwood area, I doubt I’ll ever return again to Mio Babbo’s!
Mio Babbo’s, 1076 Gayley Ave, Westwood, CA 90024. Tel: 310-208-5117