Babylon Carriage House
21 Fire Island Avenue
Babylon, NY 11721
Babylon Carriage House is one of the few places that we went to, just the two of us, because we wanted to have a special night out at a more upscale place. We knew it was supposed to be one of the better places in Babylon Village and were eager to try it. The parking lot is behind the restaurant but I believe the strip next to the restaurant also uses the same lot so it can get pretty packed. When we walked in, the entrance was grand. Only thing I find strange is their "waiting area" which is one single, bright red circle couch if you can even call it that. We were seated upstairs where it was quiet and cozy. We felt like we were in a private area because there were not many others in our area and it was nice to sort of be away from the crowd. The overall ambiance with the lighting was nice as well.
From the beginning to end, service was great. Our waiter was extremely professional, yet allowed his personality to come through even as he read the specials. He always made sure we were taken care of and truly made our night out feel special. I feel like he should have been in a posh NYC restaurant but am glad that he was our waiter for the night. The food was all spectacular, especially with my steak being perfectly cooked and having the perfect pairing of blue cheese and mashed potatoes. My husband had a filet mignon, without any of the extras and it was just as great.
Babylon Carriage House is meant to be a fine dining restaurant, but for those special nights, it's worth it. The food quality and level of service is what justifies the somewhat high prices. However, I do not know the prices they charge for catering. Which brings me to my next segment of this review.
We were psyched when we got an invitation for a cousin's birthday that would be catered at the Babylon Carriage House. We thoroughly enjoyed our evening the first time around and couldn't wait to go back. This birthday celebration was held on a Saturday evening and it was to start at 7pm. We arrived slightly early and were the first people there. We went directly to the hostess stand and she told us the party was upstairs and that we could go in the private room now if we wished. We went up the stairs, into the room, and found a few staff just starting to set up the room. There was maybe 15 minutes to go until the party was supposed to start. The hostess should have been made aware that the room was not ready for guests, but instead she was sending everyone upstairs to only have them come back down. We waited in the lobby until 7pm rolled around and the party members were beginning to fill up the waiting area. When we went upstairs, they were still setting up, just began putting decorations on the walls and tables and were really no where near done. Patrons were nearly ignored while the staff continued to set up over the next 15 minutes. I thought that was a bad sign for the rest of the night.
The party host chose the buffet style which consisted of bread, caesar salad, chicken parmesan, penne ala vodka, marinated sliced steak, salmon oreganata and seasonal vegetables. Those at our table were the first to serve themselves. I put a little of everything on my plate other than the salmon. When I was back at the table, I tried the chicken first. It was actually on the verge of being cold! I understand with those catering trays that the bottom is closest to the heat and what I had picked was from the top but to actually be cold? What happened to serving chicken at 160 degrees? They obviously did not check at all for food safety. The salad and bread were fine, but I've had better caesar salad at cheap chain restaurants. Penne ala vodka is one of my favorite pastas in this world and I was saddened to eat this version. It was dry, with barely any sauce whatsoever and what little sauce there was had no taste reminiscent to ala vodka. The vegetables were soggy and nothing special. The only great tasting things were the salmon and especially the marinated sliced steak. That steak was GONE before anyone knew what hit them. People were going up for seconds and thirds, probably because it was one of the only good tasting things available.
When it was dessert time, there were three members of the staff cutting up cake and putting it on plates. Well really, there was one person cutting and two people standing there rather than handing it out to the tables. They took buffet style to the whole next level! There was also coffee and tea available and because it was just sitting there next to the cake for so long and I wanted some coffee, I got up and asked the staff member standing right next to it if that was coffee and she said I could sit back down and someone would bring it around to the tables. She then told one of the people just standing there to go serve the tables coffee and tea. It never came. Cake was eaten, the night was pretty much done, and after finally realizing how much time had gone by, I opened my mouth again and got my coffee.
If I had been the host of this event and paid an upscale restaurant any type of money for the poor level of service as well as extremely sub-par food, I would be embarrassed to say the least. I have gotten better food from deli's that cater. What we had that night was by no means any representation of what this restaurant offers in their regular dining room.
When it was time to leave, we opened the doors to be blasted in the face with the loudest club music that we were totally not expecting. Apparently on weekend nights, the place turns into a club! Trying to leave, get down a flight of stairs and through the massive crowd especially with a baby in toe was damn near impossible. Thankfully, the DJ saw the impossible situation and told people to make room to let us all get by. It probably brought the mood down for some club-goers but since when does an upscale restaurant in a historical building turn into a typical Long Island nightclub after 10pm? A little bit more than strange to say the least.
Maybe we will be back for dinner, maybe we won't. I really need to get over the terrible catering experience first before I can bring myself back here in the near future.