MUSIC

Every part of the dining experience at our restaurants is considered, from the moment the customer walks in the door until he or she sips the final glass of grappa; from the wall color to the ambient noise, to the art on the walls (or lack thereof). We seek to put food in the best light and ensure that it is consumed with flourish and joy.

A large part of the diner's experience is the soundtrack. I populate iPods with my own music library to create a happy and fun, albeit somewhat unpredictable mood for diners.

Quite simply, we play the music I like-a rotating list of vintage anthems and new and festive jigs, depending on the season. I grew up listening to a variety of music, from the jazz my dad favored to The Clash, Led Zeppelin, and REM. Now that roster also includes Kanye, Sleigh Bells and Coldplay.

I create restaurant playlists like I do menus: a mix of tried-and-true classics and seasonal specials reflective of the precise moment they are consumed. During the holiday season when we cook the Feast of the Fishes, we may start with something festive like "White Christmas." But a Christmas hymn might be followed by Buena Vista Social Club's self-titled album. And we might finish with "Whole Lotta Love," the musical equivalent of Bavette Cacio e Pepe. Classic, simple, and more perfect with every bite.

Many remember the first time they heard a Beatles tune on the radio. Some might also remember the Blondie album that played during her first meals at Babbo. Music sets a tone, it creates a mood. We make sure the mood is consistent with the food on the plate.

Mario B