I have to admit, the first time that I heard about BABALU, Desi Arnaz crossed my mind. As a massive fan of "I Love Lucy", my favorite episodes are always the one's where Ricky Ricardo performs live at the Tropicana. I figured a restaurant with such an infamous name should definitely offer a memorable culinary experience. When I mentioned that I was going to BABALU, the recommendations came pouring in about what I should try. Trust me, I wanted to eat the entire menu.
Atmosphere: This contemporary- casual restaurant had an amazingly comfortable feel. With bar seating, plenty of tables and an outdoor seating area, there is lots of space for a moderate sized crowd. They have an open kitchen, with lots of busy staff that seemed to be focused on creating lots of visually enticing dishes. This is a great addition to the Lakeview area of Birmingham's Southside.
The Meal: I had an appetizer of their fresh Pico de Gallo w/ house made chips. I love, love, love Pico! I typically never pass up a chance to have it no matter where I am. The house made chips were very good in my opinion and would accompany any kind of dip just fine. I got some to go and they were even great as a snack by themselves the next day.
My entrée consisted of the combination taco plate. Their tacos are made with blue corn masa tortillas that are made in house. If you are expecting anything close to Taco Bell, have a talk with your taste buds before trying this item. These soft shells have more of an authentic Latin cuisine flavor. My combination taco plate consisted of one Pollo (chicken) taco , one beef tenderloin taco and one Ostra(oyster) taco topped w/ hot sauce slaw. I thoroughly enjoyed them all, but I enjoyed the Ostra taco the best mainly because I'd never had an oyster taco.
The Service: The service was very good. I was greeted & seated immediately. My server was extremely friendly and also made more recommendations. She also knew the menu which is a huge plus for me!
The Prices: The appetizer I had was $4.50 and the taco combo was $8.95.
Overall experience: I enjoyed my visit to BABALU and will return to try other dishes and hopefully some of the many recommended dishes. I appreciate authenticity so if they continue to focus on the impact of flavor and the introduction of new menu features, I think they will see longevity in Birmingham.
For more information & to view extended item descriptions, visit their website at http://babalutacos.com
Follow on Twitter @BabaluBHM
Thanks for reading,
~ The Birmingham Restaurant Raider
|Pico de Gallo w. House Made Chips (click to view larger)|
|Far Left: Pollo taco Middle: Aspen Ridge Natural Beef tenderloin taco Right: Flash Fried Ostra Taco (click to view larger)|
Cue the theme music below. =)