Babita - short review.
Sadly, I couldn't make the Chowhound dinner there, but did try it a couple days before.
And it is a treasure, not cheap either, but not necessarily Westside prices either.
Tried the Shrimp Tomboalaobooob (sp?), the way it's stated on the menu "super hot"
The chef came out of the kitchen to tell us the daily specials (which he was super excited about, but then realized we already ordered), but he still continued with it.
According to him, it would be the best 25 bucks spent on a special. The chef was super nice, and joking around too (Sean from the Between the Bun hot dog stand on 3rd often stops by and they have "cooking jam-style sessions). Anyways, the shrimp was super hot. Tasty, a little too spicey in that it overpowers the other flavors in the dish.
Be careful if you try this dish it may stay with you for the next 24 hours or so.
next time i''' stick to the more subtle dishes, maybe the beef cheeks or lamb chank.
my friend quite enjoyed his chicken and shrimp in banana tequila sauce.
for dessert, chocolate flan, good not exceptional
oh, and though it looks like an official dump from the outside, it is quite a treasure on the inside.
after that off to the stuffed sandwich for some beers to wash the food down.
Never too spicy!! Roberto will also add the Topolobampo sauce to the guacamole...which we did last Saturday...outstanding!!...and terrific on the tortillas with lamb shank pieces as suggested by Robert's wife!
The last of the Chiles en Nogada (sp?) were served on Saturday...no more until October (heavy sigh!)
The Crab Chile Relleno, aforementioned Lamb Shank, Conchinita Pibil and Pork Loin were excellent as always...as were the calamari and garnachas(sp?)...The highlight of the meal came for dessert...Roberto's wife told us that she made some Capirotada (mexican bread pudding) for lent and that we should try it...we did...Oh My!...I am a bread pudding lover...eating it in New Orleans as a boy, all over Europe and amassing a collection of recipes exceeding 200...this was the best I have ever eaten (and I was very full by this point!)...it was a mixture of figs, mango, sweet bread and spices...and cheese(you would never know it was there)...baked to perfection and served with homemade vanilla ice cream! Perfection!
Roberto talked to us for quite a while and he let us know that he was offering cooking classes at the restaurant...not on a regular basis, but when time permitted...I am there!!
Babita is a SoCal treasure and my standard go-to for a "guaranteed" excellent meal!
We had two flavors of flan, dulce de leche and chocolate. I am not a flan fan - sweet custards in general I find distasteful - but these things were luscious. I just barely restrained myself from licking the plate...the only thing "weak" about this dessert was that there wasn't enough of it!
I love spicy food, and usually the spicier the better, but while the Shrimp Topolobampo at Babita's last night (yup, we made the dinner) was insanely good I think it would've been better with less heat. I think maybe the other flavors in this case accentuate the spiciness somehow, and since I wouldn't want to lose those flavors perhaps reducing the heat would help. Both of our shrimp dishes, however, were for me the highlights of an excellent meal.