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Babita Overrated

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My cousin and I have been trying to get a night together to get out to Babita for the last six months or so, and finally went. We went with high expectations.

We had the magic chile. It was very good.

Dinner did not blow my mind. The beef cheeks were lousey. The chef was a little cocksure. It was annoying.

I won't be back.

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    1. re: sel

      Probably the chiles en nogada.

      Well, it will make it that much easier for the rest of us if the OP isn't headed back. His/her loss.

    2. Agreed: Babita is overrated. Had the habanero shrimp dish, it was supposed to be special? Service was bad and exceedingly slow for such a tiny place. Chef seemed to have focused all his attention at one or two tables.

      6 Replies
      1. re: slacker

        Yes, service is s-l-o-w. Sometimes achingly so, but you have to realize this really is a "mom and pop" type of place where basically everything that you order is started and made from scratch ... sort of in the same vein as Bistro K when Laurent was running the joint.

        Now, you want to talk slow? Bistro K with Laurent sometimes could make a monk impatient.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          That I can almost accept. But service was also bad in that it was very inattentive, careless; the attitude seemed to be: you'll get what you want when I'm ready. The chef came out and only paid attention to one table, or maybe another table too, but lots of attention showered on that table, and so they had a jolly good time, and the rest of us were left mostly unattended to. Also, it shouldn't take soooo loooong to get some wine. They just have to pop a bottle for that. In fact it took forever to get anything to drink at all, including the water.

          The shrimp just tasted like shrimp with some habanero on it. But a friend of mine raved about their chiles en nogada and the flan I think. So I may have to go back and try to close my mind to everything except what's on my plate.

          1. re: slacker

            We went several weeks ago and the food really was delicious. We had the Chiles En Nogada and while it was a bit different than the dish we were expecting it was still very pleasing. The gaucamole and salsa were both average to below average. Now the chef...a very pleasant and attentive man to be sure but I found him to be almost a bit suffocating. I wished he had lavished more of his attentions on the other diners

            1. re: CinnamonKitten

              I think he cooks good food, but seems to be in it for the attention rather than being committed to serious cooking. When we were there on a group gathering, I went to the restroom between courses and saw him in the kitchen doing the kind of prep he should have done before we even walked in the door...and let's not even talk about the amount of time he spent out in the dining room pontificating. What he had to say was interesting, if sometimes repetitious, but half an hour between courses that take ten minutes to eat is just ridiculous. If the food (and company) hadn't been so good I'd have been tempted to say The hell with it and leave.

              1. re: Will Owen

                I went with GF a few weeks ago and the food was wonderful, service was good, relaxed pace but not slow. The chef/owner jabbered with a group of 4 middle aged women a lot which was fine with me, I was there to enjoy a fine Mexican meal with GF, not to be a Chef Groupie!

                My only gripe, as I've posted before, is that his prices are a bit too high, at least for me. There is comparable quality Mexican chow in California (but not in the SGV) that is easier on the wallet!

                1. re: sel

                  I'll admit that our one visit was with a large group, not during regular business hours, and with just the chef single-handedly preparing a prix fixe menu. So it may be that the problems we encountered are not chronic - we just haven't had the interest (or the money!) to do a replay under more normal circumstances.

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