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Baba's Mediterranean Kitchen on Fort Ave. in Baltimore

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kejaja Oct 5, 2008 01:33 PM

I made another unsuccessful attempt to eat at this new restaurant up the street, Baba's Kitchen. The problem is they have rather odd hours and I keep arriving just after they've closed.

My husband and I almost never have dinner before 8:30pm so it looks like the only nights we might be able to eat there are Tuesday-Friday when they are opened until 10pm. They close at 8pm on Saturdays (what?) and 3pm on Sundays (huh?). Their menu looks great -- if anyone has actually managed to try their food I'd be really interesting to hear what it was like. They are also closed Mondays, so tomorrow is a no-go as well. Darn.

They have a nice little website: http://www.babaskitchen.net/menu.php

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  1. JonParker RE: kejaja Oct 5, 2008 01:55 PM

    Well I guess I missed it today. I've been wondering about this place too -- I pass by it on my way to the Shopper's Food Warehouse once or twice a week.

    I'll try to make it this week. If y'all make it before I do, post about it. I'm really curious.

    1. f
      flmx RE: kejaja Oct 6, 2008 10:53 AM

      Eager to try Fairid's new joint.....stymied by the hours as well. Seems very odd that this hot shop (no table service, limited seating) would not be open for lunch during the week. I don't see it as a dinner destination at all....that said, I wish Baba's well and look forward to eating heaps of fava beans with lebne and zaatar very soon!

      1. 1000yregg RE: kejaja Oct 10, 2008 01:44 PM

        I live a block from Baba's- it was just okay. . .
        Had the falafel in a pita- the falafel was bland and not that hot. I had to add my own hot sauce at home. I have had better falafel from food trucks in Philly. They should just fry these made to order instead of using ones sitting in the cooling basket above the fryer.
        Also had the quinoa tabouleh salad- again- just ok.
        Decor is nice, food could be better for the price.

        10 Replies
        1. re: 1000yregg
          JonParker RE: 1000yregg Oct 12, 2008 03:27 PM

          Agreed. I got a chicken pita last night. It wasn't much to talk about -- not bad but not really good either. Also, everything is prepared ahead of time and just sits there waiting on someone to order it. Capsule review: I was hungry, I ate it.

          Decidedly unimpressed. This area could use a good place like Kabob Hut in Towson (although I'd heard a downhill alert on that as well).

          1. re: JonParker
            l
            LGood RE: JonParker Dec 11, 2008 07:36 AM

            I'm interested to know what you had that is prepared ahead of time and just sits. I've been there at least a dozen times and there isn't any room to store food that has been pre-prepared. I think it is a huge disservice to the readers of this site to make such a sweeping generalization. Yes, maybe the falafel is cooked ahead of time or the hummus is made ahead of time (I hope so), but to say the chicken is prepared and just sits. Please.
            Hours are posted on the website and are a bit more reasonable. If you haven't been, check it out and say hi to Farid, he remembered my name after the first visit. Something you don't find very often in this day and age.
            Also, BYOB with no corkage fee.

            1. re: LGood
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              lawhound RE: LGood Dec 11, 2008 07:42 AM

              We have eaten there once and the issue is not so much food being prep'd ahead of time, as it is the fact that it is of middling quality and there is no particular zing to it. The falafel in particular was disappointing -- and yes, it did appear to have been cooked ahead of time, which could only happen on this side of the Atlantic!

              Having said that, they are nice folks, it is a pretty (and pretty small) place, and they mean well. But the food, sadly, is just not terrific.

              1. re: lawhound
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                LGood RE: lawhound Dec 11, 2008 08:04 AM

                Are there others that you would recommend? I'm not very familiar with many in this particular area and would love to have other options.

              2. re: LGood
                JonParker RE: LGood Dec 11, 2008 10:17 AM

                The chicken was pre-cooked and pulled out of a steam table. It took five minutes to get my order, so they hardly had enough time to prepare it on the spot.

                I'm with lawhound. It's just not great. It's a shame, as there's not many places for that kind of food in south Baltimore. I would have loved to have seen them fill that void, but I probably won't be back.

                1. re: JonParker
                  l
                  LGood RE: JonParker Dec 11, 2008 11:46 AM

                  Again, any suggestions for med. food in the area? I'd love to do some exploring.

                  1. re: LGood
                    JonParker RE: LGood Dec 11, 2008 12:30 PM

                    Not in this area or at that price range, hence my disappointment. I was really excited when they opened and was genuinely sad that it wasn't better.

                    There's Lebanese Taverna in Harbor East that people say good things about, and I always enjoyed Kabob Hut in Towson -- they grill the kabobs to order and the pita is baked in a tandoor by the front counter (not always to order, unfortunately, but if you can get it just out of the oven it's heavenly).

                    I'd be interested if anyone else knows something good in the city.

                    1. re: JonParker
                      l
                      lawhound RE: JonParker Dec 11, 2008 01:20 PM

                      There is Cazbar on North Charles Street (Turkish, but the cuisine is similar) -- somewhat less expensive than Lebanese Taverna. There is also, remarkably, a small place near Baba's Kitchen, on Key Highway, just as it turns south and immediately before it intersects Fort Avenue -- shortly after the Museum of Industry. The exterior signage says chicken wings, but the owner is from Syria (I think) and has some excellent hummus, baba ghanouj, etc. And then there is Al Pacino in its many varieties and locations.

                      1. re: lawhound
                        l
                        LGood RE: lawhound Jan 13, 2009 09:25 PM

                        If you are talking about the place on Lawrence Street that shares a building with a snowball stand (behind Royal Farms), it is closed and the building is up for rent.

                      2. re: JonParker
                        l
                        LGood RE: JonParker Dec 11, 2008 01:41 PM

                        Been to Lebanese Taverna a few times, tend to get a bunch of small plates and share with whomever I'm with.Love their Lamb Tartare (never had it before), but the only major knock I can give is that it's amazingly loud in the dining room. The bar is actually a quieter place to have dinner.

                        Thanks for the heads up about Kabob Hut, don't get to Towson much but will make a trip to check it out.

            2. f
              Faridatbabas RE: kejaja Oct 12, 2008 07:08 PM

              Babas is opening this week for lunchtime

              3 Replies
              1. re: Faridatbabas
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                flmx RE: Faridatbabas Oct 13, 2008 10:23 AM

                Had lunch at Baba's this saturday...it was terrific. Everything arrived perfectly fresh and decidedly homemade. Best dolmas I have eaten in ages- very soft and full flavored. Coffee is superb-arabic style with a good dose of cardamom. The fava beans stewed with garlic were astounding. Interior is well designed and cozy. I say bravo Farid & Co. I will return often!

                1. re: flmx
                  b
                  brats_n_curds RE: flmx Jan 12, 2009 06:20 PM

                  My wife and I at at Baba's last week and thought it was excellent. They had a lamb kabob special that was really good, and the hummus and falafals were excellent. Also, make sure you try the coffee (baba's blend)--it's got a unique, bold flavor. After our great experience, I was really suprised to see the bad reviews here. I think they've been misjudged on this board.

                  1. re: brats_n_curds
                    j
                    jfish RE: brats_n_curds Jan 13, 2009 03:54 AM

                    I would agree with curds that Baba's has been misjudged here. After several lunchs I would describe Baba's as good to very good. Not great, but I am not sure great Middle Eastern is available in Baltimore. Lebanese Taverna comes close but is expensive. I think that unique flavor in the coffee is cardimon; which I am not fond of.

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