La Baba

By Candace Nelson - 8:00 AM

I noticed a new sign reading "La Baba" in the plaza behind Hibachi on University Avenue, where Albasha was located. After much digging, the only information I could come up with about La Baba is its Facebook, which stated it was open for dinner and looked to be of Middle Eastern cuisine.

I trekked over with a couple friends to check it out. They have a handful of tables in the center, with a bar area along the back. It looked as though they had just opened, but I asked the girl working and she had replied they had been open for two months.

The counter had four, maybe five, serving trays and a few bowls on the counter. It all looked so temporary. It wasn't built into the restaurant. In fact, when my friends and I stepped in, they pulled a few plates out of a refrigerated area and put them on the counter. They only offer a buffet here, which is $10. You can get a drink out of the refrigerator for another $1.50 - no fountain soda.

The girl working asked us if we had been there before, and when we replied no, she took us up to the counter and told us what each of the items were. Apparently they change daily, but they didn't look like it. The "buffet" included some meat pies, spinach pies, a chicken dish, a beef dish, dolma, tabbouleh, hummus, baba ghanoush, pita from a bag, baklava, and awamat. These would all be great if they were all good, but I found very little here that I actually enjoyed.

Everything tasted as though it was old and sitting in that pan for days. The sauces were nearly coagulated. The dolma was soft and mushy. The awamat, those crisp doughnut balls in syrup, are usually a favorite because they're so sweet, were so hard I had to use some pressure to shove my fork into it. I even tried eating it - only to be surprised with that thick syrup mixed with oil. Not good.

I barely even used my buffet privileges, trying another plate, because there really wasn't anything that was that great. I took to the rice since I was starving, and I think it's difficult to mess up rice.

While the girl helping us was very sweet and attentive, I just was not pleased by the food. It was old, hard, bland and not worth my money. But they did have some other people in the restaurant, so maybe it's just not my cup of tea.

Grade: D
La Baba on Urbanspoon

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