the wonderful world of veena.

27 June 2014

memphis eats: babalu tacos & tapas.

Babalu Tacos & Tapas, a Jackson, MS staple, just opened on Overton Square a few weeks ago, and last week I checked it out with Katie Walsh and her friend Meghan.

[part of the babalu interior]
There was about a 45-minute wait when we arrived, but we found some space at the bar on the patio and camped out to wait. Meghan ordered a cocktail, but it took a while for her to get someone's attention and place her order -- being the first week, the staff all seemed a bit overwhelmed.

We eventually got seated inside and settled down with our menus. Since Walshie had been to their soft opening, she had a few suggestions for us, particularly the Mexican street corn - off the cob, of course - and the chocolate truffles for dessert. We decided to share some queso and the vegetable of the day - fried Mississippi okra - as well. For main dishes I ordered the garlic shrimp & grits, Walshie opted for the shrimp tacos, and Meghan went with the lamb tacos.

[prepare yourself for the yummy goodness contained within these pages]
Babalu's main policy is that they will bring food as it is ready, so the Mexican street corn was the first thing to arrive, followed quickly by the shrimp tacos. Meghan and I encouraged Walshie to eat, since we had the corn to snack on, but it was still a bit weird. Mine arrived next, and Meghan's last, partly because they mixed up her order and brought lamb sliders first, so they had to change her order. Luckily the okra arrived in between, and her tacos came not long after. Unfortunately, we never received our queso and eventually had to cancel the order.

Even though we had a few snags with the ordering, the food was awesome. The fried okra was probably my favourite, followed by Walshie's shrimp tacos. My shrimp & grits were really good - especially once I added some hot sauce - and the street corn was fantastic, although I would have liked it with some chili powder mixed in there.

[shrimp + grits = yummy in my tummy]
And then there was dessert.

Walshie had been waxing poetic about these chocolate truffles, so obviously we had to order them. And they were amazing. A little rich, but that did not stop me from inhaling two of them in short order. Possibly worth the trip on their own.

[photographs cannot do these justice. go try them out for yourself]
And as an added highlight, black-and-white episodes of I Love Lucy were being projected onto one of the interior walls. I love any place that does that in general, but Lucy is one of my faves. Two thumbs up for that detail.

It seemed to me the staff were just a bit overwhelmed with the crowd - Thursday night on the Square and all that - and since it was the first week, there were obviously some snags to be worked out. But overall I really liked it, from the space to the friendliness of the staff to the delicious food. And I will definitely be back.

If you're interested:
2115 Madison Ave
Memphis, TN 38104

A great addition to Overton Square, and I can't wait to go back!

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