Monday, November 15, 2004

Getting Sauced - Babylon Eatery

Babylon Kitchen appeared yesterday at the right time, when Mom and Dad were hungry and tired after a trip to Costco (kidz quenched by that amazing rubber pizza that tastes not bad did not share the need to eat). And Babylon might not be the place I would go to in search of Arabian food, but I cannot say I did not enjoy my food last night, especially the sauces. Babylon reminds me of a place in New York City, where you run across good and inexpensive ethnic eateries outside of ethnic enclaves, with good enough food. Like NYC, inexpensive is relative.

The chowhounditas, while sated on pizza have a need to consume, experience. They dickered over what to share, finally agreeing on the falafel sandwich. Now, $4 for a falafel sammy is not that expensive, but not the dirt cheap falafel found in other parts of the city. Still, the falafel, shaped like tiny Bedouin tents, gets thrown in the fryer after we ordered them. As it has been said 1,000 times before, a fresh falafel is a fine falafel. I do not think the thin pita used was a concession to low carb mania, but I liked it that way. The Condiment Queen got the vegetarian combo. I tried the baba ganoush and the grape leaves and liked both. The grape leaves had that tight-dense structure that requires recent handiwork, and the baba had that nice smoky flavor from too long on the grill. I did not try the hummus, but Sophia lapped it up (Forcing Ms. VI into my plate of mixed shwarma).

I liked the shwarma least. If the falafel benefited greatly by getting ready for us, the shwarma suffered awfully from not being ready for us. I should have know better because the two spits of shwarma, meat and chicken really looked spent, yet we all have our benchmarks. They fry the shwarma in a pan to get it ready to eat. It did not get slimy or otherwise yucky as some re-heated shwarma gets. I actually was fine with the dry, shall we say arid (crisp?) texture, but the shwarma also lacked much in the way of flavors. Luckily, Babylon supplied a real good hot sauce. With a bit of investigating, I learned that Babylon's Mexican cook put together the hot sauce. He said it included chile de arbol, but I really think it included that canned chipoltle chiles in adobado, it had that smoky flavor. Another good sauce, that also seemed borrowed, was a green sauce served on some fried potatoes. The sauce had the same look, although not quite the same kick as the green sauce served at the Peruvian restaurant around the corner from Babylon.

Like I say, Babylon does not come close to the hospitality of Steve's Shish Kebab House or Salaam. At the last second, I threw an order of torshi, pickles, into the order, again to try. Again, the pickles were good enough but darn too few for the price. If I was in the area, say coming home from Costco again, I would probably return to Babylon for the food though.

Babylon Eatery
2023 N. Damen Ave