Restaurant Review: Baba’s
Those who miss the eclectic High Street scene on campus (pre-redevelopment era) will find solace on Summit around Hudson. Wild Goose and Used Kids act as beacons for cultural explorers. Now you can score edible provisions to support your adventures in the neighborhood at Baba’s. Well-known as a food truck operation, Baba’s has carved out a utilitarian space that’s mostly kitchen with a little community table up front for coffee drinkers and eaters.
The menu is streamlined, but diverse enough to hit every food group. And it strikes the right mix of approachable and artisan. The foundation right now is built on a breakfast menu, which is itself built on the house griddle muffin. The muffin is altogether pleasant and not like any sort of conventional muffin. It’s not a dry, porous English muffin. It’s not a sweet, cakey bran muffin. It’s a dewy soft, dusk-colored muffin, griddled with a host of filing options.
The first-tried veggie version ($8) is a winner. Long, spaghetti strands of carrots and zucchini are grilled to generate briny, loopy strands that spill out the sides of a muffin with an egg and mild cheese. The egg’s a perfect round, with a pierced yolk evenly distributed in a ribbon between the tender white layers.
There are more traditional combos, to be sure. Case in point, a sausage muffin ($8) with a lean, flavorful round replacing the loops of vegetables. Also tried was pork muffin ($8). The pork comes off like a cousin to a lean-lean cut of bacon, with that familiar flavor. Both meat options come with the egg and cheese too.
For lunch, there is a changing range of special options. The grilled cheese and soup combo ($8) seems like a good candidate for a potential menu fixture. Like the morning muffins, the grilled cheese is built on the now-familiar house muffins teamed with Havarti. It’s at its best as a dunker for the warm, glowing-orange soup of the day: a wintery, creamy butternut squash offering. It’s soothing and garnished with just a few chopped bits of carrots and zucchini.
A few sweets are also constants. There are chocolate chip cookies and snicker doodles, both are fine representatives of their type. In the case of the chocolate chip cookie ($2), it’s large, with a barely-there shell that breaks into a soft, bendy cookie. Significantly, it’s well-populated with chocolate chips. The snicker doodle ($2) hits that old-fashioned sweet spot, with just enough cinnamon to keep it interesting.
Speaking of cinnamon, there are also giant cinnamon rolls. They seem to be built on that same luscious, soft bready dough that you find in the house muffins. This time though, the dough is rolled tightly around a swirl of cinnamon and glazed with sweet icing that glistens on top.
Bargain hunters can note that day-old cookies and rolls are sale-priced in a bin at the front. Although untried, it’s hard to imagine that a day-old chocolate chip cookie could be a bad thing… especially teamed with Thunderkiss coffee or tea.
You can find Baba’s permanent digs at 2515 Summit St. It’s closed Mondays, but open the rest of the week from early morning until 2 p.m.
For more information, visit www.babascolumbus.com.
All photos by Walker Evans.