Babalu opened Monday, so I was expecting a crowd, and indeed there was one. But, the space, part of what was once TGI Friday's in Overton Square, is roomy, and we got a booth fairly quickly.
This is the second location of the taco and tapas-focused Babalu. The original is in Jackson, Mississippi. According to the restaurant's website, a third will open in Birmingham.
Babalu is known for its guacamole made table-side ($9.95).
It's a pretty straightforward — avocado, sun-dried tomatos, red and green onions, salt, cilantro, and lime juice. For an extra $1, you can get jalapenos or bacon, for $2, you can get fresh sliced vegetables.
Dishes come out as they're ready, so the first up was the grilled Caesar salad ($6.25) and the last out several minutes later was the Baba Burger ($10.95).
About that burger ... it's a beauty and it elicited sighs from those who tried it. The menu's description: "Aspen Ridge Natural Angus Beef, roasted roma tomatoes, caramelized onions, white cheddar cheese, avocado, applewood smoke bacon, chipotle aioli, sweet sourdough bun."
Another favorite was the Mississippi Delta Tamales ($8.95).
I ordered the Vegetal tacos ($7.50)
These come with summer squash, mushrooms, sliced radish, corn, red onions, chipotle, arugula, goat cheese crema served on blue corn masa tortillas made in-house. The flavors were primarily earthy (the mushrooms, squash, and tortillas) with a bit of punch from the cheese. The tacos are small and meant for sharing.