I hope you are enjoying my blog. I’ve heard it said Knoxville has more restaurants per person than anywhere else in the United States. It seems every time I turn around a new restaurant has popped up somewhere in Knoxville. I will be the first to admit this isn’t particularly good for my waistline, but it’s wonderful for my taste buds!
On Friday night I found myself at a new restaurant. Just about everybody, no matter the age, remembers “I Love Lucy” and her Cuban husband, Desi Aranz, was famous for his rendition of “Babaloo.” That thought flitted through my head when I was downtown and went to Babalu’s Tapas and Tacos, located at 412 S Gay Street. Visit the website for Babalu’s and you will find not only the daily specials, but the patio weather. Babalu’s website also gives the reader the background of the Latin-inspired cuisine. The atmosphere is fun and loud and business was booming when I arrived around 8:15 and had a thirty-minute wait. I was able to wait at the bar and I observed a wide variety of people enjoying the food. There were families, sorority girls and some friends celebrating a birthday, as well as older folks, all of whom seemed to be having a good time. The seating is on a patio and there were both tall and low tables, with folks seated close together.
Before ordering food, we enjoyed a cocktail and I had Babalu’s signature pineapple Margarita, which was good and, wow, strong. For an appetizer we had the guacamole and fresh chips, which are made hourly. The guacamole was made right at the table! The chips were delicious and made more like a pita chip with no salt and went perfectly with the guacamole. One of the attractions of Babalu’s is knowing everything is made to order and fresh. Ordering a burger means it will likely come out more quickly than, say, shrimp and grits. Keep that in mind because if you wait on everyone at your table to be served, your food may get cold. The hamburger was thick, juicy and had a nice kick to it. The shrimp and grits are probably the best I’ve had this side of Savannah, y’all, so definitely get yourself some of that!
Now the portions are generous and there’s some notion they are big enough to share and maybe I’m a chunky monkey, but I say every man for himself, get your own entrée. Prices are reasonable at $9 – $15 per entrée and surely worth every penny.
Probably not the place to go with a family gathering on a Friday night or if you intend to have a serious conversation, but I’ll definitely be back!