Mr Babbingtons BBQ and Soul Food Saloon
70 West 95th Street @ Columbus
212 678 2335
Have you ever been to a old dilapidated restaurant that you know has existed for decades and probably hasn’t changed one bit? This includes the lighting, the tables, chairs, the menu and even maybe the linens? A few months ago while running errands in the neighborhood I came across this odd restaurant on the corner of 95th and Columbus. It’s got this large green awning and on the side of the building is in bold (but worn out) letters is a plaque that reads “Mr Babbintons BBQ Restaurant and Saloon”. It’s got character I thought and it would probably make a great Plate of the day entry. So tonight I decided to check it out. Tonight was also Wednesday soul food buffet night so why not? I walked in and there was a sparse crowd around the bar and throughout the restaurant. Near the center bar was a long table of steaming buffet trays. I piled my plate high with various soul food delights including rum spice cake, collard greens, candy yams, baked chicken, mac and cheese, meatloaf, yellow rice, mashed potatoes, calamari, and BBQ ribs. I don’t know if it was just tonight but the food was so so. The meatloaf and candy yams were awesome. I loved the sauce of the meatloaf and the yams were a golden orange and were deliciously sweet. What I thought was baked chicken turned out to be turkey which was ok. What I thought was BBQ pork or beef ribs turned out to be BBQ lamb. BBQ Lamb? Never heard of that but it was a strange combination for my taste. Overall though I think this place has existed here for so long because it is a cool neighborhood establishment that many enjoy week after week. On Fridays they have live bands that sing R&B tunes, the blues and funk. Tonight they were playing all the classics on the juke box including Earth Wind and Fire and Barry White. I guess after reading Anthony BourdainÂ’s Kitchen Confidential recently I was a little wary of eating buffet on a Wednesday but after looking at the menu this place looks like it has a long list of great classic dishes such as St Louie Ribs, crab cakes, half baked chickens, Colorado Lamb steaks, Jersey Pork Chops, and 14 types of steak. I’ll have to come back and give it a second shot. Probably on a Friday with the live band you can’t lose.
Haha – I just got comment about the jar of water for the tongs. Yeah that is quite nasty . There’s chunks of mac & cheese floating in the murky dark water. Anyhow seems like Monday Steak Night is sure fire winner.