There's bread service, and then there's potato chip service. I'll take the latter any day.
Babas on Cannon, described as "an old world cafe serving espresso and apero," officially opened their doors last night at 11 Cannon St.
Mary Scott Hardaway
Mushroom conserva, Tiller Baking Co. baguette
I stopped by the small space around 7:30 p.m., ordering a glass of Garnacha at the counter before settling into the very farthest corner of the restaurant (my post Pilates sweat did not mesh with the well-dressed and jaunty clientele on hand, but no one seemed to mind).
Couples sat at the counter by the window facing the street and at the counter by the bar, and groups of revelers stood and sipped as their friends trickled in through the front door.
I started with the complimentary green olives and potato chips (please, every small plates/tapas eatery from now until the apocalypse, bring this to the table) and perused the menu, divided into "aperitivo case" and "a la minute," all under the umbrella of "snacks."
The friendly server/chef/bartender who stopped by my table (as Eater reported
last week, Babas is keeping their staff small and tight) asked if I needed anything and, not sure if I was supposed to go back to the counter to order my food, I sputtered my choices to him, "mushroom conserva and pickled shrimp please!"
It's opening night, mind you, so he wasn't sure what the protocol was yet either. In any case, he nodded politely and within minutes my shrimp landed in front of me, pink and juicy, accompanied by two thin, crisp baguette slices. Soon after the bowl of marinated mushrooms arrived along with a wrapped Tiller Baking Co. half-baguette.
If you love tasting a little bit of everything, run to Babas. I was pleasantly full after the chips, olives, 'shrooms, and shrimp, and felt pretty Euro as I nibbled my baguette.
Modeled after the petite and storied cafes of Europe, they say, Babas is run by a trio of pros, all of whom were on hand for opening night.
Marie Stitt of Grassroots Wine checked in as co-owner Edward Crouse manned the counter. Lane Becker, formerly behind the bar at the Ordinary, presented a freshly opened Granitos del Cadalsco with a crystal carafe filled with batch Manhattans in tow. Wine and cocktails poured table side? Now that's service.
Babas is open Tues.-Sat. from 5-10 p.m., and Crouse says they plan to open in the mornings with coffee service and house-made pastries starting in November.