Critic Pete Wells praises chef Efrén Hernández’s imaginative cooking, like when he pairs a mustard beurre blanc sauce with noodles, or when a sea bream comes slathered in Catalan romesco and French pistou sauces. The European bistro from the team behind Mimi opened in July and serves a top-notch clam pasta, seemingly Wells’s favorite dish. He writes:
Mind you, virtually the only Italian thing about the tagliatelle with clams at Babs was the tagliatelle. The sauce was a mustard beurre blanc, one of those French sauces that all culinary-school students are supposed to be able to make in their sleep. Mustard beurre blanc is often found providing a decorous yellow veil over a chicken breast or salmon fillet. It is not normally poured over noodles. But, tossed with salty French ham and Manila clams smaller than a thumbprint, it made a strangely exciting bowl of pasta that was much more coherent than it sounds.
Wells notes that the menu can be pricey — a “small” lobster cost him $48 and the $36 lamb chop was served with a “cold” and “underseasoned” potato salad.
But the rest of the menu is a go, including the charcoal-grilled swordfish, chicken andouille, fried cod cheeks, crab salad, and a raw sea scallop appetizer layered with sweet potato purée and trout roe. The desserts, too, are “far more intriguing than average,” like an apple galette topped with grated Swiss-style cheese, he writes. Two stars.