Location: 1823 S San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776. (626) 288-7265
Date: December 3, 2022
Cuisine: Modern Mexican
Rating: A rare find
Chef Roberto and his wife Elba run this unique gem in the San Gabriel Valley. It’s family owned, upscale, tiny, chef driven and elaborate. And it’s Mexican food! Los Angeles has no shortage of Mexican restaurants, both of the classic and modernized formats, but we don’t have a lot (if any others?) that strive for an upscale ingredient focused style.
I was last here back in 2014 — for what turned out to be a VERY LONG, but excellent, dinner. Finally we have returned!
The tiny room is wood paneled (70s style) and lined with tequila bottles.
Our huge table.
The chef announces the food.
Chips with a nice medium spicy salsa.
Tequila cured salmon with salmon caviar a la newton style on a toast with amazing guacamole.
Las sopas. A “two tone” soup with the green being a very spicy Cilantro-spicy jalapeño and the yellow a sweet guava flavor. Very interesting sweet and spicy contrast.
Chiles en Nogada. Meat stuffed poblano chiles bathed in nogada, a walnut cream sauce and garnished with pomegranate seeds and parsley. This dish was a revelation. It was medium spicy and quite sweet, the chili being stuffed with pork and various fruits like apples and candied cactus. The sauce was creamy, lightly spiced, and full of flavor. Really interesting and delicious.
Seared colossal scallop with squidink risotto (made from Mexican rice). The squid ink added a lovely salty/sweet flavor to the dish. Excellent.
Rib eye covered in mole negro sauce and topped with a lovely tamale and garnished with potatoes. The steak was perfectly cooked (medium rare) and was fully of flavor even if it was a farely tough cut. The mole sauce was sweet but full of intense depth. Really delicious. Loved the tamale too.
This was just an amazing evening and quite different. I’m not sure what I expected (of a “fancy” Mexican in the SGV) but I was certainly blown away. Babita is just a unique gem of a place. And the chiles en Nogada — one of the best Mexican dishes I’ve ever had. wow!