Babirusa Debuts with Small Plates and a Big Burger

By Leslie Kelly  |  May 15, 2014
Credit: Leslie Kelly

Babirusa opened this week, the handsome companion to the big, bold Blind Pig Bistro next door. The new place is more like a tiny tapas bar, with a half a dozen tables and an 8-foot-long bar where each of the wooden barstools has a view into Charles Walpole's compact kitchen. The chalkboard above the kitchen spells out the evening's offerings, which can change daily, though the burger and the fish-and-chips will be the large plate mainstays. Here are few of the dishes that shine right out of the gate. 2236 Eastlake Ave E; 206-329-2744

  • Credit: Leslie Kelly

    Chorizo-stuffed dates

    This twist on the classic Devils on Horseback swaps out the traditional bacon with spicy sausage, stuffed into a pitted date. Sweet, salty with a bit of heat, these delicious demons are too big to pop into your mouth in one bite. Cut them in half and drag your date through the robust romesco sauce.

  • Credit: Leslie Kelly

    Patatas Brava

    Chunks of potatoes, deep-fried but not super crispy, these fluffy bites arrive at the table with a warning from the bubbly server: They're HOT! It's torture to wait, but worth it to not to burn your tongue. The aioli was plenty garlicky and a fine accompaniment.

  • Credit: Leslie Kelly

    Oyster and kimchi pancake

    This massively flavorful flapjack has a more cake-like consistency than the standard Korean-style pancakes made with mung beans. The flavors of oyster and kimchi are mellowed by the batter, griddled until golden and laid on a black garlic aioli. 

  • Credit: Leslie Kelly

    Asparagus salad

    Grilled, slightly blackened stalks are tossed with an anchovy vinaigrette and tender, blanched ramps. Toasted breadcrumbs add crunch. A good-looking plate that hits the mark for anyone craving this spring veggie.

  • Credit: Leslie Kelly

    The House Burger

    This fat Painted Hills ground beef patty is seared on the flat-top to medium-rare. It's dressed up with a verde sauce on the bottom bun, smoky eggplant spread up top and caramelized onions in between. It's juicy enough but not a hot mess.