Before closing for about a month, Babylon was a clean, BYOB restaurant that served pretty good Middle Eastern food you ordered from the counter. Open once again, Babylon is now a clean, BYOB restaurant that serves pretty good Middle Eastern food you order from a waitress.
The change to sit-down dining is an intentional effort to class up the joint, although not much else has been upgraded. While the dishes are a far cry from paper, they're not ceramic, either. The tables and chairs that fill the dimly-lit, small-but-not-cramped room fall into the same could-be-worse, could-be-better range.
The lengthy menu is also the same, and that's a good thing because you get tons of bang for your buck: The food is fresh and tasty, and you have to make a concerted effort to find something over $10. Most items are standard Middle Eastern fare, with starters like hummus, foul madamas and various brightly-flavored salads. There are pages of main courses, with most everything available as either a sandwich or on a bed of tender, aromatic rice. There are many familiar choices - falafel, shawarma, many kinds of kabobs - but there are also some less-than-usual things, like a potato chop sandwich (breaded potatoes stuffed with beef) and cornish hen. There are seafood and vegetarian dishes, too, so everyone's welcome.
The move away from counter ordering has its pros and cons. On one hand, you now have more to time to eat a relaxed dinner and linger over the alcohol you brought. On the other hand, you now have to pay a tip. If that's too much change to swallow, you can still order take-out, but it's worth mixing up your routine a bit to get a good, cheap dinner.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Alexander Hough