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Clarendon’s Baba Breaks Into the Pasta Game With First Big Menu Change

The underground darling is now serving less veggies and more meats and carbs

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Dry-aged beef bolognese with sautéed mushrooms, garganelli pasta, and chipotle breadcrumbs.
Miroslav Pavlovic/Baba
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

It’s been nearly two years since Balkan-inspired Ambar unveiled its swanky 56-seat subterranean lounge in Clarendon. While Baba still resembles a hip grandma’s house, its new lineup of dinner dishes now aim to make sure guests are full — much like grandma would.

The chic blacklight-lit eatery (2901 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va.) appeases carnivorous eaters out of the gate via starters like bacon-wrapped prunes on a stick spearing a stone, beef and chicken skewers, and steak tartare mixed with pine nuts and kajmak — a traditional Balkan cream. Kajmak also makes its way into forest mushrooms alongside crispy polenta with truffles, as well as the veal schnitzel.

Baba’s expanded meats section includes a 6-oz. filet with a foie gras croquette, parmesan puree, and roast pepper. And instead of sliders, there’s now a whole signature burger with smoked gouda, beef prosciutto, and jalapeno arriving on a dainty white doily.

Five-hour lamb with mashed potatoes and pomegranate vinaigrette.
Miroslav Pavlovic/Baba
Baba’s debut pasta section features a barley risotto with garden vegetables parmesan and mascarpone (pictured) and a bowl of seafood linguini with shrimp, mussels, catfish, and white wine.
Miroslav Pavlovic/Baba

Here’s a look at the rebooted dinner menu:

Basic-diner new[1] (1) by on Scribd

Baba also wants to fill up more drinkers via a new “cocktails with benefits” section, complete with side garnishes like a pineapple dessert and spoon of caviar ($14-$22).

Baba’s Cinema Manhattan comes with popcorn — just in time for Oscars season.
Ardent Vibe/Baba

The changes come during a huge expansion year for prolific Serbian restaurateur Ivan Iricanin. His Mexican-inspired Tacos, Tortas and Tequila (TTT) and Buena Vida eateries debuted in Silver Spring last spring, and he’s busy replicating the restaurant pair across the street in Clarendon inside the towering space formerly occupied by La Tosca. The three-story project has hit some construction delays, and a phased opening is now expected to kick off in early March.

Baba’s recent menu overhaul retains a handful of best sellers from before, including nori-bacon crust scallops (now with cauliflower puree); smoked gouda-filled prosciutto croquettes; and beet-salmon tartare featuring quinoa pine nuts atop compressed rye bread.

Cauliflower with eggplant yogurt spread, pomegranate molasses, and fresh herbs stayed put on the menu at Baba.
Miroslav Pavlovic/Baba


2901 Wilson Boulevard, , VA 22201 (703) 312-7978 Visit Website