4646 Convoy Street, Suite 103, Kearny Mesa
How does the 4646 Convoy Street mini-mall manage to contain such a staggering array of tasty foods and drinks? Crab Hut, Shabu Shabu House, Raki Raki (except for that damn ramenburger), etc. Add BABS to the list! That’s “Bao’s Awesome Burgers and Sandwiches,” for the record.
BABS stands as an example of how to do everything right as a restaurant. The entire operation is organized around a solid concept (greasy, overstuffed sandwiches), and nothing distracts from that heart-stoppingly delicious mission. The menu proudly owns the fact that every dish celebrates excess carbs, salt, and fat. Nothing attempts to disguise the indulgent dishes as anything less. In fact, the restau and its website are all decked out in kawaii (excessively adorable) style...because Hello Kitty would want you to eat a Ju(i)cy Lucy.
Own the calories. Dig into steamed buns filled with steak and cheese, a disgustingly beautiful fusion experience, and one that’s also available with BBQ pork. The bun part should be fluffier in accordance with dim sum style, but it's still a tasteful phenomenon.
Afterwards, head towards the sandwiches. Perhaps the Rachael ($7.49), laden with fatty pastrami, cole slaw, French fries, tomatoes, and provolone cheese. It oozes grease and meat juice in a way that would be unbearable as an everyday meal, but triumphs as a once-in-a-while indulgence.
Don’t like pastrami? Try roast beef, ham, or turkey. Maybe the B-B-Beast, which is basically every meat piled high on a sandwich. Or, if sandwiches seem too pedestrian, move on to the stuffed burgers ($7-$9). Each one starts life stuffed with cheese, and the toppings are piled on from there. Texas burger gets sweet barbecue sauce and onion rings. White hot burger comes loaded with chilis and spicy sauce. Pastrami burger is exactly that; stuffed burger loaded up with shaved pastrami.
Beside the fact that the overkill sandwiches are really good for at least one-and-a-half meals, maybe two, BABS totally owns this fatty-snacks dining extravaganza. Friendly, enthusiastic service ices the cake, but it’s unapologetic focus on gluttony that really seals the deal. There’s something to be said for identifying what your thing is and doing it as well as possible. Too many restaurants remain caught in permanent identity crisis. BABS knows exactly what it is, and does that to the very best of its ability. The restaurant lets diners know exactly what they’re getting into, and then delivers. That’s a rare and beautiful thing.