Boom or bust
Recently opened Badabing’s in midtown boasts one of the smallest kitchens in town. There are food trucks with more space. Seating is al fresco, and the chalkboard menu consists of burgers, sandwiches, sausages, chicken wings and deep fried appetizers. On a recent visit with friends, the service was quick. They cranked out six orders for us in less than 20 minutes—not bad for a two-person operation.
The sausage selection includes hot dogs served a few different ways, and hot links, linguica or kielbasa, split in half and grilled with jalapeño and onion, and served on a long sandwich roll. My friend opted for the hot link ($8.95). It was spicy but not overwhelming, with good flavor and a nice snap from the natural casing. The roll was a nice departure from an average hot dog bun.
The burgers and chicken sandwiches featured large sesame-seeded buns stuffed full of meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion. A grilled pesto provolone chicken sandwich included a sizeable chicken breast seasoned with rosemary and topped with melted provolone and pesto sauce. The chicken was still fairly moist, and the sandwich got deliciously sloppy.
Unfortunately, things got a lot drier from there. A double cheese burger with cheddar ($11.95) and a pastrami Swiss burger ($9.95) were both overcooked to the point of being black on the outside and gray on the inside—think “drunk uncle left alone at the grill during the family cookout” overcooked. This was particularly disappointing because the meat was actually nicely seasoned, and the patties were definitely hand-fashioned. The pastrami Swiss burger fared a bit better—aided by plenty of grilled, thick-cut lean pastrami.
Next, we shared an enormous order of chili cheese fries ($4.50). It was easily a pound of fries slathered in chili (with beans) and topped with diced onion and melted cheddar. The chili itself was pretty tame, and—if I had to guess—I’d say it came from a can. It was perfectly fine, just not terribly memorable. I suppose serving a mild chili makes sense for tender palates, but I wish I’d asked to have some sliced jalapeño join the party.
To top things off, we decided to try a few flavors of wings, Buffalo hot and “stingin’ honey garlic” ($7.95 per eight-piece order). At first glance, they looked pretty good, but I found them to be just a tad overcooked. This usually happens in the quest for a crispy skin—and, having myself fried plenty of wings, I can attest to the tricky balance required to achieve a crispy wing that’s not dry.
Though the flavor and texture of the hot wings were acceptable, I wouldn’t have called them Buffalo style. At its core, Buffalo sauce should have a pretty good cayenne pepper kick, but the main sense I was getting was an oddly smoky quality without much heat. Similarly, I couldn’t detect any garlic or “sting” with the other wings. They were just sticky sweet—not something I’d want again.
The menu lists cheesesteaks—the actual item that drew me to the place—but they’d apparently run into a problem with their distributor and didn’t know when they’d have it back on the menu. Based on the rest of our experience, I don’t know whether I’ll be back to find out.