Did you know that BiBa’s in Hixson offers $10.00 off on your birthday dinner? Well, technically, it’s a “free dinner” up to $10….so let’s just say it’s $10 off.
Anyway, that’s how we ended up there. It was the birthday of one of our friends, and she decided that she preferred to go to BiBa’s rather than the, um, other Italian restaurant in Chattanooga that offers a free birthday dinner. We were invited to go along, and since a BiBa’s blog post had been planned anyway and we had a coupon, we took the offer.
We arrived at 4:45 p.m., and let me tell you, that’s the time to go! If you go on a Friday or Saturday night or Sunday after church, be prepared to wait. Weeknights aren’t so bad….but when we arrived there was only one other table with guests seated. Our server, Callen (who also happens to go to our church), quickly brought out our drinks. We arrived a few minutes before our friends, and that gave me time to talk myself out of the specials-chicken ponza (chicken with mushrooms, garlic, and artichokes served with pasta with lemon butter sauce) or spinach ravioli (with broccoli and carrots and alfredo sauce) and decide instead on my favorite menu item, tortellini Gabrielle (cheese tortellini with alfredo sauce and a touch of marinara). Philip decided on shrimp scampi. Meals at BiBa’s come with a house salad, but we each added a Caesar for $1.50 extra. Our friends decided on chicken parmesan and fettucine alfredo.
The best, and I do mean the best thing about BiBa’s is the rolls. I mean, the other stuff is good….but the rolls-wow. Housemade knots brushed with garlic butter and sprinkled with parmesan. Very delicious. And they are very forthcoming with the rolls, which is always a plus. At some restaurants you have to fight over who is going to get the last roll in the basket. Philip and I usually end up cutting it in half (bread is
our my weakness) but at BiBa’s they always bring out two for every person at the table and happily refresh your basket when you are “getting low.”
The Caesar salad at BiBa’s is also fantastic. The dressing is housemade. It’s very different from the Caesar dressing that I make at home, mainly because it is creamy, but you can definitely taste the different components that make up a good Caesar dressing…the garlic, the salty brininess from the anchovy (no, it doesn’t taste fishy) or the Worchestershire sauce (which is what I use at home-much easier to keep around). Their croutons are not soggy but not so hard that you need to get dental work after eating them. I don’t know about the parmesan that they use, and that’s my only issue. I should have asked the server but didn’t think to. Of course, you know that I am a parm snob and buy blocks of Parmigiano-Reggiano at the grocery store that I then grate over everything. The parm served here is definitely the powdery kind….but mixed into everything I can’t tell if it is the fresh powdery kind or if it’s the bulk jarred kind that I remember so well scooping into shakers when I worked at Chuck E. Cheese’s. It’s fine, though. Everything tastes really good, so I’m not too worried about it.
Another advantage of arriving at your dinner destination at 4:45 p.m. is that your food comes out very quickly. Philip and I were starving, so we pretty much Hoovered our salads, and as we set the bowls over to the edge of the table, Callen arrived with the entrees. Now, I love, love, love cheese tortellini, and I also love alfredo sauce. Marinara sauce=not my favorite, but I really love how the small amount that they use to top the tortellini Gabrielle mixes with the alfredo, which is made on the premises. It’s one of the best alfredos I’ve ever had…nice and thick and not too salty. They don’t say this on the menu, but there is also mozzarella on top of the pasta. Yum! Unfortunately, the tortellini isn’t made on site (I asked on a previous visit). I guess you can’t have everything.
Shrimp scampi is a dish that I love to make at home-shrimp sauteed in a garlic butter and white wine sauce served over linguini. Philip’s pasta was very fresh with a good balance of garlic and white wine flavor. I tried to get more out of him, but he doesn’t write this blog and I guess he’s not as much with the words about the food as I am. Ha. Anyway, he said it was extremely tasty and he would definitely order again. I didn’t want to grill our friends about their meal, but I did take pictures for you to see. By the way, the portions are huge, so you will probably take some home with you-like we did. You should know, though, that when you reheat your leftovers….you will see all the oil from the sauce. If you are like me, you will drain it off. Tasty, but not lowfat. Fine by me.
BiBa’s also serves pizza, which I have never had….but they look very good. And they are served on a lovely silver cake pedestal, so the presentation is very nice. The ambiance is very nice in the restaurant, with dark colors, nice paint and pictures, a wood bar (separated by a wall from the dining room) and bottles of wine on the table to gently “suggest” that customers buy a bottle. In my opinion, BiBa’s is much better than the national pasta chains around Chattanooga. We don’t go there often, but then we don’t go to many restaurants (Chick-fil-A aside) very often. Give BiBa’s a try!