|Robert... so hipster.. on our way to Ba Bar|
|love the stamp seal on the napkins - adds an extra personal touch|
Upon arrival, I noticed three things: (1) The cute older man at the front of the restaurant making homemade banh cuon just like how my grandma used to make them at home. Also, he was using a wooden steamer similar to those that I had seen in Saigon when I visited five years ago. (2) I could smell a strong aroma of pho at the door (obvi, a good sign) (3) the hipster-chic vibe and ambience of the restaurant - loved the wood decor.
|soo many choices.. how were we supposed to decide?|
I wanted to eat everything on the menu. the end.
Ba Bar is officially my new favorite Seattle pho place!
typical... Robert's on his phone tweeting.. same as me, and then he instagram's me...
So what did we order? Well, I couldn't resist the banh cuon... I mean they were made fresh to order. My tummy said "must eat." So we ordered a plate of Bánh Cuốn for our appetizer (delicately wrapped steamed rice batter filled with Carlton Farms ground pork, wood ear mushrooms and minced shallots; fried onions sprinkled on top; served with cha lau thinly sliced Vietnamese sausage, bean sprouts, basil, cucumber and nuoc mam fish sauce). Our waitress informed us that these were a weekend special, since the older man out front (Mr. Chau - Bánh cuốn Master) only visits on Saturdays and Sundays to make them. What a treat for us first-timers!!
|banh cuon, $9 per plate - 4 rolls|
On the website, Ba Bar says "life's too short for five dollar pho." They pride themselves for serving fresh oxtail, eye of round and brisket from Painted Hills Farm. "Sure it costs twice as much, but it tastes five times as good." Yes, the broth and the quality of the pho is healthy, good-for-you and does not leave your mouth dry and starchy like other pho restaurants that use MSG in their cooking. It's worth the extra buck or two.. you're definitely getting more bang for what you pay here.
Also, I totes chatted with him in Vietnamese to show my deep appreciation for the awesomeness that he was serving. His laugh, our small exchange of words in our native tongue and the true authentic meal I shared with one of my best friends -- made. my. whole. day.
Oh and almost forgot, one of the best highlights of this meal was the round of Ricky Rickys from Ricky, himself -- thanks for the drinkies!! (Ricky Rickys, $10 - Cachaca lime, coconut juice and ginger beer)
For dessert, there was an array of traditional Vietnamese specialities, French-fusion inspired dishes and of course simple palette-cleansers. The coconut flan piqued my interest, but unfortunately, I was too stuffed. That will be on my to-do list for next time. Robert settled on a salted caramel macarone. I stole a bite, and it was absolutely delicious. A slight crunch on the outside and a chewy center - just the way they're supposed to be.
|Look at how yummy it is! Oh and it's a big bowl, too. Just an FYI - this is one large serving of pho.|
Phở Tai Oxtail, $12 - add mushrooms, beef ball or tendon for $2
|I can't tell whether he was mad or happy that I took this picture.. but what I do know is that he really enjoyed his pho.|
Best part of the night? Meeting this guy right here... He is awesome, reminds me of my grandpa and is just so sweet. Didn't even mind getting his picture taken and posed for an "in action" snapshot.
|Look at Mr. Chau go.. making awesome banh cuon.|
|There he is holding the delicate steamed rice wrapper!|
Cảm ơn thanks Ba Bar for a great evening - I'll be visiting again, very soon.