A meal at Ba Bar can mean a bowl of pho and a beer, or a completely different beast, dumplings for an appetizer, a cold, tart cocktail and chocolate pudding to go with your main course. The dining room isn't fancy but it isn't casual either with its clean, modern look, large windows covering the front and a wall of cocktails covering the back. They set votives on each table as the light fades away.
The menu is interesting, with great Vietnamese options and some alternative options, like steak frites and vanilla pot de creme (so creamy and smooth), along with three or four daily specials.
On a recent visit we ordered pho and a Moscow Mule, a drink made of ginger beer, lime and vodka, served over ice. They bring it out to our table and my husband points out the copper cup it was served in. I raise my eyebrows. He proceeds to tell me that Moscow Mules are traditionally served in a copper cup. And that there is no specific reason for it, it was simply decided by the inventors of the drink that it should be served in a copper cup. So Ba Bar hired bartenders who knew this and purchased the proper stemware. Details like this are what make a restaurant great.
The Pho has a mild broth with delicious meat from a local, sustainable source. It is served with two dishes of sauce to make it more tangy, should you want it so, along with the usual suspects of basil, bean sprouts, jalapenos and lime wedges. It is a very generous bowl.
The combo Vermicelli Bowl (pictured above) is equally enticing. A large bowl filled to the top, a multitude of beautiful colors, loaded with noodles, a crispy imperial roll, grilled white prawn, beef bò mỡ chài, cucumber and rau thơm. They each offer different textures, the roll fried, the beef bò mỡ chài, a tasty, fatty beef meatball and the prawn grilled. They add contrast to the cold noodles and sauce poured over the top and all the different components make each bite delicious and interesting in its own way .
The combo Vermicelli bowl is my favorite dish in recent memory and besides already enjoying it and the Pho, I want to try almost everything else on the menu. The Spicy Berkshire Pork Belly and that enticing sounding Steak Frites, served with Washington grass-fed New York Steak. It is extremely unusual to be able to get food this good at one o'clock in the morning but you can at Ba Bar, they are open until 2 am during the week and 4 am on Fridays and Saturdays. Late night dining is a definite void in Seattle and having it filled by Eric Banh, one of Seattle's most innovative restaurant owners, is amazing.