A bright new Ba Bar at U Village

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Ba Bar U Village.jpg

Story in this morning's Times about Red Boat fish sauce, which is made on the island of Phu Quoc. Wait, I know that name! Yes, Eric Banh's latest restaurant, Ba Bar in U Village.

It's in the space formerly occupied by Liam's at 2685 NE 46th St. (Provi Cicero's memorable description in the Seattle Times: "Liam's is the boyfriend your parents love." Alas, he moved away.) The first thing you notice about Ba Bar is its color, a brilliant but not garish turquoise that fits perfectly with the Vietnamese ambience inside. It's the color of many beachfront houses on Phu Quoc, an island resort in the gulf of Thailand.

In the airy back room, three paintings of the Hanoi's colorful Quang Ba flower market; tile floors, and (again, turquoise) cinder blocks providing a screen. The tables and benches were custom made by Chris Linsley. Banh's brother-in-law Jeffrey Woodward designed the space, which seats 130. The wicker light fixtures are Vietnamese fish traps.

It's Banh's third outpost under the Ba Bar emblem (after Capitol Hill and South Lake Union), plus the Seven Beef steak house around the corner from Ba Bar on Cap Hill, in addition to Monsoon restaurants in Cap Hill and Bellevue's Old Town. They're far from the cheapest Vietnamese places in town, but they do offer value-for-money. The U Village Ba Bar, for example, is no more expensive than its siblings. (Saves on printing costs!) "Street food and cold drink" is what Ba Bar offers; the wine list still offers half a dozen $8 glasses.

Banh used to own several sandwich shops called Baguette Box, which he sold to raise money while building out the first Ba Bar. Part of the deal was a no-compete agreement, which expires shortly. Chances are, by the time this sees print, he'll be serving pulled pork banh mi sandwiches at Ba Bar. "I tell my cooks, 'Make it tasty, or don't do it,'" says Banh. Anthony Bourdain likes Ba Bar's Bun Bo Hue; many come for the Banh Cuon (weekends on Cap Hill, weekdays at U-Village) and the Pâté Chaud, I'm not a huge fan of the ramen pho, but I do salivate over the oxtail pho, which lets me pretend I'm a caveman sucking juicy morsels of meat from the bones.

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This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on August 29, 2017 9:30 AM.

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