Monday, June 27, 2011

Bastille Cafe & Bar, Ballard, Seattle

Bastille Cafe and Bar

Bastille Cafe and Bar has been on the Snob radar for several years now.  Unfortunately, the two attempted visits were unsuccessful due to the throngs of people crowding the doorsteps.  This snob and her spouse simply do not tolerate overly-populated restaurants.  There are way too many amazing hole-in-the-wall eateries to justify waiting for what will most likely be an over-crowded experience.  No restaurant does well when busy, so we decided just to wait a few years.  In addition to the crowd-aversion, several of our friends had  less than stellar experiences we put it on the back burner.

I am happy to report that it was WELL WORTH THE WAIT.

The years could have worked against Bastille.  The build-up and expectation is one of the worst things for any artistic endeavor and restaurants are no exception.

It happened just as any good restaurant experience should - with no hype and in total spontaneity.  It was a random Monday night when I picked up my husband from his work in Fremont.  I suggested we go to dinner and a movie nearby and when the 30-min "where do you want to go" black-hole question threatened to suck us in, I promptly suggested Bastille, even though I have a strong "no-Monday" opinion about eating out (if the establishment is open at all, the wait staff is usually secondary because all the primary staff is recovering from the weekend).  I had my doubts.

I'll just say it.  There's no way around it.
Bastille has the best hamburger I've tasted in Seattle.

 I went to a great french bistro with so many distinctly french options on the menu (confession: I wasn't expecting the cuisine to be so authentic) and I ordered the hamburger. 

 Least you begin to judge, the hamburger is actually quite the french delicacy (Bifteck Hache a la Lyonnaise -ground beef with onion and herbs) AND the bartender recommended it over the french onion soup and the croque madame.  He wasn't kidding. It was the perfect size, small but not pretentiously-small, cooked to perfection, drizzled with harissa aioli, topped with the brightest arugula, and smothered in pickled onions.  I am getting all emotional just thinking about it.

My husband performed his whiskey test with the bartender which is to say he told him several ingredients he likes in cocktails (almost always rye whiskey and some sort of digestive/vermouth), and told the keep to surprise him.  Oh, fellow drinkers, this can go so terribly wrong. To our delight, it didn't.  Joel ordered the house-made rabbit pâté, which came with violet mustard and pickled young fennel. and swooned over it the entire time. 

Overall we were excited about how impressed we were.  
There is simply nothing worse than spending money on a less-than-fabulous meal out.
(Which reminds me.  Don't eat in Port Angeles, Wa. Ever.)

Bottom Line
"Off with their heads!" but let them eat cake at Bastille first.

le secret snob

Previously Stated Snobbery