Ba is a Great Place to Share an Evening, But Not Your Dessert

Restaurant Ba exceeded our expectations during its opening week.

It was date night.  A night which, in the past, would entail a babysitter and drive time to Pasadena or Silverlake to find a decent dining experience.  But with an influx of restaurateurs now setting their sights on York Boulevard we are fortunate enough to maximize babysitter rates on the restaurant experience instead of the drive time. 

And with a copy of Adam Gopnik’s The Table Comes First – Family, France & the Meaning of Food sitting on my bedside table, it seemed more than appropriate to check out Ba, the new French bistro, on York Boulevard. 

If you check out their website, you’ll learn that Ba has been a   In fact, I recall reading about this new place over the summer and confess that I had almost forgotten about it.  But Patch was thoughtful and strategic in letting me know about that they

My husband’s father was in the restaurant business.  Thus, we know firsthand the chaos that comes with the first week of newly opened establishment.  We were excited to have a French bistro so close, but equally prepared to be forgiving with untrained wait staff, long waits for food and all the kinks that come in that first week.

I’m happy to report that Ba’s owner James Graham, as nervous and exhausted as he looked in the back kitchen, seemed to have everything all figured out in the front.  Their wait staff was friendly, helpful and informed.  And most impressive--and something it’s hard to really train anyone to do--everyone that served us seemed really happy and proud to be there. 

We started out with the spinach soup and Swiss chard salad.  I usually sauté my Swiss chard so it was pleasant to see it displayed in such fresh way.  It was light, a perfect portion, and not too heavy on the dressing.  The spinach soup was green, very green.  I might be inclined to rename it Chlorophyll Soup--so green that you really will feel superhuman in a Popeye kind of way after eating it. 

The duck cassoulet seemed so very “French bistro” I couldn’t resist.  And it did not disappoint.  A hearty, rich, slow-cooked dish was aptly reminiscent of the origin of the first restaurants in France.  But the poor little duck was soon over-shadowed by my husband’s order of Beef Bourguignon.  I did my best to resist a stealth attack switching our plates when he went off to the bathroom.  Was it the smoked bacon?  The red wine sauce?  I wasn’t exactly sure but I can say this is what I’ll be ordering on my next visit. 

Suffering from a huge case of buyer’s remorse in not ordering the Beef Bourguignon I wasted no time ordering the Chocolate Mousse in Almond Tuille.  All that I have to say about this dessert is to never, ever, under any circumstances, let anyone tell you it is a dessert to be shared.  Yes, it’s cute to see the couple sharing the chocolate dessert over a romantic dinner.  Or watch, while rolling your eyes, two skeletal women picking at a pastry.  But this is the not the dessert to share.  Starve yourself for three days before hand, if you must.  But order it and eat every last bit yourself.  It’s that good.    

Enjoy Ba.  Share an appetizer or an entrée. But not the dessert. 



Jill Howlett May 11, 2012 at 08:44 PM
We celebrated my husband's birthday here last week. I've been eagerly anticipating the open of this restaurant as well and agree that York Blvd. needed a higher end option for diners. Like Nina, being a Mt. Washington resident, it's nice to have a finer dining option closer than Pasadena or Silver Lake. We loved the intimate decor (although a few upscale touches to the ladies' room can skyrocket a restaurant's image in my opinion). The service was excellent. Wine superb. Cheese plate and duck liver to die for (not on the menu, but ask for it!). Duck cousselet, however, I have to disagree with Nina. A bit lackluster on the flavor front. All in all, a very enjoyable experience. We'll be back!
Nimby pimp May 12, 2012 at 03:38 AM
A little jewel. Ambiance, service and wine were excellent. Kitchen using fine ingredients, but parts greater than the sum at this point. Hoping flavor of the food develops. I'll be back if not just for the wine and charcuterie.


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