Bastille Cafe & Bar

Written by on October 13, 2010 in I Eat Seattle, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Ballard
How I heard of this place: After Ellie convinced me to join her at Bastille to do reserach for work, I had found a new, delicious and inviting place to dine out. Before leaving for a trip to the East Coast a friend wanted to have dinner, so four of us made our way back to Bastille last night…And it was even better than my first visit!
Type of cuisine: “Damn good French cuisine”. French food prepared with local, seasonal ingredients. “Bastille’s commitment to organic, sustainable agriculture is unstinting. We source our product from local farmers and purveyors whenever possible. Nowhere is this commitment more evident than on our own roof: we’ve installed a 4,500 square foot garden of raised-bed planter boxes where we grow our own lettuces and herbs. Installed and maintained by Colin McCrate of Seattle Urban Farm Company, the boxes are irrigated and heated to keep us in fresh greens throughout the year. You can find our produce in the Salade du Toit, a rooftop version of a salade verte; in the Roasted Beet & Arugula salad; in the Herb-Encrusted Pan-Seared Salmon; and in our homemade Rosemary Lemonade.”
Ambiance: Pottery Barn meets the Paris Metro at Bastille Cafe & Bar in Old Ballard. The inside of the establishment is remarkably large and spacious. It boasts white, Metro tiles and black fixtures, complete with a Paris Metropolitan clock. The mirrors on the walls offer daily treats and specials of the house. A Provencal-esque shelving unit and dresser host a guillotine for slicing the semolina baguettes. “Ballard has been called “the most soulful” neighborhood in Seattle. We think of it as the 21st arrondissement of Paris: the Farmers Market, the boutiques, the little coffee bars and boîtes. And now, Bastille—a neighborhood café that transports you to the City of Light. A dramatic space of white tile, black ironwork, and a 45-foot zinc-topped bar; light fixtures discovered at the Clignancourt flea market; a back bar that once graced a Seattle mansion; a clock that adorned a Paris metro station; and the hood that used to vent a furnace in Obermaier Machine Works, the family-owned business that formerly occupied the space that now hosts Bastille. Everywhere your eye falls in Bastille, there’s a visual feast: 19th century sconces from a church in the French countryside; pendants from a school in Seattle; a cozy “hearth” around which to gather on cool evenings; a host stand that once serviced a small hotel. It’s all about reinvention, rediscovery, restoration. In fact, that’s our aim—and the source of the word “restaurant”—to restore our guests to a condition of comfort and pleasure amidst the hubbub of urban life.” The restaurant is separated in a dining area, bar, patio and the kitchen separates the front space with the back bar. “The words we most often hear when people walk into Back Bar are, “Wow!” “Gorgeous!” “Yummy!” Painted a rich dark chocolate, you feel as if you’ve entered a boîte à bijoux, a jewel box of delicious details: a crystal chandelier hangs from an arch salvaged from a French church; amber light glows from behind reclaimed grillwork; Art Deco sconces adorn the walls. And above it all preside two paintings recreated from the originals by French symbolist painter Pierre Puvis de Chavennes, figures representing both the terror and inspiration of the French Revolution.”
What I ordered: A ginger ale and glass of red wine to start, the members of our small party gazed in awe and excitement at the plethora of new options on the dinner menu. To start, the token man at our table ordered two servings of champignons roties ($5 each), a favorite from the previous trip to Bastille; mushrooms roasted with garlic confit. An order was placed for a Grand Central baguette ($3), served with Plugra butter and sea salt in order to thoroughly enjoy the gorgeous juice at the bottom of the bowl of mushrooms. To his right we had one order of the salade de endives & mimolette ($11): endives and frisee in apple cider dressing with aged cow’s milk cheese, honey crisp apples and walnuts. Myself and the dining companion to my right ordered the special salad of the day: yellow beets with toasted and seasoned pistachio nuts, dusted with a sprinkling of chives and decorated with two sprigs of flat leaf parsley presented in a small tower and drizzled with a light vinaigrette. For dinner, I ordered the coquilles St. Jaques ($27): 3 large seared to golden Qualicum Bay scallops with roasted mushrooms and cauliflower served on a bed of cauliflower puree. The dining companion to my right ordered the steak frites au poivre ($21): grilled flat-iron steak with pepper jus and marrow butter, served with a side of frites. Seated across the way from her, our dining companion ordered the burger d’agneau ($12): a lamb burger served on a lavash sesame bun with harissa aioli, arugula, pickled shallot and a side of frites. To his right, an order was placed for the confit de canard “hash” ($14): confit duck leg with caramelized onion, fingerling potatoes and poached duck egg. Despite the fact that, already, we were satisfied, no one could refuse dessert! We had one order of the special: an almond-chocolate cake with a scoop of strawberry ice cream atop, served alongside a circle of fresh strawberry jam and broken pieces of almond brittle. Across from me, my dining companion ordered the salted peanut butter creme glacee ($8) served with cocoa nib feuilletine and Jivara cremeux. To my right, an order was placed for the Grand Marnier creme brulee ($8) served with an orange blossom tuile cookie. I ordered the plateau au chocolat ($8), a sample platter of homemade truffles including: praline truffle, orange fudge, honey butter truffle, espresso truffle and milk chocolate cherry herring pot au creme.
What I loved: According to one fellow diner, when I asked “What did we love?”, the answer was simply, “Yum!”. That does sum up our dining experience! Of the dishes at our table, the steak was moist and juicy, and the jus creamy and full of flavor. The duck was prepared to a crispy finish and the duck egg done perfectly. The lamb burger satisfied the craving and frites continued to please each of us. The seared scallops could not have been more adequately and tantalizingly prepared. On this visit, for me, the dinner entrees earned my vote for the best part of the meal.
Why I loved it: The space is large and very inviting. It is the perfect place for large parties or smaller, more intimate meals in the bar or at the fireplace. The decor, reminiscent of the south of France and the Parisienne metro, bold and engaging, yet simple and inviting. The company made the night and the food kept us there for over two delicious hours!
Cost: Average to high ($12-$28 for dinner entrees)

Be Sociable, Share!


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *