Located on Bainbridge Island, Ba Sa, a traditional Vietnamese restaurant, has been deemed a must-visit by Seattle foodies. Second-generation restaurant owners (and siblings!), Trinh and Thai, have created a space that will make you feel immersed in Vietnamese culture and cuisine. Chef Thai has a passion for cooking and brings his creativity to light with each classic dish by showcasing his French style of cooking while utilizing local ingredients from the Pacific Northwest.
With lots of indoor and outdoor seating options at Ba Sa, you can enjoy your meal at a cozy table for one, outside under the covered patio or at a larger table indoors which can accommodate bigger groups (it is also family friendly). The bar top, which faces the open-concept kitchen, is an excellent choice for those 21 and over to feel in the action of it all. Upon walking in, you may notice the large catfish painting in the main dining room done by a local artist. Beautiful greenery, gold accents and artwork fill every area of the restaurant, making you feel as if you have stepped into another world.
Over the years, Ba Sa has created a large following of food enthusiasts from all over the region, who will take the 30-minute ferry ride over from Seattle to Bainbridge Island just to try some of their signature dishes. Ba Sa’s menu encompasses many popular Vietnamese comfort foods along with some Chef Thai originals, including the famous taro egg rolls, fried to perfection and filled with pork, taro, shrimp, onion, carrots and wood ear mushrooms. With fresh ingredients hand selected for each dish, you cannot go wrong with any item off the menu. Whether you are looking for light bites or you’re ready to feast. there is something for everyone to enjoy.
One of the most popular dishes is the spicy truffle wontons, which have created a “cult following,” according to Chef Thai. This specialty is filled with steamed pork and shrimp wontons, truffle oil, scallion, sesame seeds, chili oil and ginger, then garnished with grilled shrimp.
And try a heaping bowl of broth filled with daily harvest mushrooms, rice noodle, green onion, cilantro and fried shallot for a vegan- and vegetarian-friendly version of the classic pho. Elevate your soup taste buds and kick up the heat with the 21-day dry-aged eye of ribeye pho, served with rice noodle, green onion, beansprout, Chinese doughnut, Thai chili and aged oxtail broth. The kalbi beef banh mi, unlike no other, is rich in flavor and paired with pate, pickle daikon and carrots with herbs and spicy mayo on a mouthwatering baguette (and is also available with karaage chicken or char siu pork).
While you wait for your food, sip on a passionfruit lemon drop. Shaken with vodka, yuzu-lemon sake and passionfruit, this original signature cocktail is worth a try. If you prefer something a little more subtle, the Ba Sa mule is a refreshing option poured over ice with Shochu, lime, ginger, mint and soda.
Moving onto dessert, the coconut bread pudding is something you will want to be sure you save room for. This warmed dish is bursting with flavor in every bite and is made with sweetened condensed milk sauce, roasted sesame and peanuts. If you consider yourself more of an adventurous eater, you will not be disappointed with the cheese-and-pear panna cotta served with a bourbon poached pear, walnuts, caramel sauce, honeycomb and Laughing Cow Cheese panna cotta. This dish is a true masterpiece, and the stunning plating speaks for itself.
Ba Sa is currently open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m.to 8 p.m., and it is highly encouraged to arrive early as they do not accept reservations. Online ordering is also available and is a great option for those who may be in a rush to catch the next ferry.
For more information, visit www.basabainbridgeisland.com.
Review Washington State indoor dining guidelines prior to your visit.
Photo credit: Kayle John