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Ba Le, Rockville

On the recommendations of many from this board, I tried Ba Le on Rockville Pike last week and loved it. I tried the garden rolls and the roasted pork bahn mi, both of which were excellent.

I'm planning on going back...any recommendations of things to try?

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  1. I'm not sure I've ever ordered anything other than the roast pork bahn mi there. Why mess with perfection?

    1. Where is it on the Pike? I live in Rockville and would love to try it.

      1. It's right across the Pike from Wintergreen Plaza, near Edmonston. It's in strip mall and is a small store front. Everything looked and smelled amazing, and was very inexpensive.

        1. Their yellow noodle soups are also pretty good. But we usually stick to the garden rolls and bahn mi. Their cha gio are often under a heat lamp for carryout and in that condition, are pretty unexceptional.

          1. I like their seafood fried rice. Their soups look great.

            1. Anything with lemongrass pork -- on the bahn mi or on noodles. My favorite soup here is the spicy lemongrass beef, but the chicken and shrimp soup beats most everything else on Rockville Pike for a weekend breakfast.

              I recently invested in a lot of their mildly spiced, sesame-seasoned beef jerky to send to a soldier (his platoon apparently thought it was fabulous, and it is a close second to the best I've ever tasted from a vendor at the Wat Thai festival a few years ago).

              I really like this place because the people are really nice and the prices are so reasonable.

              1. I was just wondering if anyone one has been back in the last several months? One of the employees there confirmed that it is under new management, in other words, the old lady mean lady is not there anymore....yeh... It seems like they (new management) are doing a pretty good job, nice and friendly.

                As far as I can tell, they menu is still the same. But for some reason, they food taste so much better. The place is so much cleaner.

                What are your thoughts?

                1. I went to the Ba Le in Springfield, VA yesterday. I don't know at all if the menu or management is the same as the one in Rockville.

                  Based on the rec of another Chowhound, I had the #1 Super Combo for dinner. Banh Mi with a variety of deli meats: pate, ham, head cheese, and pork. It was the best I've had in years.

                  1. Had my first visit to Ba Le on Rockville Pike last Saturday night, and I plan on going back.

                    I ate inside, and within about two minutes of ordering, tossed onto my table was a plastic-wrapped, styrofoam container of garden rolls and nuoc leo. About 32 seconds later, my bahn mi and soup arrived.

                    The rolls were cute: each studded underneath the transparent bean wrap with three shrimp. But the shrimp were tough, and in addition to the cucumber and other vegetables, the roll contained some sort of lunch meat, which may have been turkey, or pork, I don't know. Dipping sauce was goopy, and blah, though not unpleasant. This may be an unfair characterization, as I don't know if I've ever had dissimilar Vietnamese peanut sauce.

                    The combo bahn mi was top notch. While far from rivaling Brooklyn's Sunset Park establishments, this sandwich was damn good - filled with head cheese, ham, pate, veggies, and fish sauce. It begs for peppers, which are readily available in the form of red rooster sauce. Bread was the expected second-rate "French" white bread, but was warm and crusty.

                    Also had a nourishing, although boring spicy lemongrass beef soup, hiding a mass of rice noodles, and supplemented on the side with fresh bean sprouts, lime, and thai basil.

                    I remain perplexed by why bahn mi are so insanely cheap. $2.50 seems standard, yet this is an utter steal. Ba Le also advertises that if you buy five, they'll throw in a sixth for free.

                    I need to try the beef jerky. Will someone explain to me the drinks or desserts or whatever those things are in the clear plastic cups in the display case up front? What are they? Which are tasty?

                    1. Having read the above, I went to the Rockville store for the first time since I was in the neighborhood. I will preface this by saying, yes, I know, to some people the idea of ordering a vegetarian bahn mi is probably laughable. But it's what I like. And the one at Ba Le was totally and absolutely lame (American cheese!!), as compared to the tofu (#9) at the place two doors to the left of Four Sisters in Seven Corners.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sheldman

                        Unless you're not a meat eater, I'd encourage you to go back to Ba Le and try the combination bahn mi. Mine was bursting with pork and vegetables. I liked how the carrots tasted more fresh than the old, too-heavily marinated nuoc-cham flavored veggies sometimes symptomatic of inferior sandwiches. I look forward to trying the lemongrass pork bahn mi that others recommend.

                        Just curious, was the vegetarian sandwich actually vegetarian (no fish sauce)?

                      2. I think that there was really no fish sauce.

                        1. no fish sauce, just soy sauce