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Jul 2, 2009 05:02 PM

Bastille in Ballard -- Reports?

I know this place just opened, but has anyone been who cares to share their experience, tell us if it's living up to the buzz, what was good, what wasn't?

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  1. SO and I went to Bastille on Sunday for a late brunch after hitting the farmer's market. I have to say, I was really disappointed. There was a 20 minute wait (even though there were lots of open tables), but that was no problem as we just walked around a bit more. When we returned, we were seated right away at a table right next to the door to the outside patio (there are tables out there but boy was it hot!) where there isn't enough room for the waitstaff to really pass between the tables. One server grabbed on to me as she passed (she was trying to grab my chair, which would still be annoying, but she actually grabbed *me* and didn't acknowledge it at all). It's a really pretty place with a lot of light, but oh boy is it loud! Hard floor, high ceiling, no drapes, etc. Yikes.

    The brunch menu looked ok, but not spectacular. They were not "set up" to do anything else, so no poutine (even though they were doing frites with the lamb burger). I tried to order an iced tea, but the server said it would be a while, so we both ordered some special juice drink. It took 20 minutes to get our drinks, after asking for them twice. When they arrived, they were very tart (oh well).

    SO ordered the omelette provencale which was nice - shrimp, chevre and thick tomato compote. I ordered the duck confit has with poached eggs. It took another 20 minutes to get our food. Unfortunately, both of my poached eggs were completely cooked through, so I asked for soft poached eggs (luckily the server came back within 2 minutes of dropping off the food to check if things were ok). That took another 15 minutes and we were finished with SO's food by the time my eggs came back (this time they were about half cooked through, but oh well). I am not sure why they call it a duck confit hash - it was just pieces of duck drumstick (not very flavorful and very dry) in a bowl with fried potato pieces on top, with two poached eggs. At $15, a real let down.

    When we got the check we saw that they had comped the entire duck confit hash, which was nice of them, but it was strange that no one actually *said* anything about it and since I didn't really complain about the eggs other than to ask if I could have some soft poached eggs. If they had just gotten me the poached eggs in a reasonable time there would have been no reason to comp the dish anyway.

    In all, I'd go back for dinner or their bar menu, but I am not so hot on brunch.

    7 Replies
    1. re: akq

      Sounds like this might be attributable to opening day jitters - Sunday was their first ever brunch service. I know that doesn't necessarily make up for pricey, lackluster food, but I think there's a good chance that brunch service will improve in the coming weeks and months.

      1. re: abstract206

        Could be (hope so!) but we went at 2:15, nearing the end of their brunch service (ends at 3) and they were less than 1/2 full (but still made us wait 20 mins for a table)'s right next to the Farmer's market, so they should be expecting a major crowd. Since I knew they'd just opened, I was totally ready to cut them some slack, but this was just beyond opening jitters. Plus, a heads up and apology would have gone a long way...

        1. re: akq

          Went for brunch this afternoon. The food was just fine, but service was merely okay. We had long waits to order, receive our food, get a check and have them pick up the payment. They comp'd a snack for the wait which we appreciated. The place is loud and it can be difficult to hear others across the table talk.

      2. re: akq

        I went on Thursday night for a friend's birthday. The food was good, but in general the service was awful. It took ages to get our drinks, and I can only hope our server also had tables inside (we were on the patio) because that's the only way to explain the lag.

        I guess they were concerned about everyone at our two tables ordering all at once, because they didn't allow us to order off the full menu--something I'd not encountered before. This was very disappointing as I'd already picked several things I wanted to try and none of them were on the prix fixe menu they provided. We ordered frites, which were only okay--a bit chewy and lackluster. My bf and I shared the rooftop greens salad and beet salad--both delicious, though the "mixed green" was actually just a plate of all frisee. A menu note, however: the rooftop greens salad doesn't list that it's sprinkled with large chunks of BACON. Luckily I'm not a super-picky vegetarian and I let my bf pick the meat off and I continued to munch. That's quite the omission, however. Anyhow, we had cocktails which were decent. The cherry one was creative and tasty. My bf's dirty martini was reportedly "fine".

        Besides the service being rather slow, my bf and I ordered a pasta entree to share, and it never came. Between slow drinks, a confused server, the limited menu, and the bacon, by the time the server came around to ask if we wanted dessert we just ordered and figured we'd save money by skipping the entree (drinks and dessert, what more do you need?). But then it was on our reciept anyhow. We told the server it never came, and after saying she'd take it off she said, sort of under her breath, "Someone must have eaten it." Um, what? So you're saying one of my friends is just grabbing dishes they didn't order, or...? It was a weird statement, and just came off really rude. And then when she brought back the credit card slip to sign, then damn pasta was STILL listed!

        I certainly hope the service improves. I know it was just days upon opening, so I'm willing to cut some slack. The menu and the space and the concept are great, but I think I'll wait a while for things to shake out.

        1. re: pandapuffs

          Forgot to mention--dessert, a peanut butter ice cream dish ("creme glacier"), was delish!

          1. re: pandapuffs

            It is pretty common to provide a limited menu to large parties, like more than 10 or 12. This would have been agreed upon ahead of time by whomever planned the event.

            1. re: babette feasts

              Huh, didn't know that. But then again, I almost never find myself out with a group that large.

        2. walked by it yesterday afternoon before they opened for dinner...the interior reminds me very, very much of Cafe Luxembourg in NYC!

          1. I must say that there is definitely a common theme with all the replies so far, and that validates my own experience at Bastille.

            1. Most of the food is good : esp liked the duck confit, grilled octopus and pork belly (my friend who's a pork belly connoisure, thought it could have been crispier).

            2. Restaurant is gorgeous with the dark mahogany wood, large windows, floral arrangements, and open kitchen.

            1. service is terrible. waitress was gracious, but that didn't make up for the fact that our food took FOREVER to come to our table. we were so used to waiting so long for our dishes, that a half hour later, we asked where our other 2 dishes were, and the waitress forgot that we ordered it!!! if we never asked, we would have sat there all night as she certainly wouldn't have come by to check on us!!!! she comped us on the runny lavender creme brulee.

            2. LOUD. this restaurant is so freakin' loud, i couldn't hear my friend sitting next to me, and i couldn't hear my friend sitting across from me.

            Overall, the food is quite good and the decor is swank. Unfortunately, these two factors do not make up for the poor service and noise problems. If I want good food, I could cook at home. I find dining an "experience" all the way from the decor, ambience, and service.

            A note to you Bastille owners. Maybe you could hire more waiters, or at least hire waiters that are more experienced.