A little fun fact about my mother is that she’s Chinese, but born and raised in Vietnam. So it’s fair to say that Asian food-wise I’ve been quite spoiled. But unfortunately when the craving hits, no matter what city I’m in, I find it much harder to find a quality Vietnamese restaurant to satiate me. Imagine my surprise when I heard about the recently opened Ba Bay, which serves up what can only be described as a modernized take on Vietnamese cuisine. I was intrigued.
After a thorough assessment of the menu and recommendations from not only our really attentive server, but the owner himself, we started off our meal with a side of chicken pate. Now I’ve had a lot of pate in my day, and I can honestly say that it was some of the best I’ve ever had! It was very fresh and flavorful. But to me, what really made it special was that the recipe comes straight from the owner’s family kitchen, specifically his Grandmother’s. And don’t Grandmother’s always know best?
For my entre, I ordered the Shaky Beef, which sits above watercress puree and topped with marinated onions. Let me tell you, the first bite left me shaking from enjoyment. The meat was so tender, cooked to a beautiful medium rare, and well seasoned. I never wanted it to end.
Next, my friend ordered the special of the night: Tete de conchon, which is crispy fried pig head, cabbage and hard boiled eggs braised in fish sauce and maggi. (I know, it totally sounds prettier in French, but what can you do?) Each element of the dish perfectly complimented and balanced one another. And I’d recommend ordering it with a side of rice for maximum deliciousness.
And being a Vietnamese restaurant, we just couldn’t leave without trying their Pho. Although not my favorite dish of the night, it definitely held its own. The pho broth was really dark, MSG free, and had a hint of spiciness. Not your standard pho broth, but definitely perfect for those cold winter days ahead.
Finally, in order to get our 2-3 servings of vegetables for the day, we got a side of the bok choy that is cooked in oyster sauce and sprinkled with fried shallots. Trust me, you’ll have even the pickiest of kids eating these leafy greens.
Ba Bay’s unique menu and cozy ambiance is just what Eastern Market needs!
(Tip: When you Google Ba Bay, make sure to specify it’s in DC and that it’s Vietnamese, otherwise Google thinks you’re looking for Baby items. Oh, you were looking for baby items? Congrats! That works too.)
Address: 633 Pennslyvania Ave