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Bastille Cafe & Bar opens in Old Ballard

Posted by Geeky Swedes on June 29th, 2009

Update: Bastille Cafe & Bar, the much-anticipated French restaurant on Ballard Avenue, opened Monday evening to a good crowd.

Chef Shannon Galusha has put together a mouth-watering menu with a French lesson or two thrown in. The “Salade Du Toit” ($8) definition explains that “toit” is French for “roof,” and the fresh greens come from planter boxes on Bastille’s roof (shown here). “We strive to use locally sourced ingredients, and this is as local as it gets,” the menu reads. The menu includes the traditional Salade Nicoise ($14), a Charcuterie Plate (cured meats, rillettes, oil-preserved olives and baguette, $14), Braised Lamb Shank ($19), Soupe de Poisson ($22) and several meatless dishes, to just name a few.

Quite a few people enjoyed the beautiful evening on the Bastille patio.

They’re already taking reservations online through Of course it’s not a French restaurant without frites, so stop by the back take-out window next Sunday during the Farmers Market and pick up some free frites.

Tags: Ballard   Share

37 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 NoraBell // Jun 29, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    A solid dinner menu. Plenty of choice for Veggie people and Meat people.
    And the cocktail list looks interesting. Nicely done, Bastille.

  • 2 gurple // Jun 29, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Exciting! The menu looks fantastic. I'll stop by and check them out on my way home.

  • 3 Fauxnothing // Jun 29, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    Are my eyes deceiving me, or is that kitchen helper wearing short pants in the kitchen?

  • 4 workethic // Jun 30, 2009 at 2:01 am

    I just read their awesome menu.. I'm really hungry and broke so I've settled for leftovers. Damn you taunting delicious new awesome looking restaurant and your rooftop garden salads.

  • 5 misswinegirl // Jun 30, 2009 at 3:53 am

    I cannot wait to eat here. Shannon is a great chef, and the price points look fantastic!

  • 6 SeaKell // Jun 30, 2009 at 4:22 am

    Yes! Can't wait to try it! Heard a rumor that they will have live music on Bastille Day.

  • 7 outerballard // Jun 30, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Allons faire un reunion des francophones, peut-etre une fois par mois?
    How about a monthly gathering of french-speakers? Seems the Bastille be suitable for that.

  • 8 gurple // Jun 30, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    I had the Happy Hour mac & cheese, which was fantastic at $4, and a Big Al's beer. The service was great, too, despite some glitches with their order-tracking software. A very impressive opening day!

  • 9 ABtm // Jun 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    We'll definitely be going back. The food was awesome, the drinks strong, and the ambiance hits just the right note. Guessing that the bar in back will be very popular. Well done, Bastille!

  • 10 angelatini // Jun 30, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    If only my high school french was better! I'll come listen and wistfully think of Paris. :)

  • 11 louisac // Jun 30, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Well, my husband and I got the grand title of being the official first customer last night.

    We arrived at 4:28.just as the doors unlocked but as Lester Bangs (Philip Seymore Hoffman) said in Almost Famous, “I was never cool.” We were seated outside under the covered patio where we were given the bar menu as the restaurant was to open at 5:30. We started off with olives and almonds while I explored their specialty cocktails.
    The weather as well as the service could not have been better. Our waitress was outstanding in recommending and explaining the African influenced French menu. The patio is one of the best people watching places in Ballard without being in the middle of foot traffic. After I ordered the moules frites, I wandered around the restaurant a bit but initially missed the chandelliered bar in the back. Past the women's room, down the gently sloping hallway across from the men's room is a second bar that is nothing short of gorgous.
    Around 5:30 the staff suddenly doubled in size. My husband ordered the grilled octopus with harissa which I can say, there are no words available to convey how delighted he found it. He said it was unlike anything he had ever eaten.

    Peter came over and introduced himself and congratulated us for being the offical first customer, followed by a non-intrusive photographer.

    The grand opening was wonderful. The only tiny thing I can say is that neither bar have a short table to accomodate me in my wheelchair. I have a feeling though that once things have settled, they will find a way to get a lower table relocated. Cheers!

  • 12 NoraBell // Jun 30, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Wow. Based on the comments here (and the sneak peak at the menu) I can hardly wait to make myself very familiar with this place.

  • 13 aly_b // Jul 1, 2009 at 12:26 am

    I dined at Bastille last night & won't return for at least a month to give them the opportunity to work out the kinks. The restaurant is very beautiful but there are some major issues to work through but I”m hopeful they can do it. We waited over an hour to get our food and the server didn't keep us updated as to what was going on. It seemed like the kitchen was in sheer meltdown. The food arrived and some things were good- like the pork belly, the salad and the lamb burger but the chicken which they've been talking up was very dry and extremely salty. The frites were also a major dissapointment. Something was wrong with the fryer because they were white- no color at all. When everything on the menu comes with fries they better be good. These were not edible. Will post an update next month.

  • 14 paddledandy // Jul 1, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Ever heard the term “Fools rush in”?

    Most amateur move in the world going in on opening night then blogging the misfires. Shocked at the level of chaos? Learn to manage your expectations. This is what adults do.

    It's a subjective experience, going to restaurants…hard to consistently quantify. One must take an even-handed approach in their review and forgive if there's something on the menu that doesn't appeal the writer.

    However, there's prolly strength to the argument that a new restaurant might want to comp errors, buy an extra drink, limit the seating in the first few days, or offer reduced prices as both kitchen and floor staff work out the kinks. God knows there's enough $$ in the budget at shiny, new Bastille to do so.

    Bottom Line: It's the right concept at the right time, in the right neighborhood with the right price points. Great service and menu in a well designed setting. Kudos to all involved.

    May it sustain.

    A pox on electronic wannabe Frank Bruni's/Michael Bauer's of the “foodie” world.

  • 15 etta // Jul 6, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    We had dinner there last night. I thought the food was excellent. Green salad (grown on the roof) was as fresh as you'd expect, with a nice light dressing. I love onion soup and this soup was truly delicious. The broth was very flavorful and not at all salty (the downfall of many an onion soup). Moving on to duck confit, a nice small plate with a nicely cooked leg. My husband had octopus, which he loved and wished the serving was a bit bigger (it was a small plate). He also had a falafel sandwich, fresh and tasty with delicious sauce. We did have a very very long wait after the salads. But, paddledandy, they did the right thing. The expeditor (Peter? perhaps an owner) came over to apologize for our wait. And, when it was dessert time, the server let us know that Peter was buying us dessert. Classy. We shared profiteroles and salted peanut ice cream. A delicious end to a well-prepared meal. I should add, the place is really beautiful…and huge. Don't miss the backbar.

  • 16 e/c // Jul 20, 2009 at 12:13 am

    I don't see a place for a review under myballard, so I am posting it here in the hopes the chef and owners see it…I have been to Bastille 3 times. I keep waiting for the kinks to get worked out…and am still waiting…today it was lunch at about 2:20pm and all we got was a brunch menu that had mainly egg dishes/breakfast..I was looking for the chicken that the chef Shannon raved about…we got the lamb was dry and almost 3/4 of the way through it the waitress finaly brought catsup and a sauce…yeah..too late. The duck was small and tasty..but expensive and small…was still hungry after. The lemonade with rosemary or whatever it was suppossed to be was so tart I coudl barely drink it…no other flavor and extremely unmemorable all for $7 for the probably 5 ounces. Our waitress gave us a disapproving look when we opted for tap water over filetered water, and was so unattentive and unapologetic for her lack of follow through on bringing items that I am going to have to work up some realy enthusiasm to go back. Did I mention the wine list? Well if you are remotely informed about wine, the overcharging for a bottlle that cost $30 in the stores a retail and being offered for $85 froim a wholesale price is just too much! I can see folks going to the back bar for drinks and bar food, but as far a a destination for dinner..not on my list any time soon. Gorgeous place, but they need to up their game and soon!

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