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just like any other skilled service professional, a good bartender can be considered a pied piper; where they go, i will follow. it takes time to build a rapport, and when you throw in a specialized skill on top of that, the choice was clear when evan announced that he was going west side to manage bar at a new vietnamese venture.  the latest addition by the owners of monsoon and baguette box, ba bar follows suit with a contemporary take on vietnamese cuisine, but with a street food twist.  bourdain may have summarized street food best as, “the biggest empty space, the biggest gap in what should be a premiere and always vibrant food scene in america is that we don’t have […] food courts where mom and pop specialists can set up shop […] making one dish they’ve been doing forever and ever.”  while ba bar tries to answer the call, their menu is diverse (and nowhere near street prices); thus quality and authenticity suffer.  street staples like pho and vermicelli bowls lack luster, and one would be better served biking down 12th to the ID (though do try their clams steamed in dry shrimp, củ kiệu, jalapeno, and saigon beer).  but hey, at least i know the drinks are good enough for which to brave the bridge; evan’s got the tiki game on lock, exactly what i’d want to sip on while floating down the mekong.

double happiness