Monday, June 11, 2007
Bal Mar sucks. Perhaps that's being a bit harsh. It has some good aspects. The atmosphere is swanky, velvet, and dark, more NY than Ballard. The soundtrack is jazz. And the happy hour menu (5-7pm) is cheap. But the food isn't worth even the $5-$8 you're paying for it. We went there for my birthday and were extremely disappointed. The satay came with a disgusting, thick, and frighteningly un-nutty "peanut" sauce. The calamari was rubbery, under-seasoned, and came with a sauce that was barely distinguishable from its "peanut" cousin and equally unpalatable. Even the fries were bad. First of all, they were billed as "shoestring," but were actually quite thick, more commonly referred to as steak fries (pictured at right). If the lack of adjectival accuracy wasn't enough, the fries were unsalted. That's right. We are not convinced that there was any salt on these fries. There was, however, a shocking amount of paprika dumped on them. Paprika has no flavor. It gave the fries a red color and floury texture. Not good. Luckily, our next stop was Sunset Bowl, where the food has plenty of salt and fat to accompany their bowling pin shaped beer bottles. So, if you're looking to dress up for happy hour, you can get a swanky cocktail at the Bal Mar for $6 or a beer for $3. But steer clear of the food, unless you're on flavor-free diet.