Bastille Restaurant Ballard Does Rooftop Dinner…Without The Roof


Bastille Restaurant Ballard

I have been in Seattle since November of 2011 and I’ve been waiting almost that long to check out Jason Stoneburner’s  Bastille Restaurant Ballard.  I’d often heard it mentioned in foodie circles discussing top Seattle restaurants and was waiting for just the right opportunity to indulge in what I expected to be a wonderful foodie experience.  Seattle, after all, has taught me all about how to EXPERIENCE food.

When I got word of a Summer Rooftop Dinner series at Bastille Restaurant Ballard amid the urban rooftop garden, I was SOLD.

I lined up a friend, paid the generous fee for our 6 course dinners…

and waited…

rather impatiently…

for several months.

I woke on the Monday morning of the dinner excited to get through the day and experience a wonderful meal.

Email check…

What?  NO! No rooftop dinner??

Permits, City of Seattle, Relocated to the terrace…


But, I put on a happy face and focused on the foodie fun that would come at the end of the day, rooftop or not.


Before I go any further, let me say that I don’t write this blog to be critical of restaurants.  I talk about my love of food.  And. I share one of the things I like most…photography.

In this case, of FOOD!

But, this time I must be honest and say that this was one food experience that did not meet my expectations.  And, with the incredible opportunities to truly experience food in this town, experience it in a way I’d never appreciated before moving here, this was a disappointment.

My friend and I arrived at Bastille promptly at 5:30 for the garden tour, as the email earlier in the day had directed…

The garden tour…that didn’t happen for almost 2 hours.

We were seated at the bar, where a rather clueless bartender prepared the special drink of the evening.  And that lone drink and a few appetizers, one with nuts — which I indicated I was allergic to, was all I got for 2 hours. I’m pretty sure my water glass never even had a refill.

We sat…and sat…and sat.

At some point we got an explanation about the delay in the garden tour, but it didn’t really make sense and didn’t give me much assurance that this exciting and special night that I’d been waiting for, and this rumored amazing restaurant I’d held out trying for over a year, was going to deliver.

The foodie EXPERIENCE was already ruined.


We ultimately climbed the stairs to the roof and got a tour of the garden and it was pretty cool to see so much “green life” on an urban rooftop, passersby completely oblivious to what was growing above them.

Bastille Restaurant Ballard

At the top of the stairs leading out to the garden is the “what’s where” in the Bastille Restaurant Ballard Garden!  An intricate map on a whiteboard that provides the layout of the garden  just outside the door.

Bastille Restaurant Ballard Bastille Restaurant Ballard

The light was beautiful on the roof and the plants glowed in the golden glow.  Someone’s cocktail for the “road” added more fresh inspiration to the scene.

Bastille Restaurant Ballard

I took my tour around the roof.  Capturing lettuce leaves as they glowed in the late day sun.

And, discovered squash blossoms hiding amid the large leaves and caught glances of them gently peeking out with their bold colors and textures.

Bastille Restaurant Ballard

Bastille Restaurant Ballard


After the tour we returned downstairs to dine.  Our table set and the night’s menu ahead.

Bastille Restaurant Ballard

I was still excited to taste Chef de Cuisine Cody Farrell’s dishes.

Soon after sitting, food and wine began to appear at the table…at a somewhat overwhelming pace I must admit.

Bastille Restaurant Ballard

The morel mushroom tartines joined the other three starters at the table.  I don’t really like mushrooms.  Most of the time I pass on eating them.  But, I was hungry and tartines make me think of my favorite little wine bar in Park Slope Brooklyn, Brook Vin, where I was a regular patron of their delicious tartines.  So, I dug in.

D E L I C I O U S !!!

These crunchy, chewy, salty bites made a mushroom lover out of me.  Probably one of my favorite dishes of the night!

Next up, radishes…”many types” according to the menu.

_MG_1421Bastille Restaurant Ballard

According to me, the more the merrier!  I was never really a radish fan until I tried Chef Zoi’s radishes with goat butter (dreamy!).  This radish, cucumber, and zucchini treat was delightful.  I think they might have been pulled from the garden above us moments before landing on the plate!  Fresh, crunchy, earthy goodness.  Lucky for me, I’m allergic to nuts…so I got my own plate.  No sharing family style on this dish.



Bastille Restaurant Ballard

Salad and crispy shallots with dressing looked lovely amid the other starters and beautiful table flowers.  All in all, this was a pretty plain salad.  A beautiful to look at, but nonetheless plain sounding salad.  One bite and “plain” was the farthest thing from my mind.  Crunchy, flavorful, full of amazing freshness.

Again…you could taste the freshness of that lettuce that I had seen upstairs minutes earlier.

Bastille Restaurant Ballard

Urban farm to table at Bastille Restaurant Ballard!!


On to the Main Plates…again, all three coming at the same time…

With all three glasses of wine.  A little bit of food navigation overwhelm!

I just picked something start with…

Bastille Restaurant Ballard

Roasted Cauliflower “Chateaubriand” was an artfully plated dish with bold greens and strong cauliflower textures.

I don’t like cauliflower.  It’s up there with mushrooms and my previous judgement against radishes.

But, I had to try it…

Uhm…HOW does Chef Farrell do that???  Add cauliflower to the list of things I like now.  Well, when cooked like this and with this kind of farm to table freshness.



My next adventure was the Duck Egg Dumpling Gratin.  They had me at Duck Egg really, and I couldn’t wait to dig in.  So anxious really, I took one quick photo and was off and eating…

Bastille Restaurant Ballard

The photo does it no justice.

Trust me.

It looked as good as it tasted in that awesome cast iron skillet.  (And thank you to the guy at the end of the table for wearing my favorite color and giving me a little extra color pop in the background.)

I think I should raise ducks so I can eat duck eggs every day…

I’ll add them in with my goats…

Can you raise farm animals in Downtown Seattle on your balcony??


OK…so I’m five dishes into my dinner and I’ve not had ANY meat.  This is highly unusual for the foodie carnivore over here!  I was ready for something meaty and dug into the NY Strip.

Bastille Restaurant Ballard

NY Strip with a carrot and turnip salad…forget the strip.  I don’t need meat with vegetables this fresh!  I ate the veggies and left my meat sitting lonely on the plate.  Nothing wrong with it, but the veggies won me over!

Bastille Restaurant Ballard

How can you resist that pile of colorful, fresh goodness???


Here are my final words about our dinner on the terrace under the lights and clear canopy above…

Bastille Restaurant Ballard

Stuffed!  ”Vegged” Out!

While I was truly disappointed in the dining experience.  I wasn’t completely disappointed in the food.  Chef Farrell served some very interesting flavors and textures in the evening’s dinner.  And, she made me actually enjoy mushrooms and cauliflower.

I’m pretty sure my mom would like to meet her…

She never had such luck when I was a kid…or adult for that matter!  You should have heard this conversation a few months ago…

“So mom, guess what my favorite vegetable is?  Brussel sprouts!!”

“Mom?  Mom?”

Followed by the story of when I hid brussel sprouts in my milk as a kid and tried to pour them down the sink when she wasn’t looking (moms are ALWAYS looking…). I reminded her that I first tried to feed them to the dog…but she ran away…just sayin’.  Apparently both mom and I needed to work on our “EXPERIENCE”.


I might go back to Bastille Restaurant Ballard, but I’m not in a rush.  For me, the experience with the food is just as important and the food itself.  If you are going to have a “special” dining experience offering here in Seattle you better ensure the experience part lives up, because there are LOTS of places doing the EXPERIENCE right.  Check out my other posts and you’ll know where to go for both.

Bastille Café & Bar on Urbanspoon


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