Among the bars and boutiques that occupy Highland Park, one can find a hidden, baby blue French bistro: Ba. Although it is better known for its classic Provence-inspired dinner menu, boasting truffled risotto and coq au vin, my favorite part of Ba is their brunch menu, which appears every Saturday and Sunday morning.
In Los Angeles, going to brunch never seemed to be as much of a “thing” as it is in New York—the lines don’t go around the block and people certainly don’t bring their precious Boston Terriers to play at their feet as they indulge in $12 mimosas. They also don’t bring their children.
However, one thing I enjoy about the Saturday/Sunday morning ambience at Ba is that it really is filled with locals. Young Eagle Rock families bring their newborns as they schmooze and munch on duck confit hash, or perhaps a wild mushroom brûlée. And this is what makes Ba so charming. While it is the only French bistro you will find within at least seven miles, it is quiet, unassuming and undeniably unpretentious—a rare quality when one is searching for French food in Los Angeles. (The closest I’ve come is Kendall’s Brasserie in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.)
Ba is an authentic establishment that prides itself on serving local produce and meats that are sustainable, cruelty-free and antibiotic-free. While I have certainly been frustrated with Ba for running out of quiche or croissants when I come in after 11 a.m., I am happy to know that they are not just throwing a once-frozen quiche lorraine in the microwave to serve to their customers.
Another mark of its authenticity is that Ba hardly ever changes its brunch menu. With its 20-plus brunch options, there is no need to substitute flavors or update the menu for the current season. I love knowing that I can walk three blocks from my dorm room and have access to a reasonably-priced Grav Lax scramble with goat cheese. Other must-haves include the quiche of the day ($10) and the duck confit hash ($13).
Perhaps most importantly, Ba’s waitstaff makes diners feel as if they are eating in a brasserie off la Rue des Halles in Paris, as opposed to just outside the industrial hipster grunge of York Boulevard. It is the perfect morning escape for any and all.