Opened by artist and chef James Graham and sculptor Julia Latané, Ba Restaurant is located at York Boulevard and Avenue 51 in Highland Park, Los Angeles, in a century old brick storefront. Filled with sunset, the artist-designed space boasts handcrafted furniture, wall treatments, upholstery, and lighting. On stepping into the powder blue and white Neo-Rococo entry, open drapes reveal the pale pink, taupe and white dining room. Works by artists Jaime Scholnick, Timothy Nolan, and Jasper Latané punctuate the precious dining room, which seats 24 guests.
The simple and seductive menu offers French provincial classics, prepared with haute cuisine techniques and uses the most seasonal ingredients that California has to offer. With an evolving and innovative menu, small plates may include Sweet Baby Carrot Soup, Seared Ahi on Autumn Greens, Wild Mushroom Brûlée, and Potato Croquettes. Entrees may include Moules Frites, Butter Poached Lotte Bouillabaisse, Roasted Summer Vegetables, Scallops seared in Duck Fat, and Roasted Hen with Morels. For dessert, Ba offers Crème Brûlée, Chocolate Mousse in Sugar Tuile, and Wedding Cake. Ba’s cuisine features local, sustainable, cruelty-free, and antibiotic-free ingredients in every dish. French wines and locally brewed ales compliment the fare.
About the Name
“Ba” is a reference to the McGurk Effect. A neuro linguistic anomaly identified by the speech Pathologists Harry McGurk and John MacDonald in 1976. This video explains the complicated phenomena:
Ba Ba ti ki di do
Ba is love.
Ba is a young chicken — or a cocky young man, acting older than his years.
Ba is our bird-headed spirit that people make offerings of food to.
Ba is the nickname of August Vo, whose mother grew up in Lyon, and father was from Dalat. August moved to Los Angeles from Viet Nam in 1938 to pursue his dream of cooking for local lefty luminaries like Edward Weston and Frida Kahlo. He fell in love with an Italian boy and moved to Highland Park to live with him. They lived on Buchanan Street to honor the first gay President. August opened Le Singe et le Violon Contre-Plaqué on this spot in 1940, serving classical French cuisine.
Ba is a soft, silvery metallic element.
Ba is the wind.
Ba is the first two letters of BAKERY, which was painted on the side of the building for Elsa’s Bakery, the business that we are next door to, and that occupied our space for thirty-five years.
…some of these are true.
About our Neighbors
Visit our neighbors on York Boulevard:
The York http://www.theyorkonyork.com/
The Hermosillo http://www.thehermosillo.com/
Sonny’s Hideaway http://www.sonnyshideaway.com/
Pop-Hop Bookshop http://www.thepophop.com/
About our Vendors
Ba is proud to work with vendors who care about quality as much as we do. Our vendors include Country Fresh Herbs, Rocker Brothers Meat & Provisions, Paseo Prime, Drake Farms, Monkey & Sons Coffee, Return to Terroir, and Epic Wines.
About the Owners
James began his culinary career as scullion in Greenwich Village while attending the High School of the Performing Arts. He cooked at Wilson’s on the upper Eastside, and earned an apprenticeship to Chef Jean Pierre Zagou at La Brasserie, after which, he cooked at the Four Seasons under Seppi Renggli. He was recruited by Anthony Bourdain to be his sous chef at Nikki and Kelly’s on Columbus Ave, the first of four restaurants they ran together in Manhattan. During these years, Graham ran the Arrival Catering Company, which counted the Lime Light, Palladium, and Leo Castelli Gallery as frequent clients. While studying art at the University of Arizona in Tucson, he became assistant pastry chef for Janos Wilder at his namesake restaurant and won several awards in the state chocolate competition.
In 1994, James and Julia opened The Grill, an ambitious restaurant designed to serve the needs of downtown Tucson’s hipsters and professionals. The Grill was a twenty-four hour, seven day a week American Diner serving nouvelle comfort food with a high brow New York twist. The Grill was a hit from its first day of service and ran at full capacity for over 15 years. .
A Los Angeles based sculptor, Julia Latané’s work has been shown over the last twenty years in cities such as Amsterdam, Tokyo, Houston, Denver, Santa Fe, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Julia’s artwork ranges in scale from drawings and pedestal pieces to room sized installations.
For Ba Restaurant, Julia designed a space that encompasses the magic, romance, mystery, comfort, and intimacy she finds in James’ cuisine. She created a place that is inviting and elegant, nostalgic and forward looking– a place for a once in a lifetime meal or a weekly dinner with friends.
Visit her website: www.julialatane.com