Home > Restaurants > Bad Albert’s Tap & Grill – 4/22/11 – Closed

Bad Albert’s Tap & Grill – 4/22/11 – Closed


Location: 5100 Ballard Ave NW


Mon-Thurs: 11-10

Fri: 11-11

Sat: 9-11

Sun: 9-9

Breakfast Served: Sat-Sun: 9-2

Happy Hour: 3-6 Mon-Sun

Bad Albert’s sits at the what was the industrial, unpopular end of Ballard Ave until the hipsterific Ballard Loft, Ethan Stowell’s Staple and Fancy and The Walrus and The Carpenter oyster bar moved in. Now gentrification is creeping down the street although I doubt it will ever affect Bad Albert’s.

In Ballard, Bad Albert’s is one of the remaining bastions of old Ballard. For a Friday night happy hour, the crowd consisted mostly of the retired, a few younger folk and blue collar workers from the industrial area that runs along Salmon Bay. The interior reflects its clientele, being a little worn but in a homey, well-loved way. If you become any sort of regular, the waitresses and the owner will remember you. Maybe not by name but enough to say “Hi” in a familiar way.

If you can tell already, J and I have a soft spot for Bad Albert’s. For a couple of years now it has been our go-to spot for weekend breakfast. We’ve been there so often that the waitresses bring our morning beverage (coffee and cranberry juice) along with the menu. Their fried egg and bacon sandwich, with what we’ve come to call “crack mayonnaise” for its deliciousness, is one of the best breakfast items in Ballard if not Seattle. It’s so good that it’s not only on the breakfast menu but on the lunch/dinner menu as well.

Oddly enough, we’ve never had dinner there. Sure I’ve had lunch a few times and J spent part of his bachelor party drinking there last year but never a true dinner. So when we started this project, we decided to make the effort to try Bad Albert’s dinner menu.

The Service:

When we came in the first thing out of our server’s mouth was “Wait. It’s not breakfast. How come you’re here now?”. This is indicative of the service at Bad Albert’s, friendly, familiar and relatively quick. As befits a place with a regular clientele, sometimes the service can be held up by the staff chatting with customers. Some may see this as a drawback but we’ve come to find it endearing and a sign of a certain comfort.

This is probably a good point to mention that Bad Albert’s is a bar and, as such, does not permit anyone under 21 in the place. While this may be a drawback to many people, when you’re recovering from a hangover or want a quiet breakfast, having a quiet place in Ballard to have breakfast is a huge plus.

Our server also gets points for insisting on bringing a basket of French fries when I mentioned that I had asked for them rather than the tater tots I received.

The Drinks:

As usual J ordered a Long Island Iced Tea, which he says was “Pretty dang tasty”.

I asked for whatever Hefeweizen they had on tap. What I received was a lovely, smooth Hefeweizen that tasted vaguely familiar. It turned out that Bad Albert’s carries my favorite local beer, Schooner Exact’s Gallant Maiden Hefeweizen. Only one other restaurant in Ballard (so far) offers this soft, mild beer.

The Food:

Since it was Happy Hour, we decided to try one of the half-off appetizers, the Cajun Crawfish, lightly floured and fried crawfish tails tossed in spicy chipotle sauce and served with blue cheese dip. When they came out, the crawfish tails looked like cocktail shrimp, little curled-up commas. At first taste, they were not at all what we expected. Much fishier than shrimp with a spicy, sweet coating. Even after the first few bites, the crawfish tails had such an odd taste that neither of us were sure if we even liked them. Gradually the little suckers worked some sort of mojo on us become delicious and addictive until they were completely gone. Next time we hit Bad Albert’s for happy hour, we’ll get them again.

For an entrée, I ordered the New Yorker, a seasoned Angus beef patty on a toasted garlic baguette with yellow mustard, tomatoes, pickles, white cheddar and a homemade grilled onion sauce and a side of fries. As befits a sandwich on a baguette, the beef patty was elongated rather than round and was flatter than a hamburger patty. The flatness allowed the flavor of the well seasoned beef to be more obvious as well as give it a little bit of a crunchy edge. The baguette was deliciously garlicky and toasted to perfection, not too soft or hard. The pickles were huge which made me think they cut them from whole dill pickles. The onion sauce was good if a little greasy. The french fries were obviously hand-cut, a rarity lately. They had that great mix of crispy outside and tender inside. Very good fries.

J had the Albert’s Burger Dip, a seasoned Angus beef patty on toasted garlic baguette with smoked provolone, grilled Guinness onions, bacon, a small bowl of au jus and a side of tater tots. He loved it. He described it as “homey”. Like something your mom would make. Very unpretentious. The au jus dip was so awesome that I was dipping my sandwich in it. So rich and beefy. Personally we both would be tempted to order a side of au jus with anything we ate there. A big win all around from J.

The Price:

Long Island Iced Tea: 8.00

Gallant Maiden Hefeweizen: 3.50 (Happy Hour price)

Crawfish Tails: 4.75 (Happy Hour price)

The New Yorker: 11.00

Albert’s Burger Dip with Bacon: 11.50

The Verdict:

Of course we’ll be going back to Bad Albert’s. Their breakfasts are awesome. So, rather, I guess the question is whether we would go back for dinner. Yes, the food was so different than the fare we’ve had thus far in Ballard. Homey with interesting selections and combinations. I want to try the gorgonzola chicken sandwich and a few of their other options. Since they also offer my favorite beer, I think we’ll be going back sooner than later. Bad Albert’s may just become one of our go-to places not just for breakfast but for lunch/dinner as well.

  1. February 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Bad Albert’s Tap & Grill Re-Opened on Dec 3rd, 2011 with same name, same menu and the same staff including Head Chef Marco, Brian and Mary! Please come down for the same great food you have grown to expect from Steve and the Crew. Thank you!

  1. September 1, 2011 at 3:53 pm
  2. January 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm

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