Oh man, Nomsters. We don’t even know where to begin because Bar Bao was THAT good. Located on 3100 Clarendon Boulevard in Arlington, VA, they got it going on for real. If you’re a fan of Asian fusion, you need to head on over because your stomach will love you so much afterwards. We went for brunch on Sunday with DCFoodporn and pretty much ordered the entire menu (#sorrynotsorry).
We started our meal off with their Pen-apple Cream drink ($10). We weren’t really in the mood for alcohol, BUT we couldn’t resist when we saw the name. Were any of you guys into that apple-pen, pineapple-pen video? It went viral not too long ago so we’re guessing y’all are familiar. If not, you’re in for a TREAT – click for the infamous clip. Anywho, their cocktail was made with Smirnoff sourced pineapple vodka, pineapple juice, peach liquor, and coconut lychee foam. If you’re a fan of fruity drinks, definitely give this a shot. It was just the right amount of sweet, and as you can see, the presentation was gorgeous. Sidebar: can we just talk about how cool this wall is?
Then we ordered a slew of apps because that’s just how we roll:
- Tuna Poke Taco ($14, off their lunch menu): this starter came with 3 tacos in wonton shells with slaw and tobiko. A must for fish lovers everywhere!
- Bulgogi Fries ($12, off their lunch menu): made with short rib beef, kimchi, and sriracha mayo. So much yum in our tum! $12 may seem steep, but they give you a TON of food…like we couldn’t even make a dent. They weren’t messing around when they said these were “snacks to share.” Also, their kimchi was surprisingly good! We weren’t sure how we’d feel about it, but it was flavorful, and upped the plate’s texture game tenfold with its crunch.
- Wonton Nachos ($12, off their dinner menu): Another winner! If you’re into loaded nachos, definitely order this plate. This baby was stacked high with braised beef, mozzarella, cilantro, onions, jalapeños, and sriracha mayo. Perfect for a late night hang! Beer and nachos are always a do in our book.
- Lemon Grass Chicken Dumplings ($6.5, available during lunch & dinner): fried morsels of goodness. If you prefer, you can get them steamed. We love all things lemon grass so we went with this, BUT they also have pork, veggie, and regular chicken in addition to pork & shrimp siu mai, shrimp siu mai, and BBQ pork buns.
above: aren’t these beautiful? || below: wonton nachos for days
above: DCFoodPorn show us how to do a bamf cheese pull || below: dumplings, dumplings, dumplings
Then came the next wave of food…
- Fried Chicken Bao, Bulgogi Cheesesteak Bao, and BBQ Short Rib Bao (all priced at $8 for an order of 2): Nomsters, Bar Bao’s buns were SO freaking delicious. They were soft AF, and the flavors were ALL on point. These babies are available all day long so go in whenever you please to get your fix. We took clear shots of each kind below so get your scroll on. Our personal fave? The fried chicken. The shredded carrot gave it a nice crunch, and the sauce on the poultry was just the right amount of sweet (it kind of tasted like asian-inspired mumbo sauce). Definitely get that one for sure when you go.
- Hangover Soup aka Lao Pho ($9): Can we just talk about how awesome this deal is! $9 for a GIANT bowl of pho? Um, we think yes. This contained so many goodies: oxtail, short rib, beef meatballs, not to mention their house condiments tray with jalapeños, bean sprouts, lime, and more. If you had a rough night (or even if you didn’t and you’re just cold), this is the dish for you! The noodles were cooked to perfection, and the broth was straight up addicting.
- Classic Pork Belly Bao-nedict ($12): This was arguably THE most creative thing we had there. We had lots of chicken and short rib in other dishes so we decided to get their pork belly, and ermergerd it was such a good call. Sidebar: isn’t the name of this dish awesome? We thought the play on words was so fun! Bao-nedicts? That’s so great, ha (#NerdyAndProud). Anywho, this plate came with a side of home fries. Instead of the traditional english muffin, Bar Bao used buns, hence bao-nedict! The flavors worked beautifully, but there was a sweetness to it that we couldn’t place. It wasn’t a bad sweet though – we actually really enjoyed it because it wasn’t overpowering.
above: the fried chicken bao || below: an overheard shot of all our baos [insert heart emoji]
Bar Bao’s baos, ha – the short rib bao above, the bulgogi cheesesteak bao below.
We seriously need to come back for another round of bao-nedicts – asian fusion FTW (!!!!)
The yum pho we told you about…
Last but obviously not least, we got their Banana and Nutella Eggroll ($6) and their Waffle Ice Cream ($9). If you’re big into banana, we highly recommend getting the first dessert. It had GREAT crunch, which contrasted well with the warm, gooey fruit. However, the clear winner between the two was the waffle ice cream. To be fair, we LOVE egg cones so the eggrolls were doomed from the start. The “sundae” came with vanilla ice cream, seasonal fresh fruit and pocky sticks. Think happiness in a bowl, nomsters!
Cue the drool…
What a solid meal! We absolutely loved dining at Bar Bao, and we’ll all be back…with friends and family. They seriously don’t mess around – their Asian fusion = goals. So, if you’re craving this style, definitely hit them up. You’ll leave completely and utterly satisfied without putting a huge dent in your wallet. Definitely let us know how you enjoyed it, and check out our Virginia tab for more! ‘Til next time, nomsters.