Up and Coming: BA Bellies

BA Bellies: Norcross, GA, USA

SO…this place hasn’t quite opened yet but I got the privilege and pleasure of attending a Yelp Elite Event here (yes, Yelp Elite status is amazing) and so I wanted to write about this before it opened to garner more attention to this place when it kicks off.  Chef Mike and Chef Dave did an amazing job with this event.  If you don’t know who they are and you’ve eaten at Nam Phuong off Buford Highway, well now you know who they are.  I did get a chance to speak a little bit to Chef Mike Yang.  Hailing from Flushing (probably the second Asian food capital in the country), he has extensive training from the Big Apple, including that of Per Se, a three-star Michelin dining establishment.  The man demonstrated blowtorching pork belly, with two kinds of torches, with two hands, at the same time.  That’s some skill, considering that the heat is enough to burn the skin off your hands.  He says he has no feeling anymore HA!

But more importantly, the food.  This Yelp event allowed us to try so many delicious things, and I ate all the delicious things:

  • green papaya salad
  • roasted brussels sprouts
  • fish-sauce chicken wings
  • seared octopus
  • seared sous-vide pork belly with peach and grape pickles plus asian slaw
  • hainan chicken rice with crispy chicken skin
  • vietnamese iced-coffee ice-cream with bacon bits and peanut brittle

Green Papaya Salad: my favorite, served with grape tomato halves and thin sliced bits of pork

– super fresh, fantastic quantity – this went for all the dishes and food provided.
– not overwhelming fish sauce
– mint? this was the one “flavor” that stood out with each bite for me.  New twist to papaya salad.

– none

BA Bellies Yelp - papaya salad

Fish Sauce Caramel Wings: second favorite of the night.  I could eat a bucket of these easily.

– unique glaze, not too sweet, not too spicy, not too salty, not too sour
– crispy bits throughout but not overcooked
– enough to take home (at least for us), my mom and sister are future patrons now along with 6 other people who saw my FB posts. I could eat 10 flats of these myself.

– none, but maybe if there could be a crispier coating on the wings like maybe lightly tossed in potato or corn starch before frying?

BA Bellies Yelp - chicken wings

Tiger Brussel Sprouts

– shareable, great quantity
– not soggy even though tossed in sauce when eaten right away

– too sour at the bottom: vinaigrette had pooled and the sprouts on the bottom got soaked towards the end.

BA Bellies Yelp - puff rice and brussels sprouts

Seared Octopus

– lucky to get a large shipment because we got two servings of this
– very tender, not rubbery (ie overcooked)
– nice sear on the pieces

– the sauce was a bit too strong: slightly overpowered the octopus and so did the arugula.

BA Bellies Yelp - octopus

Seared Sous Vide Pork Belly with Asian slaw: served with peach and grape pickles
– that pork belly was so tender
– perfect blowtorch sear gave that nice burnt flavor
– peach pickles were perfect: not too sweet, not too tart
– slaw wasn’t overly heavy with cream/mayo but fresh enough to lighten the pork belly

– grape pickles were way too tart, made me pucker a tad.
– more glaze/sauce on the pork belly or at least even coated: I think I ate one piece that didn’t have sauce and it was very bland.  Pure pork flavor ha!

BA Bellies Yelp - pork belly and rice

BA Bellies Yelp - pork belly

Hainan Rice with Crispy Chicken Skin
– great quantity
– rice is evenly coated with flavoring/seasoning, not too oily
– goes well with the pork belly (or maybe this is just what Asians need)
– who doesn’t love fried chicken skin? Super thin, crispy, hopefully less fat that chicharrones.

– NOT the Hainan rice that comes with Hainan chicken rice. 😦 Sadness. As a Singaporean native and parents from Malaysia, I grew up with Hainan (chicken) rice.  This was more of a fried rice dish.  It was good, but not what I expected.
– chicken skin bits were WAY too salty in some parts (mostly the center of each piece).  I still ate it anyway because it’s chicken skin!

BA Bellies Yelp - chicken rice chicken skin

BA Bellies Yelp - %22Hainan%22 chicken rice

Vietnamese Iced-Coffee Ice-cream with Bacon Bits and Peanut Brittle and house cookie
– probably one of the best ice-cream flavors I’ve had.  That bacon and peanut brittle went perfectly with it.
– house cookie that came with it was perfect: not too sweet, not too savory/salty, soft in the middle

– bacon chunks could be smaller because by itself it’s really salty and doesn’t incorporate well with the ice-cream unless you bite off a chunk, then scoop up ice-cream.

BA Bellies Yelp - viet iced coffee ice-cream with bacon caramel and peanuts

I have to also add that I did have their virgin watermelon cocktail and it was so refreshing.  Lightly sweetened yet not overpowering with watermelon and that delicious mint.  SO tasty:

BA Bellies Yelp - virgin watermelon mixer

All in all a summary:

  • green papaya salad: **** (4 stars)
  • roasted brussels sprouts: ***.25 (3.25 stars)
  • fish-sauce chicken wings: **** (4 stars)
  • seared octopus: ***.65 (3.65 stars)
  • seared sous-vide pork belly with peach and grape pickles plus asian slaw: ***.75 (3.75 stars)
  • hainan chicken rice with crispy chicken skin: ***.5 (3.5 stars)
  • vietnamese iced-coffee ice-cream with bacon bits and peanut brittle: ****(4 stars)
  • virgin watermelon “cocktail”: ***.85 (3.85 stars)

I really enjoyed this.  It’s fantastic to know that there are more good Asian restaurants coming to Peachtree Corners/Johns Creek.  While Gwinnett has its Korean food, I hope that in being its neighbor, this restaurant will start a new trend of exploding the food scene up near where we are and make the OTP one step closer to being more gastronomically awesome like the ITP .  Keep an eye out for them.  The restaurant is located off Peachtree Parkway at the corner of Peachtree Parkway and Jay Bird Alley, just across the street (heading south) from the Starbucks and Walgreens pharmacy.

6025 Peachtree Pkwy #9, Norcross, GA 30092
I’m so sad I’ll be missing the opening, but hope to get to eat there once they are up and running at full steam!
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This entry was published on June 11, 2016 at 22:23. It’s filed under fusion, restaurants, The Gastronome, Vietnamese and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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