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Chef Bala Smith

Alum of Chez Papa Resto, Firefly

No menu planned.

  1. The Chef
  2. Reviews
  3. Send Message

Chef Bala Smith was born in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where he developed his passion for cooking as a young man. As the oldest child, one of his responsibilities was cooking for his six younger brothers and sisters. Three years ago, he followed his dream and enrolled at The California Culinary Academy, San Francisco, where he obtained his degree. While attending CCA, he got his first job at Chez Papa Restaurant. He later moved to Firefly in Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, and has just recently started Vincy Sunset, which is a Caribbean pop up restaurant.

Total Reviews:
257 reviews
Average Rating:
4.1 out of 5 stars
5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star
Good portions. Something wasn't quite right about the taste.
4  Stars
By Richard Yeung
The oxtail was delicious and had a wonderfully soft texture. The seasoning was a little unusual with a hint of spices, which worked really well. The rice and slaw were also excellent. The portion was reasonable and I would order this again.
4  Stars
By Sumit Sen
The combination of flavors and textures was excellent. Even though slightly spicy, my kids liked it, as did we. The side salad was nicely seasoned and had tasty pickled radishes. My only complaint was the portion size which was very small.
4  Stars
By Sumit Sen
A perfectly balanced blend of flavors and textures. I've never had oxtail before, but was enchanted with how it was prepared and will order again.
5  Stars
By Jeff Rodman
Nice portion size, very flavorful meet and the congri and smoky carrote puree is delicious. Would order again.
4  Stars
By Emily Walling
Ahh, so beautifully seasoned, so tasty! I'd definitely order this baby again!
5  Stars
By Debbie Guardian
I think it was really well-prepared and heats up very nicely, but I just don't think I'm generally a fan of this dish. (It was the first time I've had it.)
3  Stars
By A L.
Have ordered this before and loved it. I'm not sure if Chef Smith changed the jerk seasoning. It was a little on the sweet side.
4  Stars
By N K
Felt like I was in Jamaica again! For me, the chicken spices were the perfect level of heat. Anymore and it would have taken away from the other seasoning. The sweet potato gratin was delicious. Love the pairing of the two. Chicken is great cold too.
5  Stars
By Laura Wilcox
Very hearty portion size! One teenager ate the entire thing, while the other ate half. Both loved it. The cheesy garlic bread was a huge hit! Would definitely get again.
5  Stars
By Laura Wilcox
The dish has some good flavor, but we felt like the chicken had a strange aftertaste. The pasta was good and the garlic bread was excellent. I don't think we would order again.
3  Stars
By Caitlin Davis
5  Stars
By Jennifer Knappick
Amazing! The acidity of the onions paired with the smokiness of the carrot puree and the rich/tender meant. Hello happiness in my mouth! The rice was also delicious and a great texture compliment. Everything was delicious.
5  Stars
By Kaitlin Davis-Allen
The food was delicious. Just the right serving. Only "beef" was the reheating instructions. We followed them, and our meal was cold. Had to heat it up for longer than instructed.
4  Stars
By Sara Menefee
The chicken was quite pink at the bone...had to put it in the oven for about 20 mins to cook it through. By that time, I had eaten the gratin and the slaw then had the chicken when it was done. Not a very enjoyable relaxing meal. Flavors were good.
2  Stars
By C H.
Hands down delicious! Would definitely order this again. The sauce was rich and creamy and the shrimp was well seasoned. Yummy!
4  Stars
By Taylour Nevis
my son liked this pasta dish. It looked and smelled delicious.
4  Stars
By Lynn Goodman
Would provide higher rating if it weren't so skimpy on the amount of pasta.
3  Stars
By YIng Jura
Hearty portion, delicious and comforting. Definitely would order again!
5  Stars
By Katherine Park
Wonderfully complex flavor with generous portions of meat. Didn't mind the bones either, since that's what to expect with oxtail dishes. The slaw was also very tasty and balanced the stew well with contrasting textures. Will definitely order again!
5  Stars
By V P.
Love. The pappardelle was just right. Not mushy at all, so I got to chew and enjoy its texture flavored with the classic meat sauce. Will order this one again.
5  Stars
By John Gosser
Great combination of flavors. A classic done well. Will order again!
5  Stars
By John Gosser
The meat was so delicious and tender! Not as good as the slow braised beef, but definitely up there! The potatoes were a little dry, I kinda of wish there was more liquid on the dish. Overall, would eat again.
4  Stars
By Tiffany Montano
Super rich and tasty. Wish I could afford to eat this more often!
5  Stars
By E M.
I order Munchery for dinner Monday – Thursday and this is one of the first meals that I was not able to finish. The meat was overcooked and hard. Was not happy with the meal.
1  Stars
By Mai Tran
I always make a point of checking out what Bala is preparing... Another good cold-evening dish with lots of warmth and entertaining flavours and textures. Honest to the "meat lasagna" tradition, yet very different at the same time.
4  Stars
By Lc Boros
Tasty comfort food for a cold evening. More going on in the bolognese than normal, which was a plus, and the big noodles suit the sauce much better than spaghetti would have.
4  Stars
By Lc Boros
This was great - I cooked it for a little longer and I think it turned out even better.
5  Stars
By Jordan Young
This was tasty! The chicken was tender and moist, even after being microwaved, and the sweet potato gratin was a nice balance of savory and sweet. Will definitely order again!
5  Stars
By Vanessa Faulkner
5  Stars
By Denise Tyree
Great flavor. Quantity was on the low side, compared to other entrees I've ordered here.
4  Stars
By B T.
The spices in this dish were extraordinary! The shrimp were small but most and flavorful. The soba with peanut sauce really worked. Thanks Chef Bala for accomodating my food allergies. I'd definitely order this again.
5  Stars
By I B.
My favorite meal so far from Munchery. This could easily serve two adults as there is quite a bit of food. Chicken is really tasty and the rice and beans balance it out and make it a traditional jerk chicken meal.
5  Stars
By Juliet Schiller
Unexpectedly amazing. I expected a good salad, but I really loved it. Will definitely order again...
5  Stars
By N P.
Generous portion. Very tasty. Would gladly order again.
5  Stars
By Christina Ferrigno
Mediocre. Steak was steak. It wasn't more tender/moist/flavorful than other normal steaks. Fries were dry (heated w/ oven). Most disappointing was sauce..no flavor at all. I'm sad bc i love chez papa..2 stars because i still ate it as it's edible
2  Stars
By T L.
Loved the dressing. The salad was huge but I somehow managed to polish it off myself! Would definitely get again.
5  Stars
By Amy Stewart-Deaker
Loved it!
5  Stars
By Alaina Austin
The noodles were perfect, mixed with the incredibly tasty sauce and cheese. Very special. Only complaint, not enough Parmesan. A side of bread or a veggie would be a good option too.
5  Stars
By Paula Ponsetto
The only problem with this dish is that there wasn't enough. I inhaled it. Great flavors. The noodles were nice and soft. I wish I had ordered two!
5  Stars
By Andrea Banks
The meal was delicious. I would have preferred it to be a bit more spicy since I am used to eating spicy jerk chicken when I was living in Toronto, Canada.
4  Stars
By Vinesha Perera
The arugula, melon and goat cheese salad was fresh, delicious and wonderful. LOVED it.
5  Stars
By Susan Ito
delicious and unusual.
5  Stars
By Liz Rutter
The sauce was delicious. I was a little concerned about reheating chicken since it sometimes gets rubbery in the microwave but it was still tender and delicious.
5  Stars
By Leah Eizadi
Loved this salad, very healthy and tasty, perfect for lunch. My second time ordering - I could eat this every week.
5  Stars
By Christine Dailey
The catfish was superb! The truffle mac was also very good; but the collards were so salty that I just couldn't eat them. The generous portions of catfish and truffle mac were enough to fill me, but I hate to see good collards go to waste!
4  Stars
By Alexis Bryce
The sauce is a bit too heavy for my taste. Other than that, I like the flavors.
4  Stars
By T H.
Chicken was so tender and flavorful, and the sauce was delicious- complemented the chicken and the potatoes perfectly. The potatoes crisped up nicely in the toaster oven. Green beans were perfectly cooked- green and crisp, very fresh. Portion was perfect (potatoes are filling- I shared with my children). I would totally order this again!
5  Stars
By Lois Balster
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