Ba Le (Paris), the banh mi and steam-table Vietnamese place on the west side of Jones Street between Geary and O'Farrell, has closed. Over its faded red awning is a bright orange sign that reads ``Coming soon: Pakistani and Indian food.''
This was a second-choice Vietnamese destination for most hounds around here. But the proprietors were friendly and they made a decent sandwich. Good shrimp rolls, too. (Also, it was on the shortest line between my apartment and my office, always a plus if I was running late.)
Now the question is: How much palak aloo will the market bear? In the emerging ``subcontinental crescent'' stretching over just two blocks from Jones and Geary to O'Farrell and Taylor, one can already choose among Little Deli Indian (east side of Jones), Shalimar (a couple doors to the south), Pakwan (southwest corner of Jones and O'Farrell), Naan 'n' Curry (north side of O'Farrell) and Shalimar Gardens (south side of O'Farrell, a half block to the east).
Don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining about this bounty. But I wonder if a shakeout lies ahead.