Banana Leaf in Cary
Finally a proper Cantonese restaurant in the Triangle!
It is at the former location of Bombay Beijing off Cary Towne Blvd and Walnut St. They opened up approx three weeks ago. I know the name sounds like one of those South Pacific, Thai restaurants. Well they do serve a few dishes like "Malaysia Special Shrimp Noodles Soup", "Thai Spicy and Sour Shrimp" and Pad Thai but deep in the root it's a Cantonese restaurant.
Being a Hong Kong/Cantonese restaurant one must have a strong selection of seafood dishes and they do have a decent amount of selections such as Squid with Chili and Black Bean Sauce, Sautéed Shrimp and Scallops with XO Sauce and Typhoon Shelter Shrimp (to learn more about the typhoon shelter style seafood visit http://www.underspicycrab.com). Along with seafood they serve roast duck, Peking Duck, Black Pepper Beef Shortribs and Salted Fish, Chicken and Eggplant Casserole. During lunch hours they have lunch specials for $6.35 and a few noodle soup bowls for $7.95.
Tried the Chicken Pan Fried Noodles, Beef chow fun and Fried Fish Filet and Tofu Casserole last weekend and they were all great but could be saltier in general. The noodles could have fried a bit longer, the fish filet could have been crispier and too much ginger on the chow fun gravy but that's just nitpicking on a busy Saturday night.
The owners/managers, Candy and Tony and one of the chefs are from Hong Kong. Had a chat with Candy this afternoon and she told me if planned ahead of time, chef could whip up a proper Cantonese banquet meal, from soup to dessert. Speaking of banquets they've got two big round tables with lazy susan and each table can seat ten easily.
Finally, desserts. Cantonese are serious about soupy desserts. To name a few: Red bean soup, Mung bean soup, Purple Yam with Taipioca and Coconut Milk and Black Sesame Purée, etc. On weekends they serve complimentary desserts at the end of the meal. I know many people feel soupy deserts are disgusting... Oh well...
I wish I had taken photos or written down the names of all the marvelous dishes we had, because it was super-duper-awesome!
The same 5 of us that tried Los Comoles last weekend were back at it this Saturday night at Banana Leaf. I know I am not going to remember everything, especially because one of my dearest friends is from Hong Kong and she took care of the ordering for us.
For appetizers we had spring rolls, calamari (but not little onion ring shaped, these were big folds of calamari), and dumplings. The calamari was probably not my favorite, finding it difficult to eat in the shape it was in, plus it was a little spicy, but just fine. And how can anyone not like spring rolls and dumplings? #nobrainer
For entrees we had: chicken fried rice, pork belly w/ greens, beef chow fun (dry not with gravy), a Cantonese spicy soup, eggplant w/ chicken, Chinese broccoli, and another entree I cannot remember, + rice.
The bill for the 5 of us worked out to about $25 per person. That did not include alcohol because - horrors of horrors - they do not even have beer & wine yet. Aaaaaaaa!!!!!!
I was CRAZY for the eggplant w/ chicken and the pork belly with greens. OMG. They were so super good. My beef chow fun was awesome, too, but I didn't want to run to the kitchen and steal the whole wok, the way I did with the pork belly and eggplant. I wish I could remember that last enter, because everything was top-notch to me, except for the spicy soup… and that is only because it was VERY spicy and there is only so much heat my taste buds can take.
We were stuffed as could be and didn't have dessert.
I definitely would like to go back and might be a great location for one of our chow-downs at some point in the near future.
The wait staff were VERY NICE! Very attentive and wanted to make sure everything was tasty.
Thank you, sierrarot328i, for recommending this terrific place! Viva La Banana Leaf!
This may be a question for the "home cooking" board, but does anyone have a recipe for the eggplant/chicken dish like that was served at Banana Leaf? 24 hours later and I am still craving it. I don't know exactly what it was called to post a query on the home cooking board. It was aaaawwweeeeessssooooommmmmeeee
Just wanted to chime in again that a group of 7 of us went to Banana Leaf the night before Thanksgiving and had an absolute smorgasbörd that was absolutely kick-ass delicious. I got to have my chicken/eggplant again, as well as a bevy of new dishes. At this point I can't even come close to remembering them all, but that place is my definite new favorite showdown.
We also had the Peking Duck which was so yummy! The crispy skin and buns for one serving and then the duck meat in a sort of "hash" for the other. ("hash" is probably too Southern of a word…. not sure what else you call it).
And, I conveniently located a new embroiderer/monogramming tailor next door which I will probably start having to use to let seams out of my waistband.
My friend from Hong Kong ordered again for us and there was a ton of dishes that kept coming out. The bill before tip was somewhere between $20-$25 per person. We had at least 7 entrees and 2 or 3 appetizers.
Thanks for the heads up on this one. Went to Banana Leaf yesterday for lunch with my husband. What a nice addition to the Cary food scene!
We had the lunch special soups, wonton for me and roast duck for husband. Both soups were a great lunch for a cold day. Portions were generous, broth was delicious, book choy was well cooked, wontons were very nice. We will definitely be back to sample more of the menu. Very friendly attentive service as well.
Just to chime in again... we have eaten at Banana Leaf MANY times since they have opened and dearly loved it every time. The owners/staff are so amazing and the food continues to impress. Chinese New Year dinner was great... just wanted to encourage everyone to give Banana Leaf a try!
I wish I knew the proper names for everything. I bet Sierrarot3281 can help me. I have loved the lobster special they have in this garlicky sauce; the eggplant & chicken from the "casserole" menu; and the chow fun dry noodles. I'm awfully fortunate; many of the times we have gone, our good friend from the Beijing area has been with us and she has ordered a ton of options for the whole table.
Oh, if you don't get the pork belly on the appetizer menu, you will be sorry 83402 years from now.