Something I didn’t know about Thai food: There are regular Thai restaurants and there are upscale Thai restaurants. Banana Leaf Modern Thai in Mason is an upscale Thai restaurant. The seating areas are warm and fuzzy with a beautiful blend of colors and textures, and, well, the prices are somewhat upscale.
I went with one of my close girlfriends, and what we did not know is that if you go for lunch on Saturday or Sunday you receive a dinner menu with dinner prices.
I don’t know if this is common practice, but I can tell you I am no hungrier during Saturday or Sunday lunches than I am during lunch on a week day!
That being said, the food was very good. The flavors and spices were delicious.
So, you’ll want to read on.
Our first impression of the menu was that we thought it was smaller than a typical Thai restaurant. But our bubbly waitress informed us that other than the pot stickers and spring rolls, everything was pre
pared exactly at the moment the order was placed. She also said they can prepare foods gluten-free, and for guests with food allergies the kitchen staff will make sure particular ingredients are not in the dishes prepared for you.
We decided that we would skip the typical spring rolls and chicken satay and order an appetizer that was a little different, something to help us see what makes Banana Leaf “modern Thai.”
We ordered The King Cobra.
As you can see from the picture, the presentation was unique. It included hot peppers, shrimp, pine nuts, toasted coconut, chopped limes, a ginger paste, lemongrass, chopped ginger, and red onion with Belgian endive leaves. They were like lettuce wraps where you build your own “leaf” with a mixture of those ingredients.
The waitress warned us not to pile on the red peppers, as they have some kick.
But, being experimental, we decided to add a few of them on our leaf. And holy smoke, we got lit up! We were grabbing ginger, limes, anything to take out the burn! We were still blowing our noses 30 minutes later! Anyway, they were good. Each topping had a unique flavor; however, if you did not use the ginger paste, they were very dry. I would have enjoyed a few small sides of sauces that would give the leaves some moisture.
For our main course, we ordered Diva Sea Bass with a Chili Sweet Sauce and Thai Grilled Beef with a side of Grilled Baby Bok Choy (the side was extra).
The Sea Bass portion was somewhat small, but absolutely delicious and moist. The grilled beef was so tender and the “flavorful spice sauce” was unique. The grilled baby bok choy was like no vegetable I have ever had. It truly tasted grilled and was incredibly tender.
The desserts are very “Thai,” but after all we ate I could not rise up for the experience. Mango Sticky Rice and Lychee ice cream just didn’t sound good after the big lunch, so we just asked for the bill.
The food was absolutely fabulous. Really. The flavors were unique and everything was fresh.
My only complaint may have been paying dinner prices on a Saturday for lunch.
So, my advice: Go Monday through Friday for lunch. Or, go for dinner any evening when you can have a glass of wine and take your time enjoying the experience.
And, if you order the King Cobra, listen to your waitress and go easy on the red chili’s!
Written by Anne N.