Monday, April 05, 2010

April 5th - Banana Leaf Malaysian - Fairview - Broadway, Vancouver on April 2nd

Dungeness Crab in Singapore Chili Sauce
We have a friend, J from Calgary in town.  He is a sailing race called the Southern Straits.  Everything that could go wrong happened, ...before the race started.  That included one of the crew bailing the night before after David Jones, official meteorologist for the race, gave the dire forecast.  J was not supposed to be by until Saturday after the race but since they ripped the main sail in the first few minutes of the race, he had the night off so D picked him up to hang out for the evening off the boat.

Being from Calgary, he was in the mood for some good local seafood.  We took him up the road to Banana Leaf Malasian restaurant.  We were not sure what may be open on Good Friday so we wanted to stay local.  Plus, J had to head back to the boat for the night. 

We eat at Banana Leaf ever few months.  It is fairly reliable.  The only dish I would not recommend is the Alaskan Cod steak.  They once had a whole Black Cod on the menu and we ordered the steak mistakenly a few months ago and it was a sore disappointment.  Otherwise, the food is consistently tastey though slightly oily, but I accept that from most Asian restaurants and bring it up for information rather than judgement. :)

We started with the Dungeness Crab in Singapore Chili Sauce.  It is a Whole 3lb Crab, chopped, battered and fried. Then served in a Sweet Chili Sauce.  The Crab was meaty and the sauce was addictive.  They thankfully provided us with all the Crab eating tools as well as half a dozen wet wipes.  I normally do not order crab or lobster out because of the mess it makes.  Still it was a very good dish.

We also had the King Prawns in Garlic Peppercorn sauce.  This dish was just okay.  There we 4 large whole prawn, battered and fried covered in large,crushed peppercorn pieces.  We could not make out where the head was and which was the tail.  The meat was quite spare and the sauce bland.  I would pass on this next time.  At this point, I had to stop and ask our waiter where our rice was.  We had ordered 3 Coconut rices.  They are sticky rice cooked in Coconut milk, served in a Banana Leaf.  He brought us one and continued on.  We asked where the other two were and he had said they ran out.  If we had not asked, he would not have told us and I found that very annoying.

We also ordered Sambal Chili Fried Okra, Eggplant and Green Beans.  I really like Sambal.  It is a dry sort of deep savour chili heat.  It normally has baby, dried shrimp but they replaced most of these, with small fresh shrimp.  It was okay but it made it more of a Seafood dish rather than a Vegetable side.  Still, very nice.

We finally had the Abundance of Seafood in Gulai Sauce.  The Gulai sauce was like a coconutty curry sauce.  It totally lives up to its name.  It is replete with Calamari, Fish, Mussels, Clams, Scallops, Prawns and Pineapple chunks. 

Cost: $$-$$$
Ambience: Dark and thematic of the area but a bit aged.
Staff: Friendly but dropped the Rice order without an update.
Location: Fairview near VGH
Wine list: limited

Banana Leaf (Broadway)
820 W Broadway
Vancouver, BC
(604) 731-6333

Banana Leaf (Broadway) on Urbanspoon
I may even go 2 Maples because of the neglect on the Rice order and the bland King Prawn. 3 is fairly reliable and 4 is good on several levels of service and experience.  Above that are superstars for me that I rarely come across but I feel I need to leave the head room. :)

The wine with our meal was a Pfaffenheim Gerwurtraminer from Alsace.  Floral, sweet but not sickly sweet.  A bit heavier than the Goos I like with spicy asian but it was nice.

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