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Banana Leaves, Pan-Asian on Florida and Connecticut Ave, North Dupont Circle - Reopen After Fire


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I just noticed yesterday that Best Hunan, on Florida Ave. just east of Connecticut (near the Royal Palace) is gone. In spite of its name, it specialized in Hong Kong cuisine, and was pretty good back in its early days. I used to get delivery from them every month or two back in the 90s. I particularly liked their Salt Chicken Cantonese Style. There's now a "pan-Asian" place called Banana Leaves in the space, which I see has its own WEBSITE. You can even order delivery or pickup online. Their website makes the claim that they are "rated among the best restaurant in Metro Washington DC", although they don't say by whom. One item on their menu: "Miracle Shrimp", described as "jumbo shrimp with spicy miracle sauce"....wow! Has anyone been?

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I just noticed yesterday that Best Hunan, on Florida Ave. just east of Connecticut (near the Royal Palace) is gone. In spite of its name, it specialized in Hong Kong cuisine, and was pretty good back in its early days. I used to get delivery from them every month or two back in the 90s. I particularly liked their Salt Chicken Cantonese Style. There's now a "pan-Asian" place called Banana Leaves in the space, which I see has its own WEBSITE. You can even order delivery or pickup online. Their website makes the claim that they are "rated among the best restaurant in Metro Washington DC", although they don't say by whom. One item on their menu: "Miracle Shrimp", described as "jumbo shrimp with spicy miracle sauce"....wow! Has anyone been?
Haven't eaten there, but I noticed the new signage while walking by there a week or so ago. They have a menu posted outside and it didn't give me any great hope. While it certainly LOOKED hip enough, they are serving the same old tired Chinese food from 50 years ago. :lol: Unless they've changed it since I was there.

ETA: Just looked at the website and it seems they have added some "pan-Asian" things to go with the Hot and Sour Soup. How can 1 restaurant do all that different stuff well?

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The "fried calamari served with homemade spicy miracle sauce" = (frozen) rubbery fried calamari + side of miracle whip blended with that red chili sauce in the plastic bottle that is a good friend of pho. Delish.
Are you reporting or imagining this?
Merely hallucinating. Painting pictures in my head.
Mind you, your pictures could turn out to be dead accurate. Wouldn't surprise me.
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Banana Leaves was my most recent restaurant experience; my partner and I tried it out for the second time this past Friday night. The first time I enjoyed my meal (BaBa Curry) but Bob was less enthusiastic (an ordinary Kung Pao Chicken). That night, the service was rather jumbled, but it was shortly after Sietsema's review and the place was pretty packed. This time, Bob liked his meal (Honey Peanut Noodles) and I was less enthusiastic (Banana Leaves Rice). I guess the problem on my dish was that it's presented as four different items (good spicy shrimp, a soggy curry chicken, a fried egg, and a small pile of condiments) surrounding a mound of coconut rice wrapped in a banana leaves--but no idea of how one is supposed to eat it :blink: . Our Crabmeat Rangoon appetizer was odd, not that far removed from some of Safeway's frozen appetizers. The place was much less crowded than the previous month. so service was more efficient. Best aspect of the place for me is good-sized portions for the money, and a nice variety that makes this different from other Asian options in the Dupont area. But the quality of the cooking is uneven, and often middling.

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The most remarkable thing about Banana Leaves is its online order site. I've been packing and moving and otherwise insanely busy over the last few weeks, so have been ordering in a lot, and this site is cool in that it allows you to pick the time you want it delivered (and it has always come on schedule) and allows you to put in special instructions (which they have thus far always followed). The menu is basically an exact replica of Nooshi and Spices, and the food tastes the same--decent, reliable Pan-Asian. My favorites are gado gado (I adore this dish, but other places seem to have taken it off their menus of late), Saigon spring rolls (which at times come out chewy but are tasty anyhow), Bali tofu (listed under appetizers but the same size as the entree tofu dishes, and with better sauce), Asian crunchy salad, and my personal weakness, the spicy crunchy tuna roll.

I don't think this place is terribly special, but its convenience and reliability have placed it firmly on my go-to list, and it hits the spot better than most other delivery places when you're shoulder-deep in boxes and packing paper.

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Banana Leaves is definitely on my go-to list of quick weeknight takeout places. I like the fact that they will do some of their deep-fried chicken dishes with grilled chicken breast & broccoli. They also do the best chicken curry laksa that I've had in dc; not too spicy, but with a really satisfying chickeniness and just enough kick to keep it interesting.

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Slightly gloppy chicken with broccoli, and unextraordinary and barely spicy Szechuan beef chock-a-block full of shredded carrots and celery.

I'd been curious about Mr. Chen's for a long time. What I found was a standard bearer of American Chinese carryout. Nothing exceptional, but at the same time it's questionable whether you can expect much out of what is listed on their menu. Sort of like starting out with a false premise and working from there. Don't get me wrong though. I LOVE orange chicken. Just have to be in the right mood for it.

I used to get delivery from Mr Chen's, but I switched to Banana Leaves a while ago. I think it's much better than Mr Chen's and covers most of the bases for americanized pan asian food.

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I agree, but Banana Leaves is further elevated thanks to it's delivery option. There are basically no other decent (eadible) options for Cleveland Park residents, so I'm glad I can get my fix of grilled chicken noodle soup without having to unglue myself from the couch

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I picked up some takeout from here tonight for the first time. The curry laksa was decent and I'd get it again. The kung pao chicken, however, was extremely disappointing. It wasn't inedible or anything, but it reminded me so much of something I might have put together back in my grad school days -- when I'd throw sliced chicken and vegetables in a frying pan and add some store-bought bottled sauce. Banana Leaves will get one more chance to make it into my regular rotation.

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I picked up some takeout from here tonight for the first time. The curry laksa was decent and I'd get it again. The kung pao chicken, however, was extremely disappointing. It wasn't inedible or anything, but it reminded me so much of something I might have put together back in my grad school days -- when I'd throw sliced chicken and vegetables in a frying pan and add some store-bought bottled sauce. Banana Leaves will get one more chance to make it into my regular rotation.

Sorry Doc, wish I had posted earlier to warn you, the Kung Pao is definitely a miss here. Try the Drunken Noodles (I go back again and again) or Lemongrass Chicken, I've tried other dishes (allergic to shrimp so can't help there) but can't recall this second. Definitely give them another chance, lots to like/love just no the Kung Pao (shame).

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In the annals of the ups and downs of delivery food in NW DC, let the record reflect that we got some perfectly good food from Banana Leaves tonight, including an interesting and unusual mushroom skewery thing. Not saying that it was OMG delicious, but it was all good enough to eat too much of. And, grading on a curve, that gets you at least a B+ in this part of town.

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