If you live in NW and Banana Leaves isn’t a staple for delivery, it should be. The food is pretty hit or miss (recommendations below), but what sets this place apart is its efficient, free within 3 miles online ordering and delivery system. You don’t actually have to speak with a person and hope they heard you say ‘vegetarian’, and they actually read and heed the notes section for each item. Plus your food almost always arrives before the estimated delivery time.
Once I find something good on the menu I tend to stick to it, because I’ve been disappointed in the past by both staples like Pad See Eww and specialty items including the Malaysian Curry Laksa and skewered Trumpet mushrooms. The Pad See Eww is soggy and flavorless, the vegetarian version of Curry Laksa which boasts two types of noodles with tofu and veggies in a coconut broth is watery and bland, and the mushrooms are rubbery and also low on flavor.
The Honey Peanut Tofu is a clear winner, with nice texture and a pleasing sweetness. The eggplant dish (it’s just called ‘Eggplant’) is nearly perfectly stir-fried to where the outsides are seared but still bright purple and the flesh is tender and melts in your mouth. It’s in a garlic and ginger sauce that I wish they’d add Thai basil to, but it’s still pretty good. Pile some tofu and eggplant on top of the inexplicably green-tinged coconut rice, curl up on the couch, and dig in.
If you’re looking to appetize, the Veggie Spring Rolls and Pan-Fried Dumplings are solid, as is the Asian Crunchy Salad.
UPDATE: Tom Sietsema, Washington Post food critic, named the tropical salad as one of his favorites!
2020 Florida Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20009