Dish Gal's guide to getting the most out of life, one meal at a time...

Banq in the South End

Last Friday night Z and I had tickets to see Joel McHale at the Wilbur, err I mean, The Roxy (last minute venue change-bizarre). At first we wanted to do pre-show dinner at nearby Troquet-that is, until I looked at their prices. Okayyy, change of plans!

When Skylar and Michelle said they would come to dinner also, I knew the place we should go-Banq. Though not particularly close to the theatre district, I thought that trendy Banq would make for a fun Friday night dinner spot. We arrived around 8 pm; the front windows were open, leaving the front, bar area of the restaurant open to the warm summer breeze. Though I've seen the famed undulating wooden ceiling in photos, it really is quite striking in person.

We were seated right away at this very large banquette table. While quite an impressive table, it felt odd with just four people, and kind of isolated, as we couldn't see any other diners-which in some circumstances could definitely be viewed as a positive. The drink list was overwhelming, in a good way-I couldn't decide what I wanted among so many yummy sounding options! I settled on the watermelon mojito (I've really got to stop with the mojitos and venture out, but I can't help myself!). It was so yummy, with pureed fresh watermelon that tasted like actual watermelon, not artificial watermelon flavoring.

Next up, it was time to decide what to order. Here's where the night went downhill. We decided to start with two appetizers, and then each get an entrée. This took so long to decide on, that when our waiter declared "that's not going to be enough food," I wanted to give up and just order more cocktails. He informed us that these appetizers are very, very small, so would not work to share. He recommended we order two of each. Stupidly, we agreed.

When the appetizers finally came, the consensus was: "These are not too small to split!" Sure, they weren't "awesome blossom"-size by any means, but they were not one-biters like at Masa, either (which are also only $1 each). At around $12 for each appetizer, I could barely swallow the food without wanting to cuss out the waiter. But, I put my anger aside in order to accurately take note of how it actually tasted.

So how was it? Not that good. Our first choice was scallops with guava sauce and wasabi-cured cantaloupe. The scallops tasted good, but the description failed the dish, or vice versa. I did not taste any guava, and I did not taste any wasabi cantaloupe. Actually, I didn't even realize that WAS cantaloupe until right now, when I was forced to go back and double check the menu. The other appetizer we chose was the mung bean and mushroom crepe. I couldn't really discern any flavors at all. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good, either.

Our entrees arrived not too long later. I chose the zucchini and tofu steak with Thai basil. I was pretty excited for this, as I really enjoy vegetarian entrees (despite not being a vegetarian) and I LOVE love love Thai basil. So when it turned out to be a mushy and flavorless mess, I was beyond disappointed. Z's choice of muscovy duck was a better one- the duck was well-prepared and the cinnamon-jus was a nice accompaniment. Skylar and Michelle shared a pork dish that I only had a small nibble of, so can't really comment on. It was good, but I could sense they weren't thrilled (ladies, let me know if I'm wrong here).

We then rushed off to catch the show. I left with a bad taste in my mouth, from the weird tasting zucchini dish, the pushy waiter, but most of all, from the enormous bill that landed in our lap in the end.

With all this being said, I actually would return to Banq-- but only for drinks and to sit at the bar though. . .

(p.s. I tried to come up with some sort of pun with Banq and bank account, but decided to spare you all. )
(p.p.s. photo of the ceiling courtesy of )

Banq on Urbanspoon

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