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Posts Tagged ‘Banana Bean Cafe’

Back to Banana Bean

Posted by cmh gourmand on October 16, 2009

Banana Bean Cafe
340 Greenlawn Ave
The undefined space that is south of the Brewery District and west of German Village.
443.2262

Banana Bean Cafe

The original Banana Bean spot has been replaced by a place called Skillet. The new Banana Bean has been open about a year and recently did a minor menu overhaul. It is time for an update on my trips back to Banana Bean. Let us begin with some history and background.

The first version of Banana Bean opened in 2006 in Schumacher Place, just across the border from German Village. The small cozy cafe with non traditional hours (closed at 7:00 PM – WTFrak) fast became a favorite of mine and many others. Banana Bean was and still is the only Floribbean eatery in Columbus. So are they fibbin’ about Floribbean – not according to Wikipedia. This style is a fusion of the flavors of the Florida Keys, Cuban, Jamaican, and Carribbean cuisines. For me, this creates the perfect spot when I am undecided – if I am not sure what country or style of meal I am in the mood for, Banana Bean takes the pressure to choose away. Different tastes blend together to create many memorable menu items. The Arnold Palmer is a mix of iced tea and lemonade, the perfect beverage for the undecided.

So what else has changed? Banana Bean (2.0) is almost the antithesis of the old residential cozy cafe. The restaurant is now west of German Village on Greenlawn with plenty of parking and a patio. The space is big with plenty of room to spread out and about. Another new addition, Banana Bean has booze. The old location was alcohol free. Now choices include cocktails, wine and bevy of beers. The best deal is at happy hour (Monday – Friday, 4-7 pm) with $2 Margaritas.

The neighborhood feel is gone (one past use of the new site was a strip club) as is the cozy connection with the small pool of servers (and the cooks to some extent due to proximity). The void is filled with a living room lounge feel, complete with fireplace as well as an outdoor patio to pretend you are near a beach vs. the TV feed to the Keys used to tease you at the original cafe.

Banana Bean on Greenlawn

Banana Bean on Greenlawn

While the feel (but not feeling) is gone, the food remains the same: unique, flavorful and fun. So let’s move on to the main course – eating. I will use exact words from my original review to describe the Cuban Sandwich. The #1 Little Havana Cubano is among the number one best sellers for lunch. This sandwich stacks citrus kissed pork tenderloin and sweet bolo ham with Emmenthaler Swiss cheese, dill pickle slices and Dijon in between two crunchy slices of Cuban bread.. This is still executed the same. The same goes for my default brunch or default dessert item – Bananas Foster French Toast features thick slices of Cuban style bread perfectly transformed into French Toast with fresh berries; Captain Morgan spiced rum sauce, bananas, and a dollop of whipped cream. Still the same.

Banana Bean Bananas Foster French Toast

Banana Bean Bananas Foster French Toast

What else does Banana Bean do well? A lot, but let’s go off the griddle with some unexpected selections. We begin with grits. What is a grit a Midwesterner may ask? Is it a nebulous magazine from the 1970’s, a movie, or food. Yes, the answer is food. The key to good grits is what gets added to the mix since the core corn porridge components are always the same. Banana Bean adds goat cheese to open the grit gateway for the uninitiated. Another unexpected combination is chicken and waffles normally found in the South and southern California. The extra allure of this dish is the blend of flavors – buttermilk fried chicken breast on an almond Belgian waffle with apricot honey syrup, it is hard to be more diverse than this concoction.

Crab Cakes

Crab Cakes

Banana Bean has your back for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And now with more space you can add in an after hours drink and a snacky snack or two before moving on to German Village, the Brewery District, softball (across the street) or your yacht on the ocean blue.


Funky Fact: The Patina of Key West???
That’s what the sign said at Banana Bean.

What the owners said (when I e-mailed them back in the day):
“patina” in the literal sense is brought on by exposure to certain atmospheric elements; we feel that our patrons, therefore, are exposed to the elements and atmosphere of establishments that one would find in South Florida/Key West, i.e., our menu, etc…….

Banana Bean Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Banana Bean Brunch Buzz

Posted by cmh gourmand on October 25, 2007


This review is long overdue.

Banana Bean Cafe
410 East Whittier (Schumacher Place /Merion Village / German Village)

Second Location as of September 22nd, 2008
340 Greenlawn
Columbus
614.443.2262

Banana Bean Cafe

 

Closed Monday
Tuesday – Friday
Lunch 11:00 am – 2:30 pm
Dinner 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday
Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch
9 am – 3 pm

(Reservations strongly suggested)

 

 

This cozy, low-key café has quickly became a favorite destination for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner in spite of a slightly off the beaten path location and scaled down hours of service. Banana Bean’s menu is a funky fusion of Floribbean flavors combining the cuisines of Cuba, Jamaica, the Caribbean and Key West. Peachy terra cotta style walls, a Conch Republic flag and a live TV feed from the Hogs Breath Tavern, an infamous Key West fixture, fuse with other fun elements to establish an atmosphere that transports diners far south of Interstate 70.

Different tastes blend together to create many memorable menu items. The Arnold Palmer is a mix of iced tea and lemonade, the perfect beverage for the undecided. The #1 Little Havana Cubano is among the number one best sellers for lunch. This sandwich stacks citrus kissed pork tenderloin and sweet bolo ham with Emmenthaler Swiss cheese, dill pickle slices and Dijon in between two crunchy slices of Cuban bread.

Since the majority of the menu is available all day, it is agonizing to decide among the eclectic choices but one “Bruncher” item is a must any time, even as a default desert. Bananas Foster French Toast features thick slices of Cuban style bread perfectly transformed into French Toast with fresh berries; Captain Morgan spiced rum sauce, bananas, and a dollop of whipped cream.

 

 

The crepes can be a meal or a dessert, or whatever – again the is the perfect place for the undecided – since many elements of the menu are interchangable.

 

 

The hours and the size of the cafe can sometimes be a challenge – but it is worth the wait if there is one. The service is top notch and friendly. The Bean is a must visit and probably one of the best Columbus has to offer for casual cuisine.

Funky Fact: The Patina of Key West??

Patina, that’s what the sign says, I looked up patina and googled it but could not get a precise answer, so I e-mailed the owners.

what the owners say –
“patina” in the literal sense is brought on by exposure to certain atmospheric elements; we feel that our patrons, therefore, are exposed to the elements and atmosphere of establishments that one would find in South Florida/Key West, i.e., our menu, etc…

What you need to know….

You won’t get wasted away in Margaritaville here – there is no alcohol available on the menu.

Vegetarian Monte Cristo

A version of this appears in C-Bus Magazine.

Banana Bean on Urbanspoon

Posted in CLOSED, restaurant reviews, restaurants, Vegetarian Friendly | Tagged: | 4 Comments »