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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

 

Shout-out at the Banana Leaf Pasta Cafe


This happened to us before, at the Grand Cafe in Chinatown. Maybe its a new law of physics. It has something to do with critical mass. And a lot to do with poor restaurant design.

We dined last night at the Banana Leaf Pasta Cafe, in the McCully Shopping Center. It was our second visit. it seems fair to give a place a second try. Maybe last night will be enough for awhile, though.

The pasta was competent, but not special. We felt that for the price charged, one can do better elsewhere. I can't complain about my Spaghettini with Fresh Clams, but neither can I praise it. It was ok. I asked for it al dente and it came al dente, though a bit on the chewy side. Nanette chose the Chicken with Anchovies Spaghettini and reported it to be acceptable and properly al dente.

We were just saying that it would be ok to drop in again if we were nearby and really wanted to have some pasta. Service was very friendly and attentive, and we noted that while the room was very live, we could easily hear each other so it wasn't difficult to hold a conversation. But it was early, and the center table, which could hold ten, was empty. We wondered what would happen if a party or large family were to come in.

We ordered dessert. A large family came in.

Taro Ice CreamNanette ordered the Panna Cotta and I asked for the day's special ice cream, taro.

At this point a normal conversation was impossible. the family was having a good time, and we were shouting at each other. By the time the desserts arrived, the family was having a very good time, everyone else was shouting too, and we could no longer shout loud enough to hear each other across the table.

That's the new law of physics I think. When the number of diners in an acoustically live space reaches a critical mass, the noise rises to a level where a normal conversation becomes impossible and remains there.

We couldn't talk any more and just wanted to leave. Our dining experience was ruined by the cacophony.

Oh, the Panna Cotta was gritty, not silky smooth (compare to Town's unbelievable buttermilk panna cotta), and the ice cream, though colored deep purple, had no taro character at all. It tasted strongly of coconut.

The last time we were here we tried their Tiramisu, which was unrecognizable as Tiramisu and disappointing.

 

Banana Leaf Pasta Cafe
McCully Shopping Center #103
1960 Kapiolani Blvd.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96826
(808) 946-3338



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