A couple of days ago, hungry after a disturbing incident involving some thug with a pit bull, click here, I decided to check out the buffet at Banana Blossom restaurant at 1724 Lowry Avenue N.
And, actually, I had enjoyed samples of their food twice before: Banana Blossom provided the refreshments at the recent Jordan Area Community Council (JACC) annual meeting, which came off for the second year in a row without a hitch. Megan Goodmundson, who organized the meeting, saved a plate of stir-fried broccoli, put it in a cooler, and brought it half the length of the country for me to eat. This way I could be...
..."present in spirit" at the JACC meeting.
A couple days ago, when Megan went to pick up a receipt to document the refreshment expenses--to distinguish these JACC expenses from, for example, late night prostate exams at Gabby's Saloon--(sorry, that's a bit of an in-joke based on dubious expenses racked up by JACC leadership from two years ago)--the nice folks at Banana Blossom offered us a buffet "on the house," but we were in a hurry and so accepted four egg rolls instead. They seem particularly proud of their egg rolls, and should be: the egg rolls are perfect, especially when dipped in homemade pepper sauce made right there at the restaurant.
What makes Banana Blossom unique compared to other buffets is the SOUTHEAST ASIAN aspect. There are dishes like sour salad, tripe soup, and various kinds of pickled vegetables which aren't found on standard Asian buffets. The buffet is not large, but it's very adequate and the establishment has a clean and bright atmosphere. Most of the customers eating there are Hmong. This restaurant appears to be primarily Southeast Asians cooking for Southeast Asians. It's an authentic cultural experience, like being let into a Hmong home for lunch. I wish I had perused the menu, because I suspect there might be some unique offerings.
Banana Blossom is also part of the revitalization and turnaround of Lowry Avenue, and we're all glad to see them arrive on the scene, even if their arrival is actually something of a "rebranding effort." If you live or work in North Minneapolis, and you've overlooked this establishment in the past, at least go there at lunch time and check out their offerings. You will not be sorry.