22 December 2006, early morning
Last night my friends and I made it out to Banu for some Persian food. The restaurant is situated in the not-so-newly gentrified Queen West strip. I have been trying to go for ages, and it seems every time I almost make it out for food there something comes up. Yesterday I finally got to try the place out.
Banu has a small selection of exotic vodkas you can try. I arrived first and ordered a Zubrowka Bison Grass vodka to drink while I waited. (It was recommended by the waiter, since I have no strong opinions on vodka.) It came with some sour cherry juice, which probably wasn’t as sour as Shima would have liked, but which tasted quite nice nevertheless. The vodka was quite good. I was reminded of my friend Martha as I sat sipping my vodka straight. Steph showed up next and ordered a WOKKA SAKi, which is a saki vodka blend. I took a sip, and would have to say it was quite good as well. My guess is that all the vodkas they’ve picked for their drink menu are tasty.
Everyone else slowly filtered in, and we decided we’d just split a whole bunch of kebabs: koobideh (ground beef), chenjeh (beef tenderloin), shish lik (lamb chop), joujeh (chicken wing), and murgh (chicken breast). We also ordered some kashk-e baadenjaan, which I feel obligated to buy anytime I go to a Persian restaurant. Everything was served at once. The kebabs were all served on a giant dish on top of some thin Persian bread, with tomatoes and mint leaves on the side. There was another plate with more bread, the kashk-e baadenjaan, and a few other Persian sides. This is the first place i’ve been to where kebabs aren’t served with rice. I started with the chicken breast kebab. It was so damn good. All the kebabs are quite good. It was an excellent meal.
Banu is hands down the best place I’ve been for Persian kebabs. I’d say Zaffron comes close, but I think they serve much better meat at Banu, and the chef there cooked them just right. Everything we had was really juicy and tasty. Banu only servers kebabs; you won’t be able to get any Persian stews here. The meal was about $42 dollars each when all was said and done. (We split 8 orders of kebabs and a starter between 6 people; 3 of us ordered hard drinks, the others soft drinks.) Compared to other places I’ve eaten at, this is a deal, but compared to other Persian places its a bit pricey. (Shima and I both ate at Darvish for less.) That said, Banu really is a superlative Persian restaurant; I think it’s worth splurging on. Banu a nice looking restaurant with great service and excellent food — what else do you really need?