WASHINGTON - One of the new kids on the culinary block here, not far from Dupont Circle, is a jewel box of a place called Banana Leaves.
Banana Leaves serves a pan-Asian mix including Vietnamese spring rolls, Peking duck, Thai stir-fried basil leaves, Singapore noodles, and Bali tofu. There's also a Japanese sushi bar. And let's not forget Malaysia, which is represented by the noodle dish mee goreng, the aromatic curry laksa, and Melaka-style baba curry.
The interior has a yin-yang personality. The downstairs is all yang: stylish nail-polish-red walls and leather seats, and black granite tables on a shiny floor. The color palate continues with red wood soy sauce bowls, black chopsticks, and white linen napkins.
The upstairs is all yin: soothing celadon walls display abstract art, and the tables and seating are dark wood.
Terry Walz, who lives in the neighborhood but once lived in the Malaysian state of Melaka, comes for the baba curry, which he praises for its authentic flavors. "This neighborhood has a fair number of ethnic restaurants, which is a godsend for civilization," said Walz. We can't vouch for the rest of the block, but this small restaurant was an answer to my stomach's rumbled prayers.
Banana Leaves, 2020 Florida Ave. NW, 202-986-1333, mybananaleaves.com.