I had to get to Banana Bean in order to figure out what all the hub-bub is about. I had tried to get in for brunch previously, but they were booked solid. Luckily, the additional patio seating that comes with the change in seasons increases the small seating capacity, so today I was good to go.
Banana Bean offers food from all parts of the Caribbean plus items from other places like America and Italy that have a decided island twist on flavor. The food isn't cheap, but the extra price does reflect the quality ingredients used at the Bean.
The eggplant fries were served with a sweet chili dipping sauce. The finger-sized cuts of eggplant were fried crispy, and the fruit and spice in the sauce makes this a delicious option.
The sandwiches are enormous. The vegetarian Monte Cristo was made with three slices of egg battered sourdough bread, a potato pancake, goat cheese and red peppers in a tomato chili jam. It is a beautiful contrast of flavors, with sweet, savory, spicy and earthy notes that intermingle into a perfect synergy. It was served with a small side of couscous.
The sandwiches are enormous. The menu allows you to split a sandwich with somebody at the rate of half price for each sandwich half. This might not be a bad plan as the sandwich could easily feed two normal sized people (or three Tom Cruises).
There are a number of other vegetarian items on the menu. There is no liquor license, and I'm not sure if you can BYOB. I'll recommend calling for reservations if you are going for brunch or on a weekend. But Banana Bean is well worth a visit.