When a Thai joint rocks a perfect hangersteak (in a Thai port wine reduction), it’s clearly a cut above. At Banana Leaf Modern Thai, there are many such indicators: the artful presentation (young coconut curry with shrimp served inside a real coconut); the pad Thai Goong topped with a crosshatching of cooked egg; the kaffir lime and chile sauce; the heaping platter of chicken, veggies, noodles, and sauces for lettuce wraps; and the mango and sticky rice for dessert.
Chef Pom Tongdangjoue operates three greenhouses in Liberty Township, where he grows all the herbs and much of the produce that he can’t otherwise source locally, keeping flavors ultra-fresh. Banana Leaf also nails the basics: fluffy jasmine rice, hand-cut flat noodles, and still-crisp cooked vegetables. Much of the menu is dairy- and gluten-free by nature of the cuisine, including the coconut crème brûlée.
Come thirsty, as there are long wine and cocktail lists, plus local and import suds. We chose the hefmosa beer cocktail (hefeweizen and orange juice, garnished with a chile) with our entrées and paired coconut bubble tea and French press coffee with dessert. How has this suburban gem been open for seven years and we’ve just now found out? Consider us more than ready to make up for lost time. Preferably seated on the charming back patio.
Banana Leaf Modern Thai, 101 E. Main St., Mason, (513) 234-0779, bananaleafmodernthai.com
Originally published in the July 2016 issue.