Bann Next Door Morphs Into Sit Down Restaurant w/ 3 New Dishes
While the rest of us were relaxing (or partying) over the New Years holiday, the folks at Bann Next Door were keeping themselves busy. Their projects included a make-over of their dining room, which was previously designed as primarily a take-out and delivery operation. Over the past month, they’ve expanded the seating area and turned the space into a legit sit-down restaurant (don’t worry, take-out and delivery is still available). Additionally, they’ve added three new items onto their menu, a seafood noodle soup, stir fried egg noodles, and Korean inspired sliders. Since I’ve been an effusive admirer of their tacos, checking out their new menu items was a no-brainer.
They’re eager to please the Western palate while maintaining some semblance of Korean food with these new dishes, and the food dances between national borders to a good degree of success. The most successful I thought, were the new sliders ($8). They arrived plump with juicy meat (you can mix and match with chicken, bulgogi, spicy pork, or pulled BBQ pork flavors), jazzed up with lettuce, tomato and onions, and sandwiched between squishy sweet brioche.
However they’ve succumbed to the trend of calling any small sandwich, a ‘slider’. But the designation of ‘slider’ is actually doing these sandwiches a disservice – they’re much more substantial and filling than anything I would consider a slider. Arguments over the name aside, the pair of sandwiches hit the spot, and are served with tortilla chips and pleasantly potent smoked ancho chile salsa.
If you like lo mein noodles, then you’ll probably enjoy the Bann noodles ($8, add chicken or beef for +$2). They simply stir fry hearty wheat noodles and crunchy vegetables with a dab of sesame and soy, and create a dish remarkably similar to the aforementioned Chinese-American mainstay. The noodles are then served with a healthy scoop of rice, ensuring sufficient carbs to run a marathon or power through a work day afternoon. Oh, and it’s vegetarian friendly to boot.
Their spin on haemul kalguksu, which they’ve dubbed simply as ‘seafood noodle soup’ ($9), substitutes a turnip and dashi broth instead of the traditional dried anchovy driven broth. The result is a dish that’s inoffensive to Western palates, but a bit on the bland side for those that might prefer the bolder flavors that Korean cuisine often leans towards. In this case, Korean influences attempt to compliment, but not dominate the flavors. And there’s still plenty of substance to the dish, which is filled with mussels, shrimp, veggies, noodles and kamaboko fish cakes.
While the new dishes, save the sliders, didn’t blow me away, I appreciate the fact that the Bann team continually re-evaluates their menu and service. I’ll likely be back for the sliders, and if anything, I’ll be able to sit down and enjoy my beloved Korean tacos closer to the source.