In Case You Missed It
Boulderganic Fall 2009
Student Guide 2009
Boulder Weekly Sweet 16 Anniversary
Summer Scene 2009
Best of Boulder 2009
Annual Manual 2009
Newspaper of the Future
Kids Camp Guide 2009
Wedding Marketplace 09
Student Guide 2008
Best of Boulder 2008
Annual Manual 2008
Join Our Mailing List
|June 12-18, 2008
• Past meets present
Amish farmers face high demand for organic foods
by Lisa Abraham
• Food Bites
Food happenings around town
Bimbamboo reinterprets Pan-Asian cuisine
by Clay Fong
All of us have biases that cause us to condemn or condone restaurants long before we set foot in them. It would take a fair amount of arm-twisting to get me into one of those medieval theme restaurants where warmed-over turkey legs play second fiddle to simulated jousting tournaments wherein the Black Knight tries to knock Sir Galahad’s block off. However, if the jousts weren’t simulated…
But my disdain of mock Middle Age mayhem pales in comparison to one of my biggest culinary biases, my leeriness of the so-called Pan-Asian restaurant. I’m skeptical of a single restaurant’s ability to do justice to the cuisine of a continent encompassing nearly 30 percent of the planet’s landmass. Armed with this bias, I swept into Pearl Street’s Bimbamboo, fully prepared to register my disdain for the menu’s ambitious scope, encompassing everything from Indian vegetarian samosas to Japanese green tea buckwheat noodles.
My friend Jack, a gifted guitarist and graphic artist, with a much more even temperament than myself, noted that the trendy ambience had a vaguely themed restaurant feel with bamboo serving as a major design element. However, we were both impressed by our attentive server, who followed up a friendly greeting by asking if we suffered from any food allergies. Having none, we felt free to order from the full expanse of the menu, featuring prices that are the same at lunch and dinner.
We opted for both the minimalistic and complex in our starters. The $4 edamame soybeans were exactly what you’d expect, although neither of us could distinguish the accompanying sprinkling of smoked sea salt from the unsmoked version. Our more complicated choice was the $6 Seoul-style chicken wings. While the side of sriracha lime sauce was too sweet, I couldn’t help but admire the crisp texture, which brought back happy memories of the Chinese-style fried chicken commonly encountered at wedding banquets.
A $10 Kal Bi rice bowl was Jack’s entrée, served over a toothsome blend of exotic rice. Kal bi consists of marinated beef short ribs, and in this dish it was both rich and tender. My main course was a $9 banh mi, the famed Vietnamese submarine sandwich. I’m accustomed to paying about 75 percent less for this sandwich in a dingy Oakland dive, and the bread was squishier than what I’m used to. Furthermore, the accompanying slaw was again too sweet. However, I’ll be darned if they didn’t accurately capture the flavors of roast pork and pickled vegetable found in the most authentic versions. From a taste standpoint, it was as good as any I’ve had.
Fortunately, the desserts exhibit a strong Western influence as sweets are the Achilles heel of Asian cuisine. Jack’s $5 mango ice cream ably acquitted itself with a pleasingly dense texture resembling kulfi, the Indian frozen dairy dessert. In a nod to Betty Crocker, a $6 order of roast pineapple and pound cake kabobs successfully melded 1950s retro with the Far East.
While not every dish was perfect and it may be difficult to vouch for the authenticity of every item on the menu, I have to admit I enjoyed Bimbamboo’s interpretation of Asian classic fare far more than I expected. Not every Asian-influenced restaurant needs to emulate a Chinatown dive, and Bimbamboo succeeds on reinterpreting traditional Asian fare in a way that’s both innovative and satisfying.
1710 Pearl St.,
Clay’s obscurity corner
My friend and dining partner Jack Hadley, besides being a connoisseur of fine ethnic fare, is an accomplished jazz, blues and rock vocalist and guitarist. Former lead guitarist for Otis Taylor, Jack is heavily influenced by such blues masters as the Three Kings of Blues, B.B., Albert and Freddie. Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix are also key influences. However, Jack’s playing style is definitely his own, being both warm and innovative. The Jack Hadley Band’s next in-town performances will be at the Boulder Outlook Hotel on June 17 and July 1 at 7 p.m. Additional information is available at http://www.myspace.com/thejackhadleyband.
back to top