Banana Blossom is on Park Boulevard in Oakland's Glenview district, in the space where The Purple Plum used to be. The stylish, modern interior is mostly unchanged -- the giant purple plum mural is (alas) gone, and instead the walls have been hung with some inoffensive abstract paintings. On Thursday evening, the place was about half full and people dropped in occasionally to pick up food orders. Two pleasant, efficient servers were running the place.
I don't know much about Thai food, but I liked everything we ordered. We started with Imperial rolls and a side of cucumber salad. the salad was a little sweeter than I'd prefer, but was cool, crisp and refreshing. the rolls were crispy and flavorful, and enhanced with a sweet dipping sauce, that could have benefited from a little chili heat.
The red duck curry was wonderful -- tasty chunks of duck meat, tomatoes, red and green peppers and pineapple, in a luscious red coconut-milky sauce that was good to the last drop. We also had a terrific eggplant and prawn dish with plenty of Thai basil pulling all the fresh flavors together, and a nice Pad Thai noodle dish -- nothing special, but with the same freshness of flavor and texture that we noticed in all of the dishes.
With a beer and large San Pellegrino, the bill came to $50, before tip. I do miss The Purple Plum, but Banana Blossom is a nice addition to this neighborhood's food line-up. We'll definitely be back.