This new Thai restaurant is more creative than most, and in its first year has attracted a large following, largely among young diners. Although most of the menu is made of the standard Thai dishes, it has enough original dishes to set it apart. (A few are just renamed classics, but never mind.)
The Banana Blossom opened in 2009, taking over a strip mall space formerly used by Cafe Zen (which moved next door). The owner goes only by the name Jimmy; he grew up in Thailand, where his parents operated a noodle shop. After traveling for a few years, he wound up in New Orleans and opened shop. He must have passed through California, because he makes a fuss about using a minimum of disposable products--no throwaway bamboo chopsticks, for example.
It's a small, narrow room with a handful of tables and a bright, colorful design. The atmosphere is dominated by the sound of an unusually happy, young crowd, which keeps place hopping most of the time. Sometimes a line forms to get a table.
The most exciting food is found in the day's specials, particularly if you're in the mood for seafood.