Island paradises can house supervillain volcano lairs, confound TV-watching fans for six seasons, and treat palates to a waterfall of tropical flavor. Today’s Groupon serves up the latter: for $15, you get $30 worth of Caribbean cuisine at Blue Bananas Cafe. Located in Center City on historic South Street, next door to Laff House comedy club, Blue Bananas' combination of laughter, island spices, and charming décor (art adorns all the walls) convinced CityVoter reviewers to name it a prime Philadelphia date spot.
The Blue Bananas menu of Caribbean dishes and Caribbean-influenced American favorites is designed to cause vivid hallucinations of ocean breezes, sand underfoot, and back-warming sunshine, even in the dead of a Philly winter. Appetizers such as the crispy coconut shrimp ($11.95) start things off with the flavor of Gilligan and the Skipper's favorite telephone, while the jerk chicken wings ($8.95) draw on a staple of Caribbean cooking and a prime ingredient in many of Blue Bananas’ best dishes: jerk spices made from freshly ground-up jerks. Dry-rubbing or marinating meats in this very hot mix of Caribbean spices gives dishes like the jerk pork ($8.50) or chicken ($12.95) sandwiches a distinctive flavor guaranteed to alter one's pronunciation of the word “man.” To get a larger mouthful of island goodness without swallowing a lot of sand, try one of Blue Bananas’ Caribbean special dinners such as a half-chicken rubbed in jerk spices ($14.95) or the mango coconut curry shrimp ($16.95). If you're in the mood for straight-up Caribbean comfort food, opt instead for the brown stew chicken ($12.95), cooked in brown sugar and traditional island spices, or the tender, slow-cooked oxtail stew ($14.95).
Adding to Blue Bananas' date-spot vibe are specialty cocktails ($9) such as the eponymous Blue Bananas (99 Bananas rum, Blue Curacao, and pineapple juice) and Giggle Juice (NAVAN vanilla cognac, pineapple juice, and a splash of lime). To send a clear message to your date, order the delightfully named Touch Me Please (mango rum, peach schnapps, vodka, cranberry juice, and OJ). Bring a cute coworker along to Blue Bananas and find out if you’d want to be stranded on an island with him or her, without all the commitment of a real shipwreck.
Philadelphia City Paper lauds Blue Bananas Cafe's island-inspired grub:
- Though it's his first restaurant, [chef/owner Rod] Millwood knows how to deliver satisfying island grub. Finely diced onions and peppers gave complimentary mango salsa, served with fried plantains, a distinctive bite. The jerk chicken, which boasted a winning interplay of moist meat and crispy skin, radiated with layers of dark, exotic spices. Hours of marinating and slow cooking helped brown stew chicken reach a pleasant depth. A side of cabbage slaw carried just enough sweetness to balance its mild acidity. The hint of heat and vinegary bite of greens made them the perfect match for sweet yams. – David Snyder, Philadelphia City Paper
Center City East
223 South St.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19147Get Directions