Stepping out: BBC Asian Bar and Café
Banh Mi Boba Tea and Crêperie, located in the Central West End, renamed itself as BBC Asian Bar and Café about a year ago. This small, homely restaurant is neatly decorated with an abstract painting and two large mirrors hanging on the dark walls with leftover Valentine hearts still on the windows. There is a bar by the cashier’s counter where you can purchase sake, wine and beer. The restaurant serves delicious flavored milk teas, snows (smoothies) and slushies at around $3 per glass.
When I visited BBC, I ordered three appetizers. I strongly recommend the Thai chicken wings for spice lovers; it was a sizzling and delightful choice—an original mixture of spicy buffalo sauce and Asian sweet honey sauce, all topped with a light sprinkle of sesame seeds. I do not recommend the house salad or house soup that can be ordered along with the main dish. The salad was merely a mixed green and spinach salad with onions and no additional vegetables, though the strawberry vinaigrette dressing was quite original. The soup of the day was chicken and rice, and was quite plain.
Although no longer called a crêperie, BBC Asian Bar and Café still specializes in crêpes. Crêpes average around $7, and you definitely get your money’s worth, as a single crêpe easily fills up a large plate. To be honest, I wholeheartedly loved this café’s crêpe stylings, and I have never encountered anything better. (Last year I had a traumatizing crêpe experience in a French restaurant in Montpelier, Vt., and thought I was never going to enjoy crêpes again). The crêpes at this restaurant are culturally unique—perhaps even outrageous to some—because they can be filled with contrasting sweet, sour, spicy and salty flavors all in the same dish. So if you like your food on the bland side, this restaurant is not for you.
The Unagi Crêpe is my favorite. The shell of the crêpe is made of an Asian-style egg and flour batter. On top of the crêpe is a delicious teriyaki sauce mixed with hot sauce and sesame seeds. Japanese eel, the exact kind found in sushi, is spread throughout the inside of the crêpe.
Another good choice is the barbecued beef crêpe, which is filled with beef cooked in Asian barbecue sauce. For readers unfamiliar with Asian barbecue sauce, it is slightly sweeter and tangier than western barbeque sauce. The crêpe is also filled with fresh baby spinach leaves topped with cheese. I compare eating this with eating a barbecued-pork bun from Chinatown.
The last crêpe I sampled was the lamb crêpe. This Greek dish tasted unique, with an inside filled with lighter flavored lamb meat, lettuce and tzatziki sauce. Although this crêpe has a milder taste than the previous ones, the tzatziki complemented the fresh lamb meat very nicely.
This restaurant is one that you should explore at least once during your time in St. Louis, because you simply will not find another restaurant with dishes and crêpes that mix together the flavors of so many cultures.