It's dining as theater: Tableside preparation was de rigueur during the 1950s, when European-styled white-tablecloth restaurants were fashionable. Flamed desserts produced exclaims of appreciation. Crêpe Suzettes, Cherries Jubilee and Bananas Foster enjoyed unrivaled popularity.
Bananas Fosters were first created in Brennan's Restaurant in New Orleans in 1951. At that time, New Orleans was the port of entry for Central American bananas, and restaurateur Brennan asked his Chef Paul Blangé to create a dish with this plentiful fruit. That recipe includes butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, banana liqueur, bananas, dark rum and vanilla ice cream. The trick during the preparation is to tip the pan in order to ignite the flame. It is said that Blangé, the consummate chef, was buried with his knife, a fork, and the Brennan's menu across his chest.
Several restaurants in Charlotte have Bananas Foster on their roster. Bentley's on 27, 201 S. College St., makes their Bananas Foster tableside for two ($20). They also have Crêpe Suzettes.
Villa Antonio Italian Restaurant, 4707 South Blvd., offers Bananas Foster for $10. Their interpretation has the bananas wrapped in an almond praline with a sweetened banana liquor sauce, which is flamed with rum tableside.
Sullivan's Steakhouse, 1928 South Blvd., has a Bananas Foster Bread Pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla bean ice cream for $9. This is not a flamed dessert.
At brunch, you can get an order of Bananas Foster French Toast with rum butter, sweet banana cream, whipped cream and maple syrup for $10 at the Pewter Rose, 1820 South Blvd.
Looking for a food you can't find? Or do you know of other food items unique to the Q.C.? Whether it's regional foods or international, talk to me: email@example.com or 704-522-8334, extension 136.