Fresh food meets fresh atmosphere
Something about the bright orange and green plastic interior of the restaurant Bimbamboo makes any visitor feel like they are 10-years-old again.
“I chose to work here because it’s young and fresh,” said Thanh Mai Brown, a server at Bimbamboo. Brown also said that the restaurant is just seven weeks old; a baby in the Boulder restaurant scene.
While the fun menu and bright decor are inviting, owner David Wechsler said it is the restaurant’s unique name that really pulls people in.
“It’s fun to say, more than anything,” Wechsler said. “We didn’t want it to mean anything, but it ties in with the brand essence and decor, which is bamboo.”
I brought along my friend Austen Grafa to the restaurant, and we were greeted with wide grins and cheery voices from various employees. They were eager to show us to our table. When we sat down, we received more smiles and two menus.
The first menu was the beverage list, appropriately titled “Bimbambooz.” Feeling much younger than my age, I was instantly drawn to the second menu titled “Bimbambino,” which was, lo and behold, the kids’ menu.
I mustered enough maturity to peruse the adult menu, which included soups, sandwiches, rice bowls, salad bowls and a section entitled “Small Bites.”
Intrigued, I asked our server Maddy Barton, a sophomore majoring in philosophy and psychology, what this meant.
“The sweet potato fries are absolutely out of this world,” Barton said. She gave us more recommendations, describing each with enthusiasm and delight.
As she flounced away, I noticed the restaurant’s playful and friendly ambiance. Bamboo plants lined the wall behind me and orange block chairs sat grouped in a circle. I imagined children’s laughter could not be far away.
The restaurant’s lighthearted vibe appears to be welcoming for the young as well as the young at heart.
“The restaurant is fun and hip for the student crowd and the post-student crowd, specifically ages 18 to 24. But it’s also welcoming to older folks as well,” Wechsler said.
Our food arrived promptly dish by dish. We decided to order four separate “Small Bites,” which, Barton told us were like tapas, which are Spanish appetizers.
She set some Sweet Potato Fries ($5) in front of us for our enjoyment. They were salty, buttery and perfect, and they even came with their own mild and tasty ginger dipping sauce.
Before we could finish, Vietnamese Spring Rolls ($4) appeared. They were flavorful alone, yet boosted by the potent and spicy dipping sauce.
Our next dish was the Lime, Dill and Garlic-Marinated Crispy Calamari ($6). After taking a sample, we were not impressed. The calamari was so tough and flavorless, not even the sweet and sour barbeque sauce could bring it to life. We left the plate half-full.
The Stick Trio ($7) proved to be much better than its predecessor. Do not be put off by the word “stick;” the dish consists of three tender meats (chicken, shrimp and beef) with a creamy peanut sauce by their side. It definitely served as a delicious finale to the parade of food we experienced.
The list of desserts was tropical and tasty-sounding, so we ordered Roasted Pineapple & Vanilla Pound Cake Kabobs ($6). Unfortunately, the dish did not live up to its appeal. While the spiced rum sauce was decent, the kabobs were the dessert equivalent to boring lecture.
My mood was lifted again when I received the check, which boasted a very low price of $30. In fact, all of the prices at Bimbamboo are incredibly reasonable, perfect for the oh-so-common starving student. Rice and salad bowls are $10 each, soups are $8 and sandwiches are $9.
Bimbamboo advertises itself as “Simple Food, Complex Flavor.” It definitely lives up to the simple part.
The food at Bimbamboo is just as simple and innocent as its decor. What Bimbamboo does have to offer is down-to-earth service, a friendly atmosphere and slightly better versions of standard, predictable Asian dishes.
Bimbamboo is not the place if you are looking for gourmet or innovative Asian food. But if you are looking for non-offensive, reasonably-priced food from the Eastern continents, give it a try.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Lauren Duncan at Lauren.Duncan@colorado.edu.