All the Way to the Banq

It didn’t take long for Banq, housed in the former Penny Savings Bank building on Washington Street, to attract South End scenesters. Its bold design, with a dining room framed by blond wood slats that swoop from the ceiling and give the place a sleek, almost cavelike appearance, won early raves. The place is distractingly attractive—and depending on what you order, that can be a good thing.
Chef Ranveer Brar’s Asian-inspired recipes are complex and exotic, but that doesn’t always compensate for lower-quality ingredients. A crispy tea-smoked quail and date "cigar" was accompanied by off-tasting watermelon, while a particularly fishy grilled cod was bad enough to be sent back. The simpler preparations appealed the most: braised short ribs seasoned with cumin and lime, Cornish hen in a smoky tea sauce. Fortunately, while the kitchen works to catch up with the buzz, the service is polished—and there’s always the option of just sticking to the bar for cocktails and top-notch people-watching.

1375 Washington St., Boston, 617-451-0077,