Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Red Bamboo

Red Bamboo - 140 W. 4th Street (6th Avenue and McDougal)
For the food obsessed, the area around West Fourth Street is hard to beat. Culinary treasures abound, and transportation is amazingly easy, with quick access to the A,C, E and D.

Those with Asian and/or vegetarian leanings will be particularly pleased - faced with a delicious range of options including Roll and Dough (on West 3rd), Vegetarian's Paradise 2 (on West 4th) and Red Bamboo, a vegan/vegetarian restaurant specializing in multi-ethnic comfort foods, from Roti Canai to Creole Chicken.

A small space, the decor at RB is a touch classier than Vegetarian's Paradise (located right next door.)

But the philosophy of both establishments are similar - expansive (and somewhat expensive) menus, focusing on mock meat dishes, many with Asian themes. The results are tasty and genuinely close to meat, with enough chewy/meaty texture to impress carnivores and vegetarians alike. Though mushy, the Seoul Pancake (Panjeon) wasn't bad - an eggless version good enough to satisfy Korean cravings. Then there's the Barbeque Chicken - a stroke of genius, smothered in sweet sauce...and authentic down to the bone (made from a wooden skewer.) The only bad choice of the evening proved to be the dessert - an overly large Brownie Bottom Cheesecake slice with a leaden texture and slightly artificial aftertaste. Both overall, the menu holds much promise, offering options from
Caribbean Jerk Seitan to Salmon Teriyaki. And the wide range of choices is perfact for groups, where everyone has their specific tastes and preferences.

Which is better? Given a choice, I'd choose Vegetarian's Paradise first...it's a little more "comfy" (read, less "elitest" atmosphere), and they've got (great) ice cream for dessert. But Red Bamboo is a definite class act - offering yet another reason to head to the Village.

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