May 21, 2009 by Sarojini Seupersad
Around the corner from the basketball cages, along tree-lined West 4th Street and down a small flight of unassuming stairs is one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants in NYC. If you’re walking too quickly, or if you don’t know it’s there, you’ll walk right by without noticing. That would be a shame.
Red Bamboo prides itself on original Caribbean style vegetarian/vegan fare, a cozy (read: small) atmosphere and a friendly, knowledgeable, tattooed staff – who actually eat and love the food. This place is the real deal. Serving vegetarian food with a soul-edge and dairy-free desserts every day of the week. On weekends, good luck getting a table without a half-hour wait. But once you sit down, you’ll see what the draw is. Big portions of Crispy Soul Soy Chicken will satisfy even the most ravenous of your meat-eating friends who might think they’re eating real chicken. I know what you’re thinking: Fake meat?! Umm, no thanks, friend. But really, I think you’ll like it. Love it, even.
Jerk soy chicken, bona fide roti, corn mashed potatoes, pastas and salads are just some of the choices on the menu. And the menu is sure to please just about anyone, with old favorites like Chicken Parmigiana and Curry Chicken. Try the Bourbon soy chicken and the organic beer, then strike up a conversation with your neighbor. Ask them what they’re eating and try that, too. Patrons at Red Bamboo are usually casual, laid-back folks and they might even share with you, if they’re in the mood. Hey, it can happen.
If I’m ever in the need to find a great restaurant where my meat-eating friends and vegetarian friends can all go and be happy simultaneously, Red Bamboo is definitely the place. Bonus: They’re open late most nights till midnight.140 West 4th Street at 6th Ave New York, NY 10012 (212) 260-7049
There’s a Brooklyn version of Red Bamboo in Fort Greene, on Dekalb and Adelphi. Check it out!271 Adelphi Street Brooklyn, NY 11205 (718) 643-4806