One Vegan Restaurant vs. Three Diverse Palates


Sam Cheng

Sweet and sour chicken with white rice, spaghetti and meatballs with garlic toast, and sausage sliders with French fries.

Faith Marnecheck, Staff Writer

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  • Sweet and sour chicken with white rice, spaghetti and meatballs with garlic toast, and sausage sliders with French fries.

  • Red Bamboo, a restaurant serving vegan comfort food in Greenwich Village. (Photo by Sam Cheng)

  • The Peanut Butter Heaven cake.

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Vegans are commonly criticized as people who have missed out on the divine experience of eating steak, but do vegans really feel like their diet is lacking? To see if vegan restaurants are all inclusive and fulfilling for practically any diet, a vegan, an omnivore and a picky eater visited Red Bamboo, a restaurant for vegan comfort food.

The experience began with a promised one-hour wait that became a two-hour wait for a table, leaving everyone hungry and ready to taste-test. To begin, I, the participating vegan, tried the mint chocolate chip milkshake, which was just as creamy and delicious as a shake I would have had pre-veganism. So far, Red Bamboo was impressive, but the non-vegans had yet to have sampled the menu.

Cheyenne Quintela, a first-year in CAS, is very picky whereas CAS first-year Will Gutierrez has few restrictions to his palette as an omnivore.

We shared an appetizer of the soy Popcorn Chicken and then all ordered entrees that differed rather significantly in order to fully experience what the restaurant had to offer. All diners agreed that the dish was good, and we were surprised at how meaty the chicken tasted. I decided to try the sausage sliders, which sadly left me less than impressed as the bread was tough and difficult to bite through. The sausage and toppings were flavorful and delicious, but these were not enough to make the difficult-to-eat sandwiches worth the effort.

The other entrees proved much more satisfying. Gutierrez ordered the Red Curry Tofu, and while he initially was disappointed at the lack of seasoning in the rice, decided he would both recommend and order the meal again.

“[The tofu] along with the curry has a nice taste to it,” Gutierrez said. “It has a light spice to it. I like it.”

Quintela decided to try a classic meal of spaghetti and meatballs, to see if the vegan version would compare to the traditional iteration of the dish. Pleasantly surprised at how much she liked the meal, she agreed that she would get it again and said it was comparable to other spaghetti and meatballs she had eaten.

To finish our meal and because we could not let any true taste test end without dessert, we split the Peanut Butter Heaven cake, which proved to be the true star of the night. The cake was an absolutely delicious mix of vanilla and chocolate cake with rich and creamy peanut butter. To sum up our love for this cake, Quintela rated it a 10 out of 10, a score she does not hand out like candy.

As we finished our meals, we found that our general feelings on our meals and overall experiences were pretty similar, regardless of our different diets. We felt that Red Bamboo has food to offer anyone no matter their dietary restrictions or preferences.

“The aesthetic is very trendy,” Quintela said. “I would recommend the deserts over anything else tbh [to be honest] because the deserts are the best. The food is OK, like it’s not bad. But the desserts are truly mind blowing.”

Gutierrez shared Quintela’s comments on the dessert highlighted the delectable dessert.

“Reserve in advance,” Gutierrez said. “The food itself was pretty good. But what really stood out was the dessert.”

Although a vegan, an omnivore and a picky eater walk into a restaurant may sound like the beginning of a very niche joke, I recommend giving Red Bamboo a try for a group of people who have different diets because everyone can find a food to enjoy, especially for dessert.

Red Bamboo is located at 140 W. 4th St.


Email Faith Marnecheck at [email protected].