Motivated by a passion for the culinary arts and a healthy reverence for nature’s abundance, Good Karma Café’s eco-conscious chefs create delectable vegan dishes that will appease cultivated palates and replenish crown chakras. A leafy assortment of salubrious salads features such chlorophyll-rich concoctions as the Live green salad, whose dark greens are adorned with crunchy vegetables and a mixture of sunflower and hemp seeds and tossed in a sweet apple-cider-vinegar dressing ($10). Crispy blue nacho chips topped with creamy cheese-less queso perform a spicy salsa two-step on tongues ($8), and steamed edamame sprinkled with celtic sea salt perform kabuki dances set to bagpipes for an audience of delighted taste buds ($5). The TLT offers a vegan twist on a classic with tempeh strips, crisp lettuce, and garden tomatoes ($10), and the Chickpea of the Sea gives fish-friendly sailors a cause to rejoice with its variation on tuna salad ($10).
Loving Hut’s name suits its peaceful mission: to create healthy dishes that benefit the body and show respect for the environment. Using vegan ingredients such as soy-based proteins and fresh vegetables, the chefs at each location create a unique menu of gourmet cuisine that serves as an accessible introduction to a plant-based diet; several of the restaurant's offerings can be made gluten-free as well. Vegan sandwiches and Asian-influenced noodle dishes and appetizers are paired with drinks such as smoothies and teas, each of them more refreshing than getting sprayed in the face with a seltzer bottle.
Carrying a pita, a diner approaches a salad bar brimming with pickled condiments, crunchy vegetables, and sauces. Without even speaking to someone behind the counter, the diner lifts the spoon and festoons a pita with a pile of fresh toppings, ready to start the meal anew. At most restaurants, this could get you kicked out, but at Maoz Vegetarian, it’s not only overlooked, but also encouraged. After choosing from such vegetarian and vegan-friendly options as gluten-free falafel and vegan shawarma atop pita pockets or salads, diners head to the stainless-steel salad bar. Belgian fries—a thick-cut version of their french cousins—and mounds of sweet-potato fries complement sandwiches and salads along with green-chili sauce, tahini, yogurt sauce, and salsa for dipping and boosting the self-esteem of napkins.
While feasting, diners sit atop benches at long, shared tables that emulate the communal lunch joints of old in the unabashedly modern chain of restaurants, which was founded in Amsterdam two decades ago. Mirroring the eatery’s fresh, stylish food, the interior at Maoz features green tiled walls and steel fixtures illuminated by hanging lamps.
Foodswings' eclectic menu disproves the notion that deep-fried, hangover-killing comfort fare has to come at the expense of our fishy, furry, and feathery friends. Stop in for a starter such as the signature pu pu platter ($11.50), a smattering of mock-chicken nuggets, sea styx, and Foodswings drumsticks paired with their respective sauces (buffalo, barbecue, and sweet barbecue). Heartier offerings include classic deli fare with a vegan spin, such as the tempeh Reuben (marinated tempeh, soy swiss cheese, warm sauerkraut on rye, $7.50) and Philly cheesesteak (marinated mock steak and onions, with a choice of Daiya cheese, $8.25). Burgers such as the diminutive kickin' veggie slider ($3) and the sloppy Vegan Heart Attack (soy burger with soy bacon, soy cheese, and the usual vegetable fixings, $7.25) appeal to herbivores, omnivores, and pretend-carnivores. To satisfy sweet cuspids, Foodswings offers more than 20 shakes and floats, including the Tank (chocolate ice cream, peanut butter, cookies, $4.50 for a regular size) and the Dark & Stormy (ginger ale and chocolate ice cream, $2.75), which is also the name of Pat Boone's book about riding in yachts.
Santorini Grill quenches Greek cravings with a multifarious menu bedecked by authentic protein-packed and veggie-laden plates. Mediterranean journeys make an oceanic entrance with octopodi ($14), a serving of grilled octopus marinated in vinegar, olive oil, and oregano. Then, like a well-crafted fiction character, the moussaka demonstrates its complex layers of eggplant, ground beef, and feelings, which are topped with a robust béchamel cream sauce ($15). Other main-plate highlights include the organic chicken-souvlaki platter ($18), which unites tender morsels of skewered chicken breast with grilled vegetables and Greek pilaf for full-fledged flavor warfare.
From a dietary standpoint, it’s practical to state what this Park Slope bakery leaves out—gluten, dairy, and eggs. But it’s much more fun to discuss what they include. For starters, the triple-layer banana cake is bound by chocolate ganache and topped with a cloud of vanilla frosting.