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.
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.
Aimee Follette wouldn’t let celiac disease stop her from enjoying a delicious meal, so she figured dietary requirements shouldn’t stop others, either. The founder and chef of Sun In Bloom uses organic, vegan, and gluten-free ingredients to overcome food issues and create culinary bliss, and crafts made-from-scratch dishes that pack a healthy punch and a whirlwind of flavors. Diners at Aimee’s upbeat Park Slope spot can jumpstart the day with a stack of gluten-free pancakes, which come glazed with caramelized bananas and maple syrup. They can also seek refuge from the cold in a steaming bowl of chia-seed almond-milk porridge with spiced walnuts, a dish with enough omega-3s, antioxidants, and fiber to make a multivitamin write a poem called “On Inadequacy.” Lunch and dinner items such as the marinated tempeh reuben or the bulging, veggie-packed bloom burger make diners forget all about meat. Inside of the kitchen, which is certified by the International Kosher Council, bakers create gluten- and dairy-free desserts such as the banana cake, a three-layer tower cemented by an oozing blanket of chocolate ganache and topped with a cloud of vanilla frosting. Beverages such as pressed juices, fair trade coffee, and organic smoothies deliver Sun In Bloom’s philosophy in liquid form.
Bombay Masala's chefs draw inspiration from the familiar spices and sauces that characterize Indian cuisine and create an eclectic spread of aromatic and flavorful recipes. Brooklyn Magazine heaped praise onto the chicken tikka masala⎯an Indian-style entree historically co-opted by the British⎯by naming Bombay Masala's version one of The 10 Best British Bites in Brooklyn. This particular dish, along with several others, begins cooking in the kitchen's clay tandoor oven, which roasts skewered meats and vegetables over a pile of smoldering charcoal and old love letters. As the skewers bake, the chefs whisk together curries and cream sauces that they spoon over everything from lobster to housemade cheese.