All-Vegan Green Bar & Kitchen Can Convert Even Carnivores
It's called the Buffalo Tempeh Sandwich ($8). It starts with tempeh, a soy-based protein that's similar to tofu but with a richer texture. It's marinated in olive oil and grilled to give the familiar char of a steak or burger. Lathered on top is a punchy, spicy Buffalo sauce -- made with tomatoes, white vinegar, and cayenne pepper -- that has all the richness of dive-bar wings without any of the butter that's typically melted into the sauce. And the bread? Hard to believe, but it's gluten-free. It's a secret how Green Bar staff gets that normally dry, rubbery stuff toasted crispy outside yet warm and fluffy inside -- but it does.
As your carnivorous friend feels a slight tingle turn to a pleasant burn, she will soon realize this isn't the hippie food she expected, even if the Buffalo sandwich does come with a salad instead of crispy fries. Anyone could eat this a few times a week, happily.
And Green Bar & Kitchen's menu is full of such surprises: foods that are 100 percent vegan yet savory and filling enough to make a meat freak rethink his stubborn ways.
The GBK Burger ($10) is made in-house with brown rice, chickpeas, quinoa, carrot, onion, and parsley and uses sunflower seeds as a binder. Its creamy, spicy chipotle sauce is spread onto a fluffy, gluten-free bun. In a signature raw dish, Living Lasagna ($12), zucchini is sliced into thin, lengthwise sheets that mimic pasta. These are layered with a sun-dried tomato sauce whose flavors are as well-developed as any sauce that's bubbled on a stove for hours.
Even the plant-based sweets, made without the eggs and dairy most bakers hold dear, hit the spot. A raw turtle pie uses almonds instead of butter to create a rich, creamy dessert -- the subtle flavor of bittersweet chocolate paired with caramel. Snickerdoodle cookies are soft, chewy, and sweet. If you sneaked them into a box with Christmas butter cookies, no taste-tester would be able to choose which was vegan.
"I try to steer the menu toward a guy's perspective," says chef-owner Charles Grippo. "We get these huge guys coming in with little yoga chicks. I tell them, 'If you like Buffalo wings, we have the sandwich. I've got a grain bowl for you or a veggie burger.'"