Gobo Inspires with Vegetarian Goodness

Exterior

I appreciate the calm each time I tuck into Gobo, a vegetarian retreat with convenient locations in the West Village and  UES, NYC. The mostly blond and spacious interior is simply appointed with undressed wooden tables and comfortable cushioned seating. Plenty of space between tables encourages good conversation and lingering.  There is a Zen simplicity that is intentional here and it carries through to the deceptively simple, Asian inspired dishes on the menu.

 

There is a broad selection suitable to all tastes; ranging from lighter plates mounded with veggies and soy or seitan proteins to heavier stir-fries and rice dishes for those with heartier appetites.  For vegetarians, those who are Kosher Like Me, and gluten free eaters, Gobo is a perfect choice.

Here’s what I recommend:

Pine nut vegetable medley w lettuce wrap

 Pine nut vegetable medley in lettuce wraps was a delicious mix of finely diced jicama, roasted to bring out some natural sugar, scallions, rich pine nuts and crispy rice toppers. Texture was a player here with crisp lettuce wraps enhancing the pleasing sensation. This dish was one of my faves.

 braised tofu in black bean sauce over Asian Kale

Braised tofu in black bean sauce over kale was a generous portion of creamy thick slabs of soybean curd, crispy on the outside and and moistened with chunky, roasted tomato wedges and zucchini slices over a bed of simply steamed kale. Brown rice, coconut rice with raisins and yam fries are available as reasonable side dishes ($2-$6) if you’d like a bed underneath it all to sop up the Asian deliciousness.

Chakra Rolls

 Chakra Rolls, are light and raw with plenty of cabbage, red peppers, alfalfa sprouts and lemongrass wrapped neatly and enhanced by the cashew cilantro dipping sauce.

 For those with heartier appetites, there are plenty of hot dishes including butternut squash risotto with toasted almonds, smoked Bejing- style seitan with Chinese broccoli,  and a few stir -fries. My favorite was the Vietnamese spicy stir fry with rice noodles, carrots, cabbage and bean sprouts.

 mini veggie burger sliders

Kids may enjoy the spaghetti with wheat balls with zucchini and zingy tomato sauce or mini veggie burger sliders, which hit the mark on a rainy eve when a burger would have been tempting.

 Everything is vegan except for select breads and chips where eggs and dairy are used. Sauces are rich, varied and sometimes nut based. The onion fonduta (lots o’ onion slowly caramelized and reduced to a golden, sweet paste) added a zippy chunky layer of flavor to the truffled wild mushroom panino we enjoyed.

  Ruby beet salad w baby green beans

Salads are simple, fresh and pleasing. The beet salad with steamed baby green beans and walnuts over greens with a light mustard dressing  would be a great accompaniment to any of the  4-5 soups offered. Spinach wonton soup or organic white bean with root veggies and pumpkin would be my choice until the weather heats up.

 The dessert menu is concise and all dishes are vegan, adding to the appeal for kosher keepers or those with dairy sensitivities.

 Juices and smoothies are all organic as are most teas. Shots of wheat grass, flax seed, ginseng, or protein are available to enhance a full page of selections including house made ginger ale with fresh ginger and tempting smoothies like the “awakening” with blended mango, passion fruit and apple juice.

 A full page of mostly organic sake, sparkling wines and champagnes, white, red and dessert wines is impressive.  I was thrilled to see at least four kosher wines on the list, two from Israel and two from Ankara, Turkey. A concise list of beers is offered, although I was disappointed to not find any local brews on the list.

 For diners with gluten sensitivities, the menu is clearly marked.

 

Gobo is open 7 days a week in these locations:

 *1426 Third Ave (at 81st), NYC

212-288-4686

401 Avenue of the Americas (between Waverly Place and 8th st), NYC

212-255-3242

Hankering for some crispy tofu over spring greens?

I turned to Hannah Kaminsky, my brilliant blogging gal pal, vegan expert , cookbook author and recipe developer and here’s what she had whipped up that fit the bill. Interestingly, I had just bumped into Betty Lou’s powdered peanut butter at Whole Foods, where I sampled and fell hard for it.

Read more about it on Hannah’s vegan blog, Bittersweet or on Betty Lou’s site. I throw a tablespoon of Betty Lou’s chocolate peanut butter powder into my smoothie and it transforms it into a high protein, decadent without the fat, shake.

Crispy Peanut Tofu

2-4 servings

Crispy Peanut Tofu

Recipe and photo were created and shared by Hannah Kaminsky, http://bittersweetblog.com/

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound Extra-Firm Tofu
  • 1/2 Cup Powdered Peanut Butter
  • 2 Teaspoons Powdered Garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt and Ground Black Pepper, to Taste
  • Canola or Vegetable Oil, to Fry
  • 1 Thinly Sliced Scallion, for Garnish (Optional)

Instructions

  1. Drain and press tofu for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the peanut powder and seasonings. Once the tofu is ready, cut it into triangles, rectangles, or cubes, and toss them in the peanut powder. Make sure that all sides are fully coated.
  2. Place a large skillet with high sides over medium heat, and add in about 1/4 – 1/2 inch layer of oil. When the oil is hot, carefully place a few pieces of the tofu in the skillet at a time, being sure not to crowd the pan. Fry for 3 – 4 minutes on each side, until deep brown and perfectly crispy. Remove and drain the tofu over a over-turned wire rack resting on top of a paper towel, and repeat with the remaining pieces.
  3. Create a fantastic, instant sauce to go with your tofu by adding water to the remaining peanut powder mixture, one tablespoon at a time. Drizzle over the tofu, and top with scallions if desired.

Notes

Hannah says "Seasoning the peanut butter powder lightly and dusting the tofu triangles to coat each piece, the results were spectacular. Not only did the quick dredge create some of the crispiest bean curd I’ve ever crunched on, but the added flavor put it light years ahead of the standard plain starch or flour approach. Served on a bed of sauteed kale and caramelized onions, it was the kind of quick, comforting meal that will no doubt see many repeat performances. Best of all, nothing goes to waste- The peanut butter powder leftover from dredging the tofu is effortlessly rehydrated into a creamy peanut sauce. Drizzled on top or used as a dip on the side, this nutty dish is a delight even to those not wild about tofu."

http://kosherlikeme.com/on-the-road/gobo-inspires-with-vegetarian-goodness

 

 

18 Comments

  1. My cousin first took me here in 2009 when I visited New York City and now that I live here, I still love coming. I love the simple, quiet concept. Another great one I’ve discovered is Blossom!

    • The sliders were great as we’re the mini brioche buns that held them. Lmk how you like Gobo when you next visit NYC.

  2. I’ve only just finished breakfast and now your post has made me hungry all over again. I guess I need to add Gobo to my “must visit” list in NYC, too! It really looks like an incredible meal, with so many exciting vegan options.

    • Definitely add Gobo to your list of great spots for vegetarians, vegans and those who are klm. Taking the cue from you and ready to whip up some other dishes using this pb powder . Have you made other dishes with it yet? Please share!

    • So glad you are inspired! You’ll find the pb powder at Whole Foods. I’m going to take the cue from Hannah Kaminsky and use it w some wokked lo mein and veggies. Why not dust chunks of chicken and do the same? The possibilities are endless.

  3. What a precise and inspired post…and I can vouch for it because I had the pleasure of sampling many of the dishes with you! Delicious meal and beautiful pictures, too. Can’t wait to go back!

    • Glad you feel I represented our experience accurately. I also had dinner there numerous times and found the food to be consistently good. What fun to have the whole menu to roam and chose from! Perfect for anyone veg or klm.

  4. I love that you always seem to give a recipe with your restaurant reviews. This looks great but I’ve never seen or heard of powdered peanut butter before. Can it just be replaced with ground peanuts.

    • So glad you appreciate the recipes at the end of my restaurant reviews.Re: the powdered peanut butter, I think this particular product is what makes this recipe so wonderful. But of course, the flavor from finely ground nuts would be very close. Give it a try and let us know here.

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