Thursday, September 14, 2006

Gobo

We went to Gobo at 401 6th Ave in Manhattan between Waverly Pl & 8th St. Gobo is almost totally vegan (there are just a couple of dishes on the menu that are not. We decided to order and share three dishes off the “Small Plate” menu along with an appetizer and two desserts (we couldn’t help ourselves).

New England Rolls
These were delicious, as usual. Those of you who’ve been to Zen Palate before would know these as Autumn Rolls. Whatever you call them, they were delectable. These had a crunchy outer shell and were filled with strips of soy protein, mushrooms, and carrots. There was a delicious chili sauce to dip them in, not a thin clear hot sauce but rather a creamy, tangy one. They were at once both light and savory and I highly recommend you try them. -Ev
The New England Rolls are one of the reasons we come to Gobo. It’s hard to describe why they’re so good, but they are really, really good. When we come with other people we usually get at least two orders so there are plenty to go around. -Jim

Pine Nut Vegetable Medley Lettuce Wraps
This dish consisted of sauteed, diced veggies and soy protein along with crispy noodles and pine nuts. It came with leaves of Butterhead Lettuce to be filled with the veggie mixture and eaten as a wrap. This was a surprisingly light dish. The veggies were very crisp and offset by the saltiness of the soy protein. -Jim
I think we could’ve used one more lettuce leaf and I wish we’d kept the sauce from the New England rolls to dip them in but this was still good. There was a lot of salty/savory flavor in this dish which was nice because the lettuce toned it down. There was also a great play of textures. I dug it. -Ev

White Beans & Cremini Mushroom Casserole
I was expecting a rectangular beige layered thing to arrive at our table. Imagine my surprise when we were presented with a small round green-topped gooey thing. I cut a chunk out and tasted it. The beans were brown and savory. The mushrooms…I didn’t know where they were, maybe blended into the beans or the topping? I don’t know. The topping was thick and creamy- like a tangy tofu pesto concoction. I liked this dish, but because it was so far from what I was expecting it threw me off and kept me from loving it. Maybe I should report back tomorrow after I’ve finished it for lunch. -Ev
Yeah, this was the only part of the meal I had mixed feelings about. It was almost like a chili with sour cream on top, but the topping was a little too tangy and the “chili” underneath was a little bitter. I’m tempted to try some of our leftovers to see if I like it more the second time around. I might have just been turned off by the bizarre, bright-green appearance of the dish. -Jim

Slow-Cooked Malaysian Curry
They’re not kidding when they say “slow-cooked”. It took them a while to get this dish to the table. When it did get to us it looked a bit familiar. Gobo is run by the sons of the owners of Zen Palate, another popular NYC vegetarian restaurant. One of my favorite dishes at Zen Palate is the “Curry Supremo”, which consists of potatoes, carrots and soy protein in a curry sauce. The Malaysian Curry at Gobo has the same ingredients, but I think the sauce was a lot more complex at Gobo. It seemed to have sweetness, saltiness and curryness (that’s right, I made up yet another word. You got a problem with that?) all at once. Of course it’s also possible that I’m imagining things and it was exactly the same as the dish at Zen Pal. Regardless, it was very tasty and you get a pretty large portion, which means this $10 “Small Plate” item is a good bargain if you’re doing Gobo on the cheap. -Jim
This dish was YUM. I agree with Jim, it had that familiar Zen feel but stepped up a notch. I’m pretty sure it was an addition of coconut milk, or the fact that we put it over coconut rice. I loved how the potatoes and carrots soaked up all the flavor and got soft. It was like a really good stew. So good I’m going to say YUM again. -Ev

Mango, Coconut and Tapioca Pudding topped with macadamia nut brittle
The way I see it, any dessert that has you scraping the sides of it, full of hope that there will be more even after you’ve long finished it, is a good one; this was one such dessert. We’ve gotten it many times before and it’s always delicious. Part of the fun lies in taking those first few bites; You dip through the mango fruit sauce into the deliciously creamy tapioca below, being sure to take a little crunchy nutty morsel down with it before heading mouthward. The varieties of texture and the strength of the individual flavors are what make this dish a knockout. Definitely try this. -Ev
This dessert is probably my favorite thing at Gobo. The fruity, mango area has a zing to it (I suspect this dish is made with some sort of alcohol) that contrasts wonderfully with the sweet, creamy goodness underneath. -Jim

Hazelnut Napoleon with raspberry sauce
We were trying to keep our trip to Gobo as inexpensive as possible. We failed and ended up ordering two of their $7 desserts (all of the desserts at Gobo are vegan). The Hazelnut Napoleon consisted of layers of pastry coated with nuts with a sweet cream between them and a tart syrup drizzled over the top. I really love desserts with nuts so I really couldn’t go wrong with this one. It was sweet and delicious, but even better was the texture. The flakey pastry layers and the crunchiness of the nuts contrasting the cream was great. The only strange part is that I didn’t really taste any hazelnut. I mean, I guess the nuts were probably all hazelnut. But usually desserts with hazelnut have a very distinct flavor, and this didn’t have that flavor. No matter, though. It was still great. -Jim
At first I was scared because this looked like triscuits covered in ketchup. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case. The nutty layers were so thin and flaky but had really sweet, rich flavor. The cream was delicious. I liked how destructive this dessert was, which is to say, it came as this perfect, stiff, angular, package but then you got to mash things up and swirl them around and everything was sweet and gooey. I’m glad we got 2 desserts. -Ev

The Bottom Line
This was a fun meal. I felt like we branched out and got to try things other than our Seitanic staples. I’m also glad that we were served the lighter dishes first so we’d have the hearty stuff to take home as leftovers. Gobo is unique because it has a nice balance of playful healthy food and swank service. Plus they give you delicious bread with sweet potato spread before you order. Always a good thing. -Ev
I recommend asking your server what they recommend. I’ve found that there are some great dishes at Gobo and some not-as-great ones, and the wait-staff tends to know which is which. Gobo can be a little bit pricey with “Large Plates” ranging from $11 to $20, but a lot of their food is worth it and some of the small plates (like the Malaysian Curry) can be very filling for less dough. -Jim

3 Comments:

Blogger jenny said...

That looks so good! I love Gobo but have never tried any of the items you got, thanks for the suggestions so that I can branch off as well!!

4:19 PM, September 14, 2006

 
Anonymous terry said...

I second the curry. Or rather, for a filling, slightly cheaper Malasian curry experience try the curry noodle soup. It really is a much more fragrant, tasty version of it's Zen Palate cousin. Plus it's served with thick, juicy whole wheat noodles. I need this soup next time I have a head cold.

2:41 PM, September 20, 2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't had that napolean in 4 years but you've brought it all back for me <3

-jess

11:43 AM, September 29, 2006

 

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