Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Lan Café

Hi everybody! Hope you all had a happy holiday season like we did. Now, back to the reviews! We recently tried Vietnamese food for the very first time at one of NYC’s newest vegan restaurants: Lan Café. Lan Café is 100% vegan Vietnamese located at 342 East 6th Street in Manhattan.

Vegetarian Ham Salad
This salad tricked me! When it got to the table, it looked like a light, subtle coleslaw-esque dish. But when I got it in my mouth it was like a slap in the face. This dish was simultaneously tangy, hot, sweet, sour, salty and more. It was just jam-packed with a ton of flavors. I wonder if someone with a more sensitive palate than mine might say it was too strong, but for my jaded taste buds it was really quite enjoyable. I also liked that it had just the right amount of veggie ham, which added a mild saltiness to balance this piquant salad. And there was plenty of cilantro, which I’m a big fan of. -Jim

Eggplant Salad
This salad was very unique. The texture of the eggplant was wonderful; it was soft but still had a nice chew to it without being rubbery. The flavor of the eggplant was subtle and delicious. Some people don’t like eggplant because it can be bitter, but there was no bitterness in this case. The sauce was interesting, a blend of sweet and salty flavors but at times it was a little too salty for me.-Ev

Lightly Fried Seitan
This dish consisted of strips of seitan sauteed with scallions, onions and ginger. That might not sound like much, but I really liked it a lot. It struck me as a cross between Chinatown Chinese food and really good Thai food. I say that because it had the earthy, home-cooked goodness of Chinese food from Chinatown, but the strong flavors and seasonings of good Thai. All the ingredients seemed really fresh and they were cooked just right, not too crisp but not too soft. I seem to remember this dish being a little bit spicy, but not too bad, which is good because I needed a break after that salad. -Jim

Baguette W/Seitan
The baguette here was thin and airy. It was toasted and spread with oil or margarine for more flavor, or maybe it was just the juices from the seitan. The seitan itself was chewy and savory. I liked the cucumber and other vegetables on this. I even liked the cilantro, although I pulled some off cause there was a lot of it. This sammich was especially delicious when dipped in a hot sauce that provided a fiery counter to all the savory comfort. -Ev

The Bottom Line
Since this is a newer restaurant and it’s located in the East Village, I was really expecting a chic, trendy décor and maybe a big price tag. Well, the décor was pretty plain and drab, but don’t let that scare you away. Lan Café is good stuff. They have a big menu and everything is vegan, so I can’t wait to come back and try some other dishes. And as for the price tag, I don’t think there was anything on the menu for more that nine bucks, so Lan Café is the place to go if your bank account could use some relief (and whose couldn’t, really?). -Jim
I agree that the restaurant was a little cramped, but the food was tasty and my baguette was a steal at $4.50. I definitely want to come back and try their other seitan dishes. -Ev



Anonymous Paula said...

yum! I love this place. I think I had the lemon grass seitan or something, andit was super ogod!

12:52 PM, January 04, 2007

Blogger Veggie Friendly said...

Hi Ev and Jim

I've loved reading your blog to get a vicarious vegan NY existence but am now coming to NY in February on my honeymoon. My partner and I have six days there and are keen to cram in as many restaurants as possible. We live in Sydney where most of the (many, fabulous) vego restaurants are Asian or Indian so thinking of avoiding those to try out some dishes we normally don't get. Anyhow, we have a bit of a shortlist in mind but would love ome local recommendations (my email address is veggiefriendly[at] i that's easier.



3:13 AM, January 18, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

:( Where are you guys? I loved this blog.

8:22 PM, February 03, 2007

Anonymous arthandler said...

my wife and I frequent this place on an almost weekly basis. We have tried most of the menu and it is all good. My favorites are the pad thai and the seitan sub.

3:33 PM, June 25, 2008


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