Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Lan Café

We went back to Lan Café this week for more 100% vegan Vietnamese eats. Lan Café is located at 342 East 6th Street in Manhattan.

BBQ Seitan
This was an amazing appetizer. The seitan had a great chewy but not rubbery texture. It was that perfect level of firmness that was substantial to bite through but was still rippable. They also grilled it so it had a slightly charred flavor. What enhanced this dish was the hot sauce they served it with. It was more of a thin chili sauce with a slight tang and lots of pepper flakes. It’s hard to describe because it is very thin and simple-looking, but trust me- it is delicious. -Ev

Seitan Lemongrass Curry
Last time I was at Lan, I saw someone eating this and it looked so good that I asked the waiter what it was and vowed to try it on my next visit. They brought out the Lemongrass Curry still sizzling in a cute little pot (which is very hot as I found out the hard way). The ingredients were crushed peanuts, shredded seitan and just about every vegetable you can imagine (carrots, broccoli, peppers, green beans, snow peas, etc). I didn't really taste the Lemongrass, but that's ok because what I did taste was a delicious, savory curry stir-fry that definitely met my expectations. One weird (but not necessarily bad) thing about this dish was that, at first glance, there was no starch, just seitan and veggies. So I asked for a side of rice. When I got to the bottom, I realized that the dish contained a very small amount of cellophane noodles; such a small amount that I still think getting the rice was a good idea. I guess another option would be to ask for extra noodles when you order it. Or, if you like your stir-fries without too much starch, just order it as is. -Jim

Avocado Salad
Avocado is one of my favorite foods on the planet, and it really shined in this dish. Avocado, tomato, onion, cucumbers, and veggie ham were all uniformly diced and mixed together. What ensued was a wonderful play of textures and flavors. Like the BBQ Seitan, the sauce, or in this case dressing, really elevated the dish to something spectacular. I want to say it was a lemon-ginger dressing, but it was really hard to pinpoint. It was just a perfect mix of brightness and tartness with added layers of depth from some oil (and the creaminess of the avocado) and a slight savory quality. So YUM! -Ev

The Bottom Line
I have yet to have anything but a good experience at Lan, and I have yet to hear of anyone having anything but a good experience at Lan. The food is consistently good and the prices are consistently low. If you want fancy decor or ambience you might want to go elsewhere, but if you want delicious 100% vegan Vietnamese for a great price, Lan is the way to go. -Jim
I echo everything Jim had to say. Good food, cheap food, not-so-plain and simple. And once you try their Seitan Baguette for $4.50 you will crave it and probably order it with every meal, like I did here. (Shhh. Don’t tell.) -Ev


Blogger pinkberry said...

This place is AMAZING! I walk by it often and I don't know why I've ignored it for so long.

I had the lemongrass seitan with some rice noodle thing...gosh the flavors.

In fact I'm going there for lunch tomorrow. Just gotta decide between the curry or pho.

Thank you guys so much for sharing all the good eats.

Please try the hummus and falafel platter at Cafe Mogador. It's my fav in the city.

11:00 PM, November 29, 2007

Anonymous Laurie said...

Wow, this is great little place! We had the ham salad to start, then the Pho and spring rolls on noodles. The food was really yummie with great flavours, and the Pho was excellent!

Thank you for your blog - you have truly helped to make our NYC stay special!

12:27 PM, August 25, 2009


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