One of the most common questions I’m asked in New York City is “where should I eat?” I understand why. New York is home to more than 42,000 places to eat and drink according to the National Restaurant Association. In fact, walking a few blocks in the city can easily spin you into sensory overload with over-saturated street corners filled with greasy options galore that tout the “authentic New York” stamp of approval.
If you’re interested in discovering or expanding your knowledge of the greener side of The Big Apple, be sure to add Gobo Restaurant to your list. Founded by David and Darren Wu (offspring of the founders of NYC‘s holistic veggie destination Zen Palate), Gobo simply means “burdock root” in Japanese. Located in NYC’s Upper East Side (UES) and West Village neighborhoods, the vegan pro restaurant infuses guests with raw energy in a city that never sleeps while commingling the far east with western décor. The establishment is complete with pressed flowers and wood carvings on the nature-inspired wall coverings. In the UES location, two larger-than-life African Zebra tree barks greet entrants on each side of the open Gobo market where the fresh juice, smoothie, tea and fair trade coffee magic happens with favorites like Liquid Life (wheatgrass, carrot, beet, celery, apple), The Chakra (carrot, celery, apple) and The New Yorker (blackberry, banana, strawberry).
The meatless and animal-friendly menu taps into the five senses with an around-the-world, curated vegetarian menu comprised of konnyaku (pressed Japanese root vegetable flour with a crispy chewy texture), nori (thin sheets of dry roasted sea vegetables rich in vitamin A), seitan (seasoned and tender whole wheat protein), soy and tofu. Vegans can eat here with piece as mind too, as long as they avoid two menu items: homemade veggie burger sliders (bun contains egg) and the avocado tartar (honey).
There is a lack of vegetable diversity on the menu as it’s heavy on meat substitutes, but if you’re in the mood for kale, broccoli, carrots, asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms or cabbage you’ll have options. I also don’t recommend the tofu because on both occasions I was unhappy with the soggy texture and lack of flavor, but the cheerful servers allowed me to change the order when notified.
Highly Recommended Dishes:
• Hand Wrapped Steamed Vegetable Dumplings
• Vietnamese Spring Rolls w/ Spicy Sweet Dip
• Pine Nut Vegetable Medley w/ Lettuce Wraps
• Chakra Rolls
• Stir-Fry Green Tea Noodle
• Natural Seitan Medallions in Sizzling Spicy Citrus
• Singapore Stir-Fry Mai Fan
• Ruby Beet Salad
In the mood for a Fit Foodie weekend brunch? No problem! The UES location is my favorite and the only one with a pre-fixed brunch consisting of a fresh juice or smoothie, main entrée and dessert. Just ask for Ann or Christine!