Restaurant Review: Red Bamboo


Red Bamboo
140 W 4th St / New York, NY
Asian/Soul Food fusion (vegetarian, mostly vegan)

Seriously… “Asian/Soul Food Fusion?” But let me tell you: it works.

Red Bamboo was started by the son of the owner of Vegetarian Paradise just down the block (a restaurant that is the favorite of reggae singer Tony Rebel when he’s in town). Their menu is heavy on the mock meat, including many variations of mock fish dishes ranging from Cajun Fried Shrimp to Maryland Fried Scallops.

Before heading to Red Bamboo, I stopped by Moo Shoes, where I was given a very explicit recommendation: “Have the chicken parmesan. And, trust me, don’t skip dessert.”

The chicken parmesan lunch platter ($7.95) gives you a number of appetizer options. I went with the Jerk Spiced Seitan on a skewer. Very, very tasty with just enough spice to deliver a kick but avoid the runny-nose syndrome I get with ultra-spicy foods. The main course, though, was the piece de resistance.

Holy freaking crap.

Allow me to reiterate, slightly louder: HOLY FREAKING CRAP.

Perhaps one of the most “real” tasting mock meat dishes I’ve ever had, this chicken had the consistency and flavor of the best white meat chicken I’d ever eaten. The sauce was delicious and the parmesan and mozzarella cheeses (both vegan, though you can also get them in dairy and soy-cheese-with-casein versions… but trust me, you don’t need to) were melty and flavorful. I literally wimpered as I took the first bite. It was that good.

I had a cranberry-orange juice to drink, which was fine.

After I finished the main part of my meal, I was ready for dessert. After all, I was told not to skip it by the MooShoes girl. I had to order it, right? Unfortunately, their cakes had not yet arrived for the day, so I was stuck with the soy ice cream. But, it was really good soy ice cream. I had the mint chocolate chip—which was actually green!—and definitely hit the spot. The “one scoop” serving was actually closer to three scoops.

As I finished off my ice cream, the cakes were delivered. I started drooling even though my stomach was definitely full. So, I ordered a piece of Oreo Cheesecake (vegan, of course) to go and split it the following night with Huyen. Ain’t I nice?

The cheesecake was damn fine and right up there with the one I had from the Chicago Diner. Perfection.

As if you couldn’t guess, I highly recommend Red Bamboo. Next visit to New York, I’m going to go back and try out some of their fake fish. And another dessert, of course.

4 Responses to “Restaurant Review: Red Bamboo”

  1. Jessica

    Before planning a trip to the city, I made sure to look up some good vegan restaurants. I came across one for Red Bamboo and decided to give it a try. I went with my mom and sisters, who did NOT want to go. although all but one of us are vegetarians, they were hesitant. I swear to you, after they took the first bite of the creole soul chicken nuggets, they almost spit them out in disbelief. my mom INSISTED that it was real chicken and my sisters were suspicious. THATS how good it was. i had the chicken parm hero which was amazing. my sister had the soul chicken sandwhich, which was the best sandwhich i have ever eaten. my non veggie sister refused to get fake meat because she thinks its gross, but after tasting our food, she said “this is the best meal i have ever had ANYWHERE! its better than meat!”

    we were all incredibly full , but we couldnt resist dessert. as a vegan, there is never any place to get good fake meat let alone dessert! they didnt have new cakes in, but they had extra coconut cheese cake and coconut cream cake, both of which were unbelievable. my non vegan family made me check to see if it was vegan because they didnt believe it. we also got pistachio ice cream and chocolate ice cream…they taste like the real thing, not regular soy ice cream.

    all in all, it was an excellent trip. i have been to a few vegan restuarants but this is my facorite so far. i highly recomend it! the chicken is the best, and the dessert is awesome!

  2. Marie

    On your next trip to NYC, go at the beginning of your trip, because you are going to want to go back! The food here is AWESOME! Appetizers, sandwiches (especially chicken parmesan), sides, milk shakes, and desserts are all fabulous! Large portions, and cheap, too. I am a dessert freak, and the desserts are A+. Any vegan or meat eater who does not like this place is just plain crazy. Friendly staff and pleasant, clean atmosphere, too.

  3. Tiffany

    Ilove Red Bamboo! I ALWAYS get food there when I’m in the city, always. Even if it means scraping change. The Chicken Parm was the first dish I’ve ever gotten there, and you’re right, it’s soooo good. They give you a huge portion of it too! The Creole Soul Chicken is awesome, and I usually get that, or the BBQ buffalo wings…seriously, you have to try them! They come with this awesome blue cheese dipping sauce, and holy crap is it good!(and vegan!) That oreo cheescake is yummylicious. You really have to go to Lifethyme, there bakery is 100% vegan, and right up the road from Red Bamboo. I really like the Bourbon Chicken dish they have, but its a very small portion. I’m assuming it’s difficult to make or something, but thats my only complaint ever for that place, and there are so many other great dishes with plenty to fill you up, who cares! Now I’m hungry…

  4. Gabby

    This is the best restaurant ever!
    We returned there two more times in less than two weeks
    The first time, I went by friend ordered ox tail, and being Jamaican, ox tail comes with dumplings and broad beans, but he liked it, without the extras.
    Between all four of us we ordered a few appetizers as we sat waiting for my ox tail friend, he missed out on the appetizers because he drove instead of taking the train, so we had the plates removed, of all the evidence. But after feeling guilty, I ordered two more appetizers for him, we all devoured our meals, two vegetarians and two vegans.

    The sweet and sour chicken, the fish sticks, the pistachio ice cream, oreo cheescake, BLT w/tempeh is to die for. I’m not one to get weak in the knees over a meal, but this restaurant really is totally INCREDIBLE.
    I will always eat there.

    Also, I met someone who raved about their dishes as well, and told me how involved they were in the community. They bought a lot of dishes to a function in Harlem, and that’s why she decided to patronize them without any disappointments.

    The price is totally right as well

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