What better way to impress someone on your first meet-up than to choose an entirely vegan restaurant? There is no better way. That’ll teach you to let me choose the food!
I met my new acquaintance at Go Zen in the West Village, NYC. We both got there at the same time and had the same confused and concerned looks on our faces. “Is this the right place?” “Did I really agree to this?” “Who is that strange person staring at me like I’m an internet celebrity? Oh, right!”
Did I mention I found this person OkCupid? If you’re not familiar with the site, well, you’ve not been on the internet. Also, I will fill you in! It’s an online dating site where people post a picture (or pictures), include small-talk bits about themselves, and match up with random folks based on distance, preferences, and algorithms. You just throw the word “algorithm” in and people love it.
So, I matched up with someone, we set a time and day, I chose the place, and we met. I chose Go Zen because it was easy to get to, I knew that the area had other stuff, in case we got bored (of the place or each other), and most of all, because I hadn’t been there and I wanted to review it.
On their website’s menu there’s an item called Golden Ball: After your eat it you will know what it is. I really wanted to find out what this was.
My company was very patient and understanding when I paused to take photos or talk about our opinions on different things. I am a tough judge, so I tried to get an idea of what the experience was like and how it was going for someone else… oh, and me being considerate to other people’s happiness and whatever. That, too.
All together we had spring rolls, the golden ball, and veggie tofu delight;
Braised Tofu, zucchini and tomatoes in black bean sauce. Served with brown rice.
It turns out, the Golden Ball was just poori with peanut sauce. Don’t get me wrong, I love poori and I love peanut sauce, it just wasn’t as exotic and thrilling as I had expected. It was also an unexpected Indian dish at a Chinese-focused restaurant. My brain was confused, my heart was pleased, and my stomach was fed.
Check out my new friend’s elbow. I chose a good one, eh?
Unfortunately, the poori was a bit too greasy for my taste. The bread had a nice crispness, but there was way too much oil. The peanut sauce was good, too, but a bit heavy. Normally I can chug peanut sauce like a German at Oktoberfest (who is chugging beer, not peanut sauce, presumably. However, if you know of an Oktoberfest for peanut sauce, do not forget to send me an invite!)
The spring rolls were your usual spring rolls. Thin, rice paper outer with cabbage and carrot and all inside. Spring rolls aren’t usually my favourite, but I was curious how they compared with the usual spring rolls that I don’t love. I was hoping I would dislike them less than usual- as has happened once or twice in my life. If you like spring rolls, though, these are just what you seek! The sauce was a perfectly good duck sauce, too. Faux duck sauce, if you must. The lettuce is what really made the plate, though. Look at that artistry. Purple and green… I mean, how do they come up with these things?
The last dish we ordered was the tofu dish. Sure, we could have gotten something more exciting, but my companion thought that tofu was key. That it was the basis of veganism (ehh…) and therefore, one must judge a restaurant’s tofu in order to know their real value.
As you can see, the dish had lots of veggies, which is good. Also lots of sauce, though. As someone who like veggies and is cool with tofu, the layers of sweet sauce was unnecessary. I would have liked the tofu to be more firm and substantial, as well.
But I do give them credit for pretty colours and excellent marketing; with their logo on the plates. I like that.
So, the whole experience was pretty successful. After eating, we went for a long walk to talk about human nature and the universe, and we exchanged phone numbers. The meal was decent, and I would recommend the place for low-key, simple vegan Asian food in the area. Wouldn’t go out of my way to get here, though. I would say that Go Zen deserves…
7/10 unicorn hugs
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Check out things you’re not eating right now:
http://www.gozenfamily.com/ (Aw- FAMILY!)