Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Red Bamboo Review

Picture nabbed from Brownstoner

Where do you go when you really want some chicken wings, but really don't want to actually eat any chicken? Where vegetable protein can be turned into anything from fish sticks to bacon, and there's no actual meat on the menu whatsoever? Why, you go to Fort Greene stalwart Red Bamboo, of course!

Now, I like Red Bamboo, and I've been there a few times. I just hadn't gone recently, so I never got around to reviewing it for the blog. A site that spends a lot of time talking about restaurants in Fort Greene that doesn't mention Red Bamboo is incomplete, so I was eager to rectify the situation the other night and finally snap some pictures of a meatless meal.

Regular readers will know that I'm about as far from a vegan as one can get. I very much enjoy the taste of death, be it chicken, beef, fish, dairy products, eggs, or anything else. In fact, the first time I went to Red Bamboo, I had no idea it actually was a vegan restaurant - it just looked like a cute place to sit outside and have some drinks. The drinks, by the way, are very good. I've never been disappointed with Red Bamboo's bar service. It's one of my favorites in the area.

Since that first visit (which was mostly alcohol-infused), I've been back a few times and have always been relatively happy with what I've eaten. It's probably never going to be my first choice for dinner, especially with Lulu right down the block, but I have a few vegetarian friends, and it certainly makes for a nice change of pace. Like with sushi, it's kind of tough to eat something at Red Bamboo that really violates you afterward. Taking in a whole pizza at Il Porto or Graziella's can do that.

For this trip, I got to try a couple of different dishes that I'd never had. First up, we ordered a plate of Collard Green Rolls, which are spring rolls stuffed with collard greens and vegetarian smoked ham. The ham isn't very strong and is kind of hidden flavor-wise in the collard greens. They're very rich and go well with the sweet chili dipping sauce that comes along with them.

For entrees, my companion got the Classic BLT which is made with tempeh bacon and vegan mayo. I didn't try it, but she seemed happy with it.

I got the Voodoo Sticks, which are grilled soy beef and pepper kabobs that come along with brown rice and steamed veggies. While in general I've enjoyed what I've eaten at Red Bamboo, I wasn't a can of this dish at all. It's possible that I just wasn't in the mood for it, but I found nothing "voodoo" in the voodoo sticks. The soy beef was bland, and without some sort of real kick there, the rest of the dish is just steamed veggies and bland brown rice. It's not something I'll order next time.

Red Bamboo's a great little restaurant, though, especially if you're looking for vegetarian or vegan fare. The bar is fantastic, and there are a number of tasty appetizers to nosh on while sitting outside on a nice day. While the entrees are hit or miss, I'll definitely be back at some point to try again.


Red Bamboo
271 Adelphi St (At Dekalb)


arielle said...

They have the worst service ever. Did you notice that? Twice I've gone there and sat for 15 minutes plus without anyone coming up to me. I mean, no menus, no water, nothing. We left both times, and when I walk by and see people eating outside, I always wonder how they managed to get food. Maybe they just hate me?
Delivery is good though!

Brian said...

I really have zero tolerance for bad service, so I can sympathize with you there. Luckily, I've never had any problems at all with the service at Red Bamboo. I've always been seated when I was ready and the wait staff has been friendly and prompt. Great bartenders, too.

That said, I've only been there a few times, so I'm hardly in a position to judge the service one way or the other. My experience has always been good, though.

Anyone else have any issues?

Anonymous said...

I tried going with my husband a few weeks ago and we waited to be seated for about 15 minutes - standing right in front of the hostess, who didn't acknowledge us but instead had lengthy conversations with a waitress and at one point said hello to the guy waiting behind us! When she finally decided to greet us, she told us it would be about a 20 minute wait so we told her to forget it.

I'm also really turned off by restaurants with tvs, and they had huge projections of basketball games that night, which I didn't feel like watching during my meal.

We walked down the block to my favorite restaurant, Lou Lou, and had a much better time (and better food, probably).