This Gobo. I had my hair cut and colored on Sunday, and asked Theresa (my fabulous stylist, I can't say enough good things about her! Book now) where Dave and I should go to get something to eat, and she recommended Gobo. She said her friend Darryn was working, so we should ask for him when we got there (he'd be wearing a cool hat).
Sounded good to us, so we walked over there and secured a nice two-top. Our waitress, Carrie, helped us decide how much to order, as the dinner menu is divided into quick bites, small plates and large plates, as well as soups, salads and side dishes (and yes, dessert, but you'll have to wait for that). We saw Darryn, or who we assumed was Darryn (yes, it was a cool hat) but figured we'd order dinner first and say hi later on.
Now, what we ordered:
- Crispy spinach and soy cheese wontons
- Avocado tartare with wasabi lime sauce
- Kale, seaweed and beet salad with toasted walnuts
- Southern style seitan strips over organic quinoa and vegetables
I also got a zing juice (apple, carrot and ginger), which was one of the best values for fresh juice ever. Love that already. Carrie brought over some cranberry nut bread and a multigrain bread with what seemed like a butternut squash spread.
We decided to have everything arrive when it was ready, as opposed to having 2 separate courses. The spinach wontons, which Dave was wary of because of their soy cheese component, were so good. Just crispy enough, but not greasy in any way. And the dipping sauce they came with? Perfection. We were told it is a mango chili sauce, but it was not spicy at all. It had a mellowness that makes me think that there might be some miso in there too. If I was on a desert island, I would want this sauce with me.
The avocado tartare was also really good, topped with crunchy barley pops and surrounded by a wasabi lime sauce. Presentation was spot on, with the avocado molded in a ring mold, topped with the little barley pops. A perfect 'asian' guacamole.
We both have mixed feelings about the salad. Presentation was fine, and we liked the beets, the seaweed and the walnuts. But the kale had this slightly 'earthy' aftertaste which we didn't really care for.
The southern style seitan was the best seitan I've ever had. Seitan is a meat substitute made of wheat gluten. There are lots of recipes online, and it is possible to find Seitan in a good natural foods store. It has a great chewy texture, really absorbs flavors (even better than tofu), and is a great protein-rich meat substitute. Gobo serves many seitan dishes, and the one we had was breaded seitan strips served over quinoa pilaf filled with vegetables. The strips were perfectly fried just like the wontons, and their quinoa I could eat everyday.
At this point, we were pretty full, but I can never pass up looking over the dessert menu. When Carrie came over with the menus, I asked if the man in the hat was Darryn. She said yes, and I said thanks, a friend just sent us here and told us to say hi to him. He came over, and was so nice. He introduced himself, was delighted that Theresa had sent us over, chastised us for not saying hi when we first came in (sorry Darryn, won't happen again I promise), and asked us if we liked everything so far (which we did, and told him so). I asked if he had any recommendations for dessert, so he said he did but wanted to check with the kitchen to make sure they still had some.
He recommended a hazelnut napoleon with raspberry sauce that we had seen but might not have ordered. Delish. And it was vegan... wow!
Darryn also gave us a 'friends' discount, which was so sweet. We were already ready to sing the praises of Gobo, and the discount was a pleasant surprise. We told him we'd be back soon, and we'd be sure to say hello again. Turns out Darryn and his brother opened Gobo, their parents founded Zen Palate. I think it's about time to eat there too.
So if you're in the neighborhood, stop by Gobo and say hi to Darryn, tell him Samantha sent you.
from New York Magazine
When David Wu and his brother Darryn were growing up, it was a given that they ate all their vegetables—their parents, after all, founded Zen Palate. Clearly, the organic apple doesn't fall far from the tree: After respective stints in the family business and at the New York Restaurant School, the brothers have opened Gobo (Japanese for "burdock root"), a vegetarian restaurant with an open kitchen, an organic juice bar, and—in a departure from their parents' alcohol-free policy—a beer-and-wine license. The meatless menu takes a global turn with tea-smoked soy sheets, white bean-and-cremini mushroom casserole, tofu salmon with coconut-curry rice, and green tea noodles with vegan Bolognese sauce.
Gobo - Food for the Five Senses
401 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10014