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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Restaurant Review: Moosewood, Ithaca, NY

Last Friday, Kimberly and I, after our lunch at Tim's Philly Steaks, picked Ian up after school and drove up to Ithaca, NY.  After five hours on the road, we arrived, just a tad late, for dinner with a large group of friends at the intergalactically famous Moosewood Restaurant.  

One of several Moosewood
cookbooks at Chez Brysmi.
While I've got absolutely nothing against vegetarian food, I haven't generally had good experiences at vegetarian restaurants.  I adore Indian vegetarian food, but for some reason American-style vegetarian restaurants have a sad habit of correlating meatlessness and flavorlessness.  There's simply no excuse for that.  For the most part, though, Moosewood doesn't take a "Vegetarian=Boring" approach to food, a fact that is equally apparent when eating there as it is when cooking from one of their many cookbooks, as we often do in the Bryant-Smith household.

By the time we arrived at Moosewood on Friday, the crowd we were dining with had already picked over several appetizers, which I'm sure were good, though I have no first-hand experience of that.  What we did get to experience were the bread baskets, with three different, hearty, fresh-baked breads, as well as salads and entrees that were all quite good.

Ian and I were seated together at one end of the long table, with Kimberly lost somewhere at the other end and, essentially, not dining with us, though she later told me that she had enjoyed a pasta dish with cauliflower and cheese, as well as the salad with the house dressing.  Ian and I were of the same mind, ordering the ginger-miso dressing on our salads and selecting an Indian potato wrap, essentially a samosa, with brown rice, dal, and chutney.

Ian isn't a big fan of green salads, but he enjoyed this one, with its Asian flavors.  When the potato wraps arrived, we puzzled over whether to treat them as sandwiches or as a meals to eat with knife and fork and ended up deciding that the rice, dal, and chutney made what would have normally been simple finger food into a full-fledged targets for cutlery.  While the wraps were not very highly spiced, they weren't bad, and the dal and chutney were nice additions to the plate.

Ian and I both enjoyed beverages from the Ithaca Brewing Company.  I had the Cascazilla, a wonderfully hoppy red ale, while Ian enjoyed the "under 21 option" of rootbeer.

While Moosewood isn't my favorite restaurant in the world, it does vegetarian food better than any other that I've visited, with a good mix of flavors and an emphasis on local, organic produce when it is available.  I expect that, should we be in Ithaca again in the future, we'll probably stop back in for another meal there, especially if we had cheesesteaks for lunch that same day.

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