30 May 2008

Restaurant Review: Green Elephant

Green Elephant, 608 Congress Street, Portland, ME

The Green Elephant is one of the few, if not the only, fully vegetarian restaurants in Portland. We finally had a chance to eat there last month and it was fantastic. While there are a few vegetarian "friendly" spots in town—and I appreciate them—almost none of them deliver on the promise of high quality vegetarian meals. The Green Elephant does. Sure, it's not quite the vegan haute cuisine you can find in New York City, but it is upscale and, in the case of every dish we tried, exceptionally well done. Perhaps because it draws people who are genuinely interested in what the place is serving, the wait staff are sincere and friendly. And it's not even particularly expensive.

Green Leaves [collards] Wrapped in Mango and Herbs [mint, purple basil, cilantro] with Tamarind Dipping Sauce. Nice to see a raw dish on the menu. That trend hasn't really reached Maine yet apparently.

A Malaysian curry with brown rice. I can't remember now all the wonderful things that went into this. It was the best tasting, even if not the best looking, dish of the night and composed entirely of whole foods. I am envious of how good their brown rice is.

I think this was the "Siamese Dream Curry Noodle," which was a bit lacking compared to the others things, but still quite good.

The menu does run afoul of one pet peeve of mine. I hate it when a vegan menu tries to sound appealing to meat eaters, as though vegan food were merely a substitute for carnivorous dishes and couldn't otherwise stand on its own. Veggie Citrus "Spare Ribs," Soy "Ham," Veggie "Tuna" Salad. Oh come on. But that's a minor point compared to how good the food is and what a relief it is to have someplace to go out to eat in town now.


Jere said...

I went there last week and it was fantastic! I got a peanut curry. It's out of the world! Can't wait to go back again.

Brad said...

I've been meaning to go back too. There were so many things on the menu I wanted to try; I wanted to order just about everything.