Friday, December 21, 2007

There's a Reason We Don't Eat Red Bamboo

Red Bamboo is a fake-meat vegetarian restaurant in the Village, on W. 4th between Macdougal and 6th Ave. It sports everything from classic favorites like buffalo wings to cajun food (think "soul [soy] chicken") and asian fusion. I was excited to see the varied and interesting menu, because as a vegetarian you don't get to eat a lot of the very appetizing-looking things your friends are always munching on.

Unfortunately, RB does not live up to its promise. It's a small restaurant, with limited seating and a spartan atmosphere. Think of a cheap chinese restaurant built lengthwise and trussed up with a few more mirrors and a shinier materials, and you'll get the idea. It's warm, but a little cramped.

I started by ordering buffalo wings, which ended up being very chewy and stringy. Unfortunately, they were also extraordinarily heavy, and I felt like I was just eating big hunks of whatever protein they used to make the wings. The BBQ sauce coating the wings was gloppy and unremarkable, and the ranch dressing that went with it was mild and a touch sour. Eating even two of these wings was a mistake: I started to feel extremely full.

I had heard that the milkshakes were good here, but that turned out not to be the case. How you screw up a milkshake isn't clear, but screw it up RB did. I ordered a straberry milkshake, and it turned out to be so mild -- lacking either a lucid strawberry or a rich creamy wholesome milkiness or even an intoxicating dulce -- that it was completely pointless. I don't think I've ever said that about a milkshake before. A total waste of calories.

Finally, my entree was a black-bean ginger stirfry with fake shrimp. This was a bland and disappointing spice combination (and certainly not the "slightly spicy" that my server promised). I felt like I was eating a mound of sauteed vegetables, not cooked quite enough, so they seemed to be an endless heap of roughage, into which was sifted bits of a smoky, slightly bitter rubbery material that was supposedly the shrimp. Yuck.

Avoid this place.

Stars: 1/5

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