The V Spot
156 5th Ave, Brooklyn NY11217
(Btwn Douglass & Degraw St)
People are often surprised to hear that I really enjoy good vegetarian/vegan cuisine every now and then. After a couple of rich meals, such as the ones you have seen here on this blog, I definitely prefer to eat something a little less fatty and a lot more healthy. I am by no means a vegetarian and will never be one but for all of you carnivores out there, believe it or not but vegetarian food can not only be healthy but quite tasty as well. I think the key to really enjoying vegetarian fare is not to go in expecting something to feel and taste exactly like meat. Although many places, including The V Spot, do an amazing job of imitating the textures and flavors of certain meats, a picky eater would more than likely pick up on the subtle differences. For years I used to think that vegetarian bacon was not only impossible but ridiculous, that is until I actually tried some. I was pretty amazed!
Maduros: Typically maduros are ripe sweet plantains that are fried in large amounts of oil or butter. Sometimes sugar is also added to increase caramelization and sweetness. Although they can be very delicious and make a great side dish to many Latin American meals, they are not something I would recommend if you just came out of a triple bypass. On that note, I am quite certain that the maduros at The V Spot are a lot more healthier. Once we got our order I immediately noticed that these maduros were not oily or greasy at all. Perhaps they were baked? The maduros on their own were sweet and delicious however I did miss that sweet crispy crust from a typically fried maduro. What really made these maduros stand out was the coconut curry sauce. You get a really unique flavor from the combined sweetness of the maduros, the coconut, and the curry. If it was up to me, I would serve this sauce with maduros everywhere!
Buffalo Chicken: Ok so maybe they didn’t look very much like buffalo wings. Actually, when we were served this appetizer it looked more like mini chicken drumsticks. Now I cannot say with certainty what The V Spot used to make this buffalo chicken but usually seitan or tempeh is involved when it comes to faux chicken. The chicken had a great crispy crust and you would be surprised about the texture because it came pretty damn close to actual chicken. If you close your eyes you could probably believe it’s chicken except for the slight chewiness. I always like to try something initially without any sauce to get an idea of its true flavor and this buffalo chicken was really flavorful even without the buffalo sauce. The buffalo sauce added a nice amount of spice and tasted like your typical buffalo sauce. I then proceeded to try the chicken with the “blue cheese” dip. Clearly it’s not real blue cheese but the flavor definitely comes pretty close to the real thing. I just wish the dip was thicker and creamy because it seemed somewhat watery. In any case, the buffalo chicken made a great appetizer without having the actual guilt from consuming a bucket of real chicken wings!
Sesame Seitan: I guess if I were to compare this dish to something then I would probably say it resembled beef teriyaki. The sauteed seitan had a great texture! It was tender and in my mind I immediately associated it with beef. The onions, broccoli, and scallions were crisp and flavorful. Overall this dish was very flavorful but at the same time I thought that it was extremely too sweet. That sweetness came from the agave sesame sauce. Luckily the soft and fluffy quinoa helped in reduce the sweetness but I would have preferred it if they went easy on the agave sauce. The sweetness seemed to dominate this dish.
V Spot Burrito: This is one of my personal favorites at The V Spot because it so closely resembles an authentic burrito. You have your guacamole, brown rice, black beans, vegan sour cream, and salsa but the real magical ingredient is the vegan carne molida. Carne molida translates to “ground meat” which is usually beef or pork. Obviously The V Spot did not harm any animals in the making of this burrito but I was really impressed over how close their vegan carne molida resembled actual ground beef, both in texture and in taste. The burrito was very flavorful but if you want even more flavor then order it with some vegan cheese!
Not all vegetarian restaurants are created equally! Often times people will think that just because a restaurant is vegetarian that it must be healthy. Not true! Some places will use artificial ingredients and all sorts of other strange cosmic elements in order to enhance the flavors of their food. Other places may decide to use large amount of sugar, salt, or MSG. Have you ever taken a look at the ingredient list on some of those vegetarian burgers or vegetarian bacon?! You’ll need a Ph.D in chemistry in order to figure out what you just ate. Not so at The V Spot! The V Spot takes great pride in offering its customers the most freshest or organic ingredients without any kind of artificial fillers or flavor enhancers. If you’re looking for a healthy alternative after a weekend of mass gluttony or you simply want to wet your feet in vegetarian cuisine then you should definitely give The V Spot a try! It’s not very often that one can walk away feeling good after scarfing down some buffalo chicken and a burrito.
P.S. Try their breakfast. I love their vegan pancakes!
655 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn 11238
(At Prospect Pl)
It’s been way too long since I’ve had any Indian cuisine. Luckily, my friend was armed with a wide assortment of Groupons and one of them just happened to be for India Place. When I finally met my friend at the restaurant, I noticed that we were the only customers there initially. It’s funny how we instantly tend to draw conclusions about a restaurant we’ve never been to simply because there’s few people or no people seated. Over the years I’ve learned that occupancy is not always the best indicator of food quality. There have been numerous times when I found myself eating terrible food at places that were jammed with people. Clearly they must have all been delusional or brainwashed.
Naan: Not only is good naan an essential part of any great Indian restaurant but it’s also a must-have for sopping up those incredibly rich curries and sauces. India Place had several types of naan which included ground lamb, coconut & spices, cheese, and finally garlic. Being the gluttons that we are we of course ordered a combination of all four. The naan arrived stacked and piping hot with a wonderful aroma of garlic. The dough was nicely soft and chewy and really tasted great just on its own. Of the four naans that we ordered, my favorites were the garlic naan and the lamb naan because each their flavors stood out distinctly. For some reason I could not really taste the cheese in the cheese naan nor the coconut in the coconut naan. Overall though the naan was great and I knew it would come in handy for the rest of the food which we had ordered.
Chicken Liver: Yes I know many people cringe at the mere mention of liver! However, I have always loved liver of all sorts such as chicken liver, lamb liver, or fish liver. I’m sure there are plenty of other animals who’s livers I have yet to try but I will get there eventually. If I did not tell you this was liver and if you didn’t really notice the texture, I don’t think you would have recognized it as such because although it was delicious, it lacked that distinct liver flavor that most people dread. This was probably due to the very rich curry sauce that it came in. The sauce was thick, sweet, spicy, and definitely delicious. It definitely subdued that typical liver taste. The liver was served with poori (unleavened Indian bread) which resembled a children’s balloon sitting on my plate but tear off a piece of that poori and scoop up some of that liver and sauce because it is just yummy and actually much better than what I was expecting. This chicken liver was definitely a great appetizer which we devoured in no time!
Goan Salmon Curry and Goan Shrimp Curry: Why am I mentioning two entrees in one description here? It’s because I realized later on that my friend and I had essentially ordered the same dish with the exception of one being with salmon and the other being with shrimp. The menu does mention another Shrimp Curry but I am pretty sure that we ordered the Goan version of each dish. In any case, they were both great! The Goan Salmon Curry contained large chunks of very tender salmon in a richly thick coconut curry sauce made with sautéed onions, lime juice, and various other spices. The overall flavor was very rich, sweet, and not spicy so if you’re looking for a dish with a lot of spicy heat, this is not it. We made good use of all that naan we ordered. Dip that naan into the sauce or stuff a piece of that naan with some salmon or shrimp…..Mmmmmmm! My friend thought that the shrimps were slightly overcooked but I thought they were fine. Both dishes were very heavy and very filling plus with all of that naan and basmati rice we were really stuffed to the gills! It’s too bad that we ordered two seafood dishes in an identical sauce but that’s what happens when you’re starving and not paying close attention. I would definitely recommend either dish. The sauce alone is perfect for combining with the rice and for dipping the naan.
Rice Pudding: We were so stuffed that we had no intentions of ordering dessert (Shocking I know!) but that still did not stop the waiter from bringing over some rice pudding which was on the house. Honestly, I am almost 99% certain that the rice pudding came from a can of Jello Rice Pudding and then had some coconut flakes added to it but no matter because it was free and gracious.
India Place turned out to be much better than we had anticipated. The lack of a crowd really did not matter because the food spoke for itself. Our dinner was delicious and satisfying! A return visit will definitely be necessary in the future in order to further explore their comprehensive menu.