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Red Bamboo

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 72 reviews )
Contact 212-260-7049

140 West 4th St (at Washington Square and 6th Ave, West Village, Manhattan), New York City, New York, USA, 10014

Small veggie food shop with an extensive menu featuring soul food, mockmeat dishes, sandwiches, Asian dishes, pasta, desserts, and more. Fixed menu is a good deal with large portions. Quiet atmosphere but gets busy. Does not take reservations. Open Mon-Thu 12:30pm-11:30pm, Fri-Sat 12:30pm-12:00am, Sun 12:30pm-11:30pm.

Category: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, International, Beer/Wine, Delivery, Take-out, Caribbean, Catering

Reviews (72)

First Review by Poundie

Favorite restaurant in NYC - Edit

Even before I was vegan, I was coming here any chance I got. Their food is amazing.... Only ever tried 1 thing that I didn't like, which was the coconut entree (I think it was beef but it might have been chicken). Otherwise I recommend the buffalo wings, Creole soul chicken, portobello burger, bamboo nuggets and their milkshakes. They also have awesome cakes. Besides the amazing food the wait staff is always great! They are quick and efficient and always keep me coming back.

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If you like fake meat, this is your place. - Edit

The fake meat here is insanely too...too good, in fact. The buffalo wings, southern chicken, and popcorn chicken ALL tasted pretty much like meat. It was amazing!

If fake meat isn't your thing this place is likely not worth visiting. BUT if you dig fake meat then definitely stop by! Seating is limited so avoid peak hours.

Desserts are amazing too!

Pros: Great fake meat, Awesome cheesecakes

Cons: Limited/crowded seating

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Fantastic! - Edit

I used to eat here when I lived in NYC. Outstanding food: Flavor, texture, creativity, quality and all! I love this place! I used to bring my grandmother here (a meat eater) and she enjoyed it better than anything else she ate anywhere else. The menu offers many of the same dishes as their sister-restaurant (Vegetarian's Paradise 2), but with their own signature dishes in a slightly more trendy atmosphere. I remember eating fried ice cream with every meal - something they need to bring back! I surely tried at least half the menu and was never disappointed. Everything was reasonably priced and the service was always friendly. It seemed like it was always crowded or busy and I usually waited up to a half hour to get in - yet always worth the wait. Always a lot of meat eaters eating here too - I'd say it's a pretty fair trade off for them regarding the typical fatty, greasy and cholesterol-laden animal meat dishes they get in restaurants that serve dead animals. My mind is more animal rights focused than trying to obsess over fat or vanity, so I congratulate Red Bamboo for making it easier for people to spare animal lives. Salt is a personal taste and the staff there seem more than willing to accommodate on such simple requests. They even replaced a meal I ordered for my grandmother that she was having a hard time chewing due to recent dental work - free of charge. There's nothing like this where I live now, despite it being one of the top cities for vegan restaurants in the world. I miss Red Bamboo :(

Updated from previous review on 2016-11-10

Pros: Food is amazing, Service is very accomodating, Sizeable portions

Cons: Usually having to wait for a table

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Loved by non-veg people too! - Edit

I get take out from here a lot. The food is averagely priced, compared to New York standards. Most of the foods are a bit unhealthy, either really salty or oily, but nevertheless tasty. Although, I haven't tried their salads. I know someone who isn't vegetarian or vegan, but still loves the place!

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Really impressed - Edit

Red Bamboo is amazing. The prices are reasonable, the setting is great, and the food is incredible. Seriously, it actually freaked me out how realistic the fake meats were. It is also cool that most of the menu is vegan. The staff were great too. We got the pulled pork sandwich and the southern fried chicken. We also tasted the baklava cheesecake, which was incredible.

Pros: Tons of vegan options, Insanely good food, Great service

Cons: Not 100% vegan

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  Contributions +48

Delicious food, good prices - Edit

Very nice, cozy place. Service was good, food delicious and so much to choose from :) Wanna go there again :)

Pros: Good price, Good food, Cozy place and nice staff

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Best Veg Restaurant in NYC - Edit

I have lived in New York City since grad school and this is hands down my FAVORITE vegetarian restaurant in NYC. My husband and I first visited Red Bamboo on the recommendation of a vegan colleague and were blown away by the delicious cuisine, extensive menu and beautiful ambiance. The restaurant is small and there is usually a wait, though both are a testament to its extraordinary food. Red Bamboo specializes in vegan soul food and has an extensive selection of mock meats and seafood. Standouts include the Cajun fried shrimp, crab rangoon,barbecue buffalo wings, seafood tempura, Southern fried chicken and Philly cheese steak. Once you eat here you will return again and again and spread the gospel of Red Bamboo to your family and friends.

Pros: Vegan Soul Food, Ambiance, Plethora of Mock Meat Offerings

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Die Happy and Fat.. - Edit

I can die in vegan heaven. Their chicken is so good I never know what to order theres so much to choose from its huge!! I hope your day isn't full because you will spend it perusing the menu and die happy...and fat.

Pros: Chicken, HUGE MENU

Cons: Vegan cheese is okay.

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My new favorite restaurant. - Edit

Just fabulous. Great food, friendly wait staff, large portions, super quick service and very reasonable prices. Two of us shared 2 appetizers and 2 entrees, then split a piece of awesome cheesecake -- total bill: $45. I'll be going back again!

Pros: Varied menu -- something for everyone, Very reasonable prices, Super nice staff

Cons: Limited seating and no reservations.

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1 of everything please! Twice!!! - Edit

OMG this place... I lost count of how many times I ate here when I was in New York. I actually think I tried everything on the menu. And with VP2 next door : O it was overwelming to order! I can't choose a favourite dish...but I loved the sandwiches (and it takes a lot for me to love a sandwich!). Crispy soul chicken was everyone's favourite, my non-Vegan friends would ask for it, continuously. I dream of Red Bamboo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pros: Too, Damn, Good

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Painfully Noisy - Edit

I found the food here good but not great. We had the Creole Soul Chicken appetizer - good, the Portabella Mushroom which was highly salty, and the Grilled Bourbon Chicken Jerk. The accompanying steamed vegetables were just that - plain and uninteresting. More could have been made of it. The restaurant was painfully noise, with loud music and patrons with their volume turned up to be heard. We couldn't bear to stay for dessert, even though they were tempting, it was too disturbing.

Pros: food is ok, large mock meat selection

Cons: noisy

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Good lunch-stop - Edit

Extensive menu, great meat substitutes. I had a chick'n salad and shared some wings which was a perfect meal for lunch.

It was fairly quiet when we went but the staff appeared miserable- maybe just having an off day. Hoping to check it out again next time we're in the city.

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vegan fish and meat at its best - Edit

this is the ultimate place if you want a credible vegan fish or vegan meat.
they do it with confidence and you get the full bang .
this is probably as realistic meat and fish you could go in vegan style.
almost scary so realistic. but congratulations on the attempt.
a must try for vegans who like to know how it feels to eat meat, without any animal have being killed or abused.
besides of that, this places has incredible vegan cakes.
they were all so incredibly good , i ordered all vegan 5 cakes of the dessert menu and eat myself sick with big pleasure. next to me i saw a couple and did the same thing.

Pros: realistic vegan fish and vegan meat, amazing cakes, centre location

Cons: very very small restaurant but nice

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Great lunches - Edit

I love this place for lunch. I brought my boss here for lunch once. He is a total omnivore/meat eater and he was impressed. He ordered a salad with fake chicken strips and he said it tasted like real chicken. He also really liked the fresh fries. I enjoy their sandwiches, particularly the ones on coco bread. And they have Vegan Treats cakes for dessert. Their sister restaurant Vegetarian Paradise 2 is two doors down.

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I can't say it any more. It reminds me of the days before I stopped eating meat. Not kidding. Gives me good memories of meat.

Pros: Very good food

Cons: Not 100% vegan

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Good, but heavy - Edit

The place itself is nice and the service is good. As a starter I had the Buffalo barbecue wings and those are EXCELLENT (the ranch sauce too). Most of the main dishes are deep-fried though, and that makes them very heavy on your stomach, so be sure not to order too much.

Pros: BBQ buffalo wings!

Cons: deep fried entrees

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don't order the buffalo wings - Edit

This is an update to my review, because I must have been in a bit of at testy mood the first time I wrote it.

It's a nice place, you should check it out.

But please don't try the wings. They are made with zero imagination. They wings are not wings, they are hunks of vegan protein slathered in BBQ sauce straight out of the bottle. This is a dish that's not easy to get wrong, but unfortunately Red Bamboo could use some improvement in this area.

To top it off, short poured me on my Duval.
Despite having previously written that I would not visit again, I believe in second chances so I will, but not until I've reviewed all the other vegan/veg choices in NYC.

Good vibe, packed with twenty-somethings. Obviously not hurting for business.

Updated from previous review on Monday January 07, 2013

Pros: lighting, vibe full of twenty somethings, tables, staff

Cons: service, poor attempt at buffalo wings

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Chicken Wings! - Edit

Listen Up... Did you ever have that "yen" for chicken wings. You know you have! But then you get disgusted, it is the wings of that poor tortured bird... not so at Red Bamboo... These are "meaty" wings that are as greasy as the real thing! Actually, they were delicious. Not something you would eat every day, this is not "healthy" vegan fare, they were deep fried, but you just got to go and check it out. The rice dumplings, also deep fried tasted just like I remember a pork egg roll. I even brought a meat eating friend to make sure I was not remembering wrong, It has been 15 years. Hopefully, he will not be meat eating for long.

Pros: Staff was amazing, kind, and smiling, Really wonderful meat substitute fare, Lovely experience!

Cons: Most of the items have gluten., Lot of deep friend items., Take a roll of quarters, parking is bad

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great vegan junk food - Edit

This place is the kind of vegan restaurant were you will not go to eat fresh, clean or to see veggies on your plate. If you are in the mood for mock meat galore, then you will love it. So many options!

Pros: good value, nice vibe, large portions

Cons: no fresh veggies

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Top pick - Edit

This is one of my favorite places in NYC. It is packed most times so you have to wait for a table, but it's worth it. The soy chicken nugget appetizer is great. The only thing I say to steer clear from is the seafood platter. UGH! Horrible. But every restaurant is entitled to have a miss. Try the "porkchop" too. Priced as most places are in Manhattan.... a little bit expensive but nothing too crazy. Oh, our waitress was in a tank top and had hairy armpits. Not sure if that might bother some people. LOL

Pros: FOOD!!!!!

Cons: Waitress with Hairy Armpits, Limited Seating, Wait for Table

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Yes! - Edit

This place was amazing when we went here 8 years ago! Huge portions, very good prices, amazing selection, and desserts too! We had a phenomenal pistachio "milk"shake here.

Pros: Great food, Interesting creations, Great prices

Cons: Super busy, Kinda pretenious staff

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Amazing!!! - Edit

Went here 3 times during our week in new York! Never booked so didnt have any reservation issues although 2 visits were lunchtimes. Having been to many veg restaurants around the world I would say this is the best place for mock meat anywhere, if you are missing textures and flavours of meat this is the place. The steak burger tastes just like a burger king flame grilled burger and was a big portion with fries, fabulous. The buffalo chicken wings were stunning, as a starter you get 5 massive pieces so either have just that or share between 2 or 3 people. The pork BBQ ribs again were as close as you can get to the real thing but cruelty free and a big portion. Best was the southern fried chicken (veggie not vegan) as you get so much meat on your plate! The sweet potato fries were really good to go with them. We managed a vegan choc brownie cheesecake to share and again was wonderful and big portion. What was disappointing was the voodoo ribs as after visits where you get so much meat you only get two ribs with a couple of pieces of meat on and most of the plate was taken up with plain brown rice. Nothing wrong with that usually but when the other person is enjoying a meat feast for the same price you feel completely short changed. This is not about combinations of flavours or a balanced meal (can do that at home) this is about eating food you never thought you would be able to have, getting a protein overload and enjoying chicken again without blood and gristle! Fantastic! Don't bother with the BBQ pulled pork sandwich either as there is too much BBQ sauce which soaks the bread and too overpowering. Keep it simple and enjoy!
Updated from previous review on Saturday June 09, 2012

Pros: Range of choices and cuisine types, Big chicken portions, How authentic the fake meat tastes

Cons: Some dishes not in proportion to others, Can be noisy and tables close together

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The only downside is the line - Edit

My friend and I came here on her trip to the city. The restaurant wouldn't take our reservation. This is a bit confusing to me. I would think that this would help alleviate the wait times. Our wait was about 25 mins. I didn't mind this because the food was well worth it. I just wish they would consider booking reservations.

I had the tempura "seafood" appetizer and it was amazing. Not very similar to real seafoods but it didn't have to be because it was delicious. I also had the codfish cakes with mango salsa. The salsa was deliciously tart and fresh. I love it and the salad that came with it. My friend had the "pork" chops and enjoyed them very much.

I can be a big eater but even I didn't even close to finish the meal.

Pros: Large portions

Cons: Long waits

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My favorite veggie restaurant in the city - Edit

Red Bamboo may not be the perfect vegetarian / vegan-friendly restaurant, but it's damn close to it. My only possible complaint is that sometime's there is a wait and it's a bit crowded. But the food is out-of-this-world amazing, the prices are completely reasonable, the menu selection is wide, and the portions are very generous. This is the type of place I bring all my tentative meat-eating friends to show them how great vegetarianism can be, and none of them have been disappointed yet.

My one piece of advice: in choosing an entree, while everything is pretty good, what makes Red Bamboo amazing is its mock chicken dishes. So make sure at least someone at the table tries that, whether it's the Southern Fried Chicken (mmm, those drumsticks), the Chicken Parm (the fake cheese tastes so real!), the curry chicken, or a sandwich... do it. A few other recommended dishes: the crab rangoons for an appetizer, and the peanut butter chocolate cake for dessert.

They've also always been very accommodating to me with special requests (ex. asking for a different sauce to put over my vegetables). While the waitstaff is usually busy, they're also very nice! Don't be afraid to ask them if you need anything :)

Pros: amazing food, mock chicken, reasonable prices

Cons: crowded, wait time

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Seitan to die for - Edit

We came here on a weekday without reservations, which was a mistake. We were told it would be a 45 minute wait. As we were getting quite hungry by this time, we decided to get a take-away instead. I had the BBQ ribs, and it was simply amazing. They screwed up our order a bit and the trimmings were just decent, but the BBQ ribs itself it worth a trip across the Atlantic. I was hoping to come back to try something else from their extensive menu, but alas this did not happen. Will definitely come back for my next trip to NYC. The restaurant looked nice, but crowded. I give 4 cows overall because the trimmings were not excellent and we didn't get to try a full dining experience, but the BBQ ribs itself are worth at list 6..

Pros: Amazing seitan, Good value

Cons: Packed, Trimmings just ok

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Great food but poor customer service - Edit

We had to wait a long time to get served as it was so busy but this was a good sign of its popularity and it was worth the wait.

Heavy on the fake meat but amazing selection with choices you hadn't even thought could be made vegan (such as oxtail soup).

Great portions and flavours, took a long time to choose what to have so use your time waiting for a table by reading the menu!

Can't fault the food but customer service was very poor. They were trying to get people to hurry up by bringing out main courses before we'd even finished eating our starters (which meant food was going cold). Staff wouldn't even smile then complained that we hadn't left a big enough tip - with that level of service they were lucky to get anything!

We would have eaten there again during our trip but the rudeness of the staff meant we didn't want to return.

Pros: Good choice, Tasty food

Cons: Staff attitude

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THE place to be - Edit

I don't think there's a restaurant in the world where I ate more often than this one. Which might say more about my dining out habits than about the restaurant, but this place you really can't afford to miss.
Even if you are almost broke or have a small stomach, just order the Buffalo Wings and a custom made soy-milkshake. Brace yourself for this sensation, I never found anything like it anywhere.

Pros: starters, milkshakes

Cons: very busy, entrees get a bit boring

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Wonderful! - Edit

Went there with my non-vegan family, they had an awesome time, and my youngest sibling had no idea the food wasn't real meat at all. But downside is that it's very fried/ and/or preprocessed, so therefore tastes wonderful but isn't super healthy I suppose. And the atmosphere was good!

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Tasty food but not for a fancy night out - Edit

The food is good and the portions enormous. Had the chicken creole and the buffalo wings. They were tasty, a lot of fake meat (which Im normally not a huge fan of) but I enjoyed it. I wouldnt go here for a romantic dinner as the ambiance is lacking a little. Its nice enough for a lunch time venue though. Close to the subway station and easy to find. Good lunchtime specials.

Pros: Good food, Location

Cons: Ambiance, Heavy on fake meat

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slightly let down, but great dessert - Edit

This place was highly recommended to me, but I was a bit let down. I really wanted to like it, but my entree just didn't do it for me. We had edamame and the Caribbean Jerk Spiced Seitan for starters. The seitan's sauce wasn't really as described; it tasted more like a bbq sauce, and not a spiced molasses and lime-papaya dressing. My brother enjoyed the Ginger Beef, but I was disappointed with the southern fried chicken. It was really dense and a bit dry, and the collards and ham were basically inedible. The collards were really overcooked and I just didn't like the faux ham. The sweet potato fries were great, though. The portions were huge, but it didn't help that I didn't like my meal. It was ok, but I've had better vegan chicken. Maybe it was just an off night? Out server was ok, but the host was more attentive to us. The dessert was amazing and saved the night! We had the chocolate-covered strawberry shortcake, and, oh my, was it divine! While the entree was disappointing, I would still go back and give this place another try.

Pros: dessert, wide variety

Cons: faux chicken not great

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prett good - Edit

i have gone to red bamboo for several years now starting with the one in the city. i was so excited when another one opened up in my hood in brooklyn. i have tried many different dishes at RB and some were good and some were just ok. i really like the chicken creole and the cubano sandwich. the philly seitan cheese steak is good but the hoagie it comes on is just too much bread and very filling. they need to put more seitan in it. unfortuantly the red bamboo here in brooklyn closed so i guess it's back to the village for RB.

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Very Impressive - Edit

The food here is great and the menu is absolutely huge. My bf and I ordered 2 sides and 2 entrees so that we could try more and have leftovers, and we easily had enough for 2 meals a piece.
I had the asian dumplings over mixed greens as a starter, and the creole chicken as an entree. He had the buffalo wings and the mango chicken. Wow. The meat is very realistic (so much so that you can actually get creeped out, so be prepared) and delicious. The creole chicken was so good and the sauce that came with it was tangy and wonderful. I also enjoyed the dumplings very much (served with a yummy soy/ginger sauce) and the buffalo wings (with vegan blue cheese). The mango chicken was not as flavorful as we thought it was be, but was still pretty good.
We will definitely go back the next time we're in the city!

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great place - Edit

everyone everywhere seems to know about red bamboo. It's one of those places that people just know about. It's very delicious and you can order great things like fried chicken (which is soooo good). I would definitely recommend going to red bamboo if you are thinking about going veg or have never eaten at a veg restaurant. A meal at red bamboo is a great place for the first time veg meal! RB reminds me a lot of the japanese/chinese vegetarian restaurants that are very common in Los Angeles

Pros: food/recipes, cost (lunch specials), texture of faux meats

Cons: unhealthy dishes

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the most awesomest food...but get it to go........ - Edit

I really really love the food here,,its like a dream come true,,,
any vegan place that has the best of all my asian favorites...and the best of all the american sandwiches and fries and does it good is all good by me,,,its not overpriced and the lunch specials are like 6.95....
BUT ..I cant stand to eat there,,,why,,? the overpowering smell of bugspray,,roach spray raid,,whatever you want to call it,,,I'm surprised no ones commented on this on other reviews,,,I saw one person on here complaining that it always smells like new paint,,,that is roach spray,,,,
I cant really enjoy the food without breathing it in,,and feeling like I'm gonna get cancer by getting roach spray residue on my clothes.....I understand this is NYC and its in below ground level in an ancient building...but if you go as far as to have vegan ,non cruelty food,,,try to find a more natural non cancerous to your patrons approach to controlling the pests..

Pros: best of all asian foods, american sandwiches, peanut butter bomb

Cons: smells like roach spray, always crowded for dinner, waiting list to be seated

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Love, love, love Red Bamboo - Edit

Manhattan is one of our family's favorite places, and when we visit, the first place we go is Red Bamboo.

The food is magnificent, and the restaurant stylish, fun and full of energy. Their mock meats are sublime, and their gift of flavor combinations is pure alchemy.

Sometimes when in NYC, Red Bamboo is the only restaurant we visit.

I'm a great cook, they're better!

Go. You'll love it.

Pros: exciting variety, flavors, mock meats

Cons: not fully vegan

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Screw healthy eating! - Edit

This is probably my vegetarian boyfriend's favorite place in NYC, and it's one I enjoy as well. I don't know of anywhere in DC where I could get a float short of making one at home, and what fun is that?

The portions are quite generous--one BBQ hero was plenty for my boyfriend and me (I found that out on a prior visit). Unless you're really hungry, two people may want to consider sharing an entree.

Red Bamboo has desserts from Vegan Treats, so if you're in the mood for something sweet besides a float or some ice cream, you're in luck, as their desserts are fabulous.

One of my few complaints is that the place is very small and crowded, so in the evening, you may wait for a seat. When we went for lunch, however, we got seated right away.

If you're looking for a fun, funky dining experience in the Village, this is a great place to go.

Pros: Good location near subway, Good food, Generous portions

Cons: Place is small, Long waits in the evening

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Get the Chicken Creole! - Edit

Holy...wow...Red Bamboo is amazing! I say that even taking into consideration the wait I had to endure - I was told 30 minutes, but it turned out to be more like 90 minutes...grrr. Anyway, while I was patiently waiting to be seated I read all the reviews on Reb Bamboo and everyone raved about the Chicken Creole. Being the skeptic I am about Vegan chicken (I generally never like it) I asked the waitress what the most popular thing was there...and low and behold...Chicken Creole. So I took the chance and to sum it all up in on word, WOW!

The first thing to note is that you get HUGE portions. My meal came with Vegan mashed potatoes (awesome!), zucchini and squash (yum), and the fake chicken with sauce (holy..um..yeah!). I've only had this kind of fake chicken twice now, and it's unreal! It actually looks like chicken when you pull it apart. I even saved some for the morning and the crispy outside was a little soggy the next day, but they tasted like chicken nuggets that way, yaaay! My bf got the BBQ chicken legs; they came on a stick and were sooo good! Red Bamboo is amazing! One of my favorites in NYC!!!

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Worth the wait - Edit

Red Bamboo seems to be in a great part of NYC. The neighborhood seemed lively, and safe. I went with my fiancee, also a vegetarian, and my future mother-in-law, a herbivore. Everyone left happy. The food was very good, and tasted very close to the real thing. I had the faux chicken parm hero while my fiancee had the faux phile-cheesesteak. We enjoyed our food, although we were expecting it to be a bit better. My mother-in-law also enjoyed her food, but it wasn't spectacular.

I am upset that the food wasn't spectacular. I was expecting the best after reading these reviews but really, it was just slightly "above average" for a vegetarian restaurant.

The food was priced pretty well, but the wait is what really brought down the excitement. The restaurant takes no reservations, so we waited about 20 minutes before we could sit down, and the three of us had to squeeze into a two-person table.

I would probably go back, but only if I happened to be near the place. It isn't worth traveling to the city and area for if it is the only thing you are going to do.

Pros: Food was ok, Staff was friendly, Portions were filling

Cons: Long wait for table, Very noisy

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An excellent option in New York - Edit

Two friends of mine - one non-vegetarian - and I went to Red Bamboo recently and I must say, enjoyed our meal quite a bit.

Like most vegetarian restaurants, I found it to have a nice, friendly atmosphere; slightly more upscale, less hippy, than I'm used to but a good vibe none the less. The service was alright, not very quick but our waitress made up for it with her charm.

The food was rather good. In retrospect, we should have ordered more variety - three soy-based beef substitutes, though flavoured differently, don't offer a complete appreciation of the restaurant's potential. Serving sizes are huge. Impressively, Red Bamboo provides re-usable (and/or recyclable) Tupperware, free of charge, if you're taking home enough food. Ask for it by name! For desert, since I love it so much, we shared a big slice of carrot cake which was vegan but didn't seem to be made by them - maybe I'm wrong. It was good, far from the best though.

I might go back to Red Bamboo on a return visit to New York. I am curious to see how their mock fish and chicken compares to the beef.

Pros: Vast menu, Quick on water refills

Cons: Raw veggies lacking quantity and taste

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Thumbs up - Edit

I am vegan, my partner is omni, and this restaurant was our favourite compromise option. I am generally not much into fake meat stuff - I like my vegetables - so I sympathise with those who aren't keen for that reason (I have never seen the appeal in making food look or sound like a dead animal). It's also true that the food is not for health freaks. But that's where the criticism ends. The food always tasted fresh and flavoursome, with interesting textures and sauces. The first time we went, we shared a starter and had an entree each, and this proved to be too much, because the portions are really very generous. Afterwards, we just had main courses, and even then we had to take home leftovers! (I would have preferred less of the fake meat and more vegetables - there are enough vegetables per serving for one meal, but enough fake meat for two people, so if you end up taking some of the fake meat home, you will need some more vegetables to wash it down). We also came here once just for dessert (we cannot understand how anyone can get through one of these main courses AND a dessert - no kidding, the portion sizes are massive - am I just too British?!). The oreo cheesecake was yummy and innovative if a little heavy, while the peanut butter cake was light and fluffy and really delicious. If room in my tummy permitted, I would have loved to try the others. Everything around us looked and smelled delicious.
The service was always prompt and friendly, and as an added bonus, this is a very gay-friendly place with a warm ambiance.
For me, the real appeal of this place was getting to try food I had heard of but never been able to sample, as I have been vegan since childhood. I was always curious about 'soul food' and happy to get to have a cruelty-free taste. After eating here a few times in short succession (we were on holiday), my partner and I felt nostalgic for healthier food, but for an occasional treat, especially if you need a compromise for a veg*n and an omni, this is a great little place. If you are not dining alone and want to try a range of things, one starter, one main and one dessert is an ample meal for two people.

Pros: Yummy food, Friendly service, Huge portions

Cons: Not very healthy, Too much like meat for some palates

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Vegan Soul Food - Yum! - Edit

My favorite restaurant in NYC - I go here every year! The BEST buffalo wings with blue cheese sauce and fish sticks with tartar sauce - ALL vegan, of course. The service here sucks and the people are NOT friendly at all - could it be that I wore my Republican shirt and they're liberal hippies? Maybe. But I looked beyond that and the food is AMAZING!!!!

Pros: Faux Fish Sticks, Vegan Buffalo Wings, Vegan options

Cons: Service, Unfriendly, Too far from home

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Seriously disappointing - Edit

I have been to Red Bamboo many times since I go to NYU and live in the area. Every time I went back with a feeling that if there are so many good reviews I must be missing something. Well, I don't think so. Junk food is just not my thing.
I don't like junk food. Even if it's vegan junk food. If you are used to eating a lot of meat and miss it but don't want to have any animals on your dinner plate, Red Bamboo is a good place to go, but you won't find much other than fake meat. It is a fake meat paradise and a true vegetarian's hell. Yes, the soy chicken feels like chicken. Yes, their sauces are rich and greasy. No, these are not healthy foods. Like another reviewer said, the side veggies are missing. So when you order soy chicken skeweres, that's what you get. A couple skewers with deep fried processed soy smothered in a rich sauce and nothing else.
What disappoints me the most about Red Bamboo is the after-feeling of being unsatisfied and "down". I love vegan food and I am a good cook, so I know how truly amazing vegan food can be, all the while being healthy and nutritious and uplifting. Red Bamboo is none of these for me. It's not "oh my god" tasty, it's not healthy, it's not nutritious and it's not satisfying. Even when I was craving greasy comfort food Red Bamboo didn't do it for me. An alternative? Try Curly's Vegetarian Lunch. Or cross the street and get a dosa from Thiru the Dosa Guy. That's a better lunch special than what you will get at Red Bamboo.
That being said, the desserts should be evaluated in a separate category. They are good. But so are desserts at Life Thyme, plus they are bigger and less expensive. If you want an afternoon tea and desserts with friends, this may be a place to go... if you don't mind the freshly painted smell in Red Bamboo. I don't know if they purposely make the place smell that way but to me it's suffocating. An alternative? Go to Gizzy's or to The Bean, both just a couple blocks away.

That being said, if you are in the mood for an uninspiring vegan burger and fries and beer, it may be an OK place...if you can survive the smell (I guess if I did, you would be able to, too). That's how I can justify the two cow faces, otherwise it would be only one, which I am not allowed to give.

Pros: desserts, location

Cons: junk food, uninspiring, bad smell

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seriously awesome! - Edit

i love red bamboo and before i found out i was pregnant, i would drag my husband out to brooklyn just to eat their. i am more into raw foods now but for my wedding this past august we had red bamboo catered and our guests loved it!! its a very trendy type of place and the wait staff is soo nice and helpful. we love literally everything on the menu esp. the peanut better bomb!! prepare to gain 5 lbs when eating that cake! its great! their have been a few times when i ordered take out and the food was off, but i would just tell them i was unhappy and they would make me another one! really an awesome vegan place!

Pros: food, service

Cons: location

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there's only love here.. - Edit

i love red bamboo. i love the people who work there. i love the food. i WISH they would bring it to la, because it would for sure do well there. i love the bbq buffalo wings, salmon rolls, chicken parm and creole soul chicken!!! i love red bamboo. that must be the thing i miss most about NY.

Pros: food, price, sweet employees

Cons: possible wait

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Great Soul Food - Edit

I fell inlove with this vegetarian restaurant the first time I ate there. I suggest trying their bamboo nuggets (taste comes close to chicken as mock meats can) and make sure to request their honey mustard sauce for dipping. My favorite dishes are their chicken parm entrees and bamboo ribs. Most of the dishes I highly recommend, but make sure and order their side dishes of mash potates with corn and the likes. And if you're lucky, they have awesome chocolate vegan cakes with caramel sauces which are "must try" desserts. Soy ice creams are always available, but for those with sweet tooths it doesn't hurt to try their cakes. However, only problem is waiting to be seated during the evening when this tiny restaurant is jam packed. Waiting time can run anywhere between 30-45 mins. They have friendly staff who can assist you with questions / suggestions you might have. Tiny restaurant is dimly lit for a pleasant dining experience. And food is well priced for the value and quality you're getting. I do not suggest a place for large groups and parties as the restaurant space is quite tight.

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Great mock meats - Edit

Our meal was well worth the 45 minute wait. The mock meats tasted exactly like the real thing. My 7-year old daughter and I loved the Crispy Sole Filet - best vegetarian meal I have ever had (How do they make soy flaky?)! My husband and 9-year old son loved the Classic BLT with mock bacon that was like the real thing. We also had the Grilled Chicken Salad which was also great. The Red Bamboo is a must for any vegetarian visiting or living in NYC.

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Shockingly bad - Edit

I went here while visiting New York on advice from friends. I had heard how good the food was and been told that it was not to be missed.

I was there with four other people and each of us ordered something different. I tried bits of every plate as well as an appetizer. Everything was really unappealing. And, I have eaten meat in my earlier years and nothing tasted like what it was supposed to taste like. So, it would not even be a good place to take non-vegetarians as an introduction to vegetarian eating. For example, one of my dining companions had a faux-salmon dish. It tasted nothing like salmon yet had a fishy smell and taste. For those who don't know, fish should not taste or smell fishy, but this did in spades It is as if the chef decided to caricature meat dishes rather than make something that genuinely tastes good.

The service was so-so. Nothing horrible, but nothing spectacular, either.

Maybe it was an off-night or something but I was amazed that someplace with such good reviews on this site would serve such amazingly bad food. I might go again to see if it was just a bad night, but I'm in no hurry to do so.

Pros: Service is friendly

Cons: Imitation meat does not taste like meat, Imitation meat does not taste good, Very little other than fake meat

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My Favorite All-Vegetarian Restaurant - Edit

This is the one thing I miss about living in NYC! My favorite all-time restaurant (along with the location in Brooklyn), I have never known any other place to have so many soy-meat options. Even all of my meat-eating friends/family cannot believe how realistic so much of it is. Even though I can understand some of the reviews saying that it is not the healthiest vegetarian food due to it being very processed much of the time, there are also plenty of healthier options on the menu (salads, stir fries, etc). My only complaints about the Manhattan location are that you cannot make reservations and it can get very crowded, and it is a small space. I much prefer the atmosphere and seating at the Brooklyn one, and I don't think I have ever had to wait there. Oh, and both locations are a bit pricey (expect to pay at least $10), but it's worth it since they are so specialized.

Pros: Excellent food, Large portions, Unique food

Cons: Small space, Long wait, Bit pricey

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This place is awesome - Edit

Unfortunately, I do not live in NYC, otherwise, I'd visit this place more often. I've only been twice, but it's by far one of the best veg-friendly places I've visited. It can get very packed and I'm not sure how I feel about the tight/cramped seating where you're basically rubbing elbows with other people. I assure you though, it is just a very minor qualm, because I can't complain at all about the food. Excellent place, I hope it's here to stay.

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A Must-See! - Edit

I went on a multi-city trip over the holidays and it was my goal to eat at as many veg restaurants as possible (don't have them at home). This place hands-down wins. Amazing value for the money and amazing food. While this place is mostly vegan, I was annoyed that they still carried a few items with dairy/egg in them. With so many menu items that are so tasty, where's the point in continuing to sell cruelty? Also, expect a long wait. We came on a regular weeknight and had a 30 minute wait in the cramped waiting section before being seated at a cramped table! My main issue, however, was just looking around me and seeing all the amazing food everyone was eating, it made it very difficult to choose. We tried the bbq chicken legs, calamari, and collard green "rolls" (which turned out to be spring rolls) for appetizers. The BBQ legs were my favorite. For entrees, we got the half BBQ chicken meal and a beef meal. The beef wasn't all that great, but the chicken was. We also split a vegan Coke float and a slice of brownie-bottom cheesecake. The cheesecake tasted so real, we didn't trust it. We tested it on our non-veg friend and he agreed. We had to verify with the waitress!

Also, keep in mind that their portions are really, really, really huge. Don't fill up on appetizers like we did!

Pros: Mostly vegan, Large portions, Great tasting and unique

Cons: Long wait, Not all-vegan, Cramped

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nice nice nice - Edit

i actualy went there 2 times but i forgot about what i had the second time!i had the Buffalo Barbecue Wings as an starter once and the Creole Soul Chicken as an entree.it was really really good they are pretty fast and the waiters are always nice.also you should get a dessert in there they have the original vegan treats cakes...yummie

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Simply wonderful - Edit

This is my all-time favorite veggie/vegan restaurant in NYC. Even my non-veggie friends love it and come here without me! Everything I have ever had here has been spectacular, including the desserts. I love it!

Pros: Everything

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Wow - Edit

This teeny, busy hole-in-the wall is faux-meat heaven! It had a casual, neighborhood feel, friendly (but not intrusive) staff, killer entrees and stellar desserts. Awesome find!

Pros: great food, neighborhood restaurant

Cons: small and busy

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Good Vegan Food That's Easy on the Wallet - Edit

We ate at Red Bamboo on a recent visit to the city and we were very pleased with our meals. We ordered the Buffalo "Wings" which had us drooling from the first bite. I also ordered the Soul Chicken appetizer which I couldn't finish. The Seitan Sandwich had a little too much sauce for me. Next time I'll order it light on the sauce. My husband had a Creole Chicken burger and raved about it too. Wish we had arrived with emptier stomachs because we couldn't finish everything. The best part was that prices were very reasonable for NYC. Service was quick and the atmosphere pleasant. Try it if you're in the Village!

Pros: Good Soul Food, Buffalo Wings!, Affordable

Cons: Only in NYC!

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try the bourbon chicken! - Edit

the bourbon chicken is my favorite thing on the menu & anyone else i know who has tried it says the same thing! it's amazing. there's usually a wait and it's a tight squeeze but they know what they're doing down there, that's for sure.

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Great place - Edit

Red Bamboo has a huge, diverse menu with great, inspired and unusual dishes. I had their mango-pepper "chicken" which was spicy and sweet. Excellent mixing of tastes and the portion was huge, enough for two meals. The service was fast, friendly and attentive. I didn't like their lemon cheesecake, though, which was too hard, too sweet, and also dried-out. Prices are excellent, especially compared to other veg. places in NYC.

Pros: Taste, Prices, Service

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Tough choice next to VP3 - Edit

Both of these restaurants are so good it makes for quite a quagamire to decide which to go to, considering their proximity. I came here for the first time a few months ago on a trip to NYC. The restaurant is smallish and has an okay atmosphere. The staff was nice but we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table. I liked most of the things we ordered, but not everything. The Vege buffalo wings appetizer was amazing. I also had a ginger beef stirfry which was fresh crispy and delicious. My gf had the whole chicken, which she really enjoyed. The chicken comes shaped like a real chicken with a neck and everything, the presentation here is clever and creative. Lastly, the ice cream here is some of the best vegan ice cream youll eat. Altogether, we were 2 vegetarians and 2 carnivores. Between us, we vegetarians liked the place, but I think our meat eating girlfriends enjoyed it more. But considering the selection and tastes, its hard to not like Red Bamboo.

Pros: Varied menu, Creative presentation, Meat-eaters like it

Cons: Smallish, Not enough tables, Noisy

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Wonderful! - Edit

We dream about Red Bamboo when home in London - this is one of the best vegan places I have ever been to. The menu is mostly mock meats and thats fine by me! The Buffalo Wings are amazing, so is the Philly Steak sandwich and the Soul Chicken. I have even flown home to London with takeout for my husband, this is how good it is!! The staff are lovely, tattooed boys and girls with friendly dispositions and attentive service skills. The icecream shakes are to die for and are a meal in themselves. The menu is extensive and everytihng I have opted for has become the current favourite! Please go when you are in NYC!! - you really will not regret it!

Pros: mock meats, kind staff, variety

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Good for mock meat dishes - Edit

Red Bamboo is good for tasty mock meat dishes. While the food is tasty and filling, it's definitely not nutritious vegan health food. While many mock meat restaurants have Asian-dominated recipes on their menus, I was pleased to discover that Red Bamboo has many non-Asian dishes as well. We shared "fish" sticks with tartar sauce (just okay), collard green rolls with "pork" (excellent), "chicken" parmesan (good), and creole sole "chicken" (good). It was definitely filling! We were lucky and found a lunch table for two right away, but I imagine that the place must get very crowded at dinnertime. It's pretty small. Reservations might not hurt.

Pros: very filling, nice flavors, good location

Cons: not very nutritious, not much seating

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I don't know - Edit

I've been to Red Bamboo 3 times...and the third time I only went for dessert (which is, I've been told, imported from Gianna's Grille in Philly, and those same cakes are sold at Teany). I waited 2 hours at the no reservation restaurant on a Friday night...and the food, while not bad, was not worth a 2 hour wait, particularly when it all tastes like the stuff I get in the freezer section at whole foods...

If you're big on vegetarian meats, then this place is for you. If you want vegetables, don't bother.

Pros: vegetarian meats, really good cake

Cons: very few veggies, small space/long wait

1 Response

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bullcityveg 22 Feb 2013 - BTW-- these cakes are from Vegan Treats in Bethlehem, not Gianna's Grille. You can get them at many other places (Atlas Cafe sells them).

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the best vegetarian food i have found - Edit

this is simply the best vegetarian restaurant i have found so far. the mock meats are incredible and the vegans cakes (made by the same vegan chef who used to make the Veg City Diner cakes) are absolutely incredible. suggested entree: butterfly chops with collard greens with a jerk seitan skewer for an appetizer. dinner prices are reasonable (at least for NYC) ($8-$13) and the lunch specials, featuring slightly smaller portions and/or sandwiches with an appetizer, are superb and cheaper. all non-vegan menu items are carefully marked. if you are feeling adventurous (or under the weather) try their hot ginger juice. it will cure whatever ails you.

Pros: vegan soul food, vegan cakes, lunch specials

Cons: can get crowded

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