Saturday, January 10, 2009

A few thoughts on Gobo

Hi all,

So yesterday I was talking to k during lunch and she told me about her burger. At that point I had to give in. I'd had the gobo itch for a while and that was the alfalfa sprout that broke the weak lentil eating vegan's back. I forced Z to join me for dinner there last night. I called an hour ahead to make reservations and it worked out well enough. We had to push our plans back 15 minutes, but for 7pm on a Friday night in Manhattan that's not to bad.

Now, the dinner menu is far more expensive than the lunch menu, and as K pointed out in her post-there are definitely a few bombshells of mediocrity waiting to be ordered to ruin your experience. Happily I've had significant experience there, so here are a few tips for those who are thinking of going.
1. Never order anything Asian sounding. If it sounds like it would be good at a Thai restaurant, it won't be good here. These are also the things that are on the more affordable side. I think it's a secret ploy to scare away cheapskates.
2. Their beverages are overpriced. Furthermore, their coffee is terrible and their tea isn't loose leaf. You should know what you're getting if you order one, otherwise you might get pissed off at the beverage and it will detract from your dining experience.
3. Although I don't have extensive experience with their desserts, don't bother. If you want a good dessert go to a good dessert place.

As I lusted over the menu I thought to myself ... No, mwr (okay I didn't refer to myself as mwr in my head), you know that these are all good, but you HAVE to try something new. So I did. I got the kale, beet, seaweed salad. It was very well arranged on the plate, so I wish I had had a real camera to take a picture of it. The lighting was too low for my camera phone. There were amazingly toasted walnuts with little sesame seeds on them. They were quite sweet, which was really good since the seaweed was a bit vinegary. It was kind of like a taste war: the nuts were little covered wagons of sweet circling 'round the nasty sour injuns. What I mean to say is, although they complimented one another, the dish didn't 'blend' well. I had to manage my eating so that I would end on a walnut.
The kale was a good kale texture but nothing to blog about and the beet cubes were perfectly soft, but there weren't many of them.

Z got this soy-protein rolatini thing with spinach and mushroom inside. It was the winner of the night. These rested gently atop a mound of mashed taters that were DELICIOUS and had a nice green sauce the nature of which I couldn't identify. There was also a weird succotash-y thing that wasn't so great.

All of these leads me to one conclusion: Gobo does fake meat better than anyone else. If you eat there, order that. It's always more expensive (except the veggie-burger at lunch) but anything else and it's just not going to be as good (with the possible exception of the butternut squash risotto). It won't be bad per se, but it's not what makes gobo rant-worthy.

One last anecdote to drive that point home. I thought seitan was the greatest thing on earth after having it there. I didn't understand why anyone didn't like it. Then I had some at quantum leap and was crestfallen. Seitan isn't the greatest 'fake meat', they just make it perfect at Gobo. My mouth waters just thinking about it.


Queen of Cuisine said...

Seitan is also good at Caravan of Dreams.

I'm really upset that I haven't been to GoBo yet. Now you guys are just rubbing it in!

k said...

my old roommate used to make seitan, and it's really great that way and pretty easy if you have the supplies. otherwise lightlife seitan strips are really not bad!

mmm i want seitan fajitas now.