Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York

Moosewood! Ithaca’s famous restaurant. It’s advertised everywhere and on the top ten to do in Ithaca—apparently they are super proud of it. I was excited to try it because it is a vegetarian restaurant and I was sure they would have a bunch of vegan options. I ended up being pretty disappointed, but it was probably the best food I ate the entire time I was in Ithaca so I was still just happy to be there.

I tried jumping on their website to look at the menu and see what I ate while I was there, but the menu had changed so I wasn’t able to. SOOoooo you get my lovely descriptions instead of the actual names.

For my starter, I got the pita and dip thing. It was basically a couple of warmed whole wheat pita pieces and an avocado, cucumber, and kalamata olive mixture that you put on them. Pretty good to start off with. I was a little surprised, though, because they only had one vegan starter… hmmm.

My entree came with a salad and I got the hummus lemon dressing. I was actually very happy with the salad and the dressing. The dressing was basically liquidy hummus, and it worked well.

For my entree, I got a couscous dish with roasted vegetables. This was really the disappointing part. The couscous was just couscous, no seasoning, no mix-ins, no nothing. The vegetables were alright, but WAY over cooked and under seasoned. The highlight of the dish was supposed to be the artichoke hearts, but I found them overly acidic and didn’t end up eating them. I stuck with the soggy green beans, mushy tomatoes, and less than crunchy bell peppers. The vegetable to cous cous ratio was also way off and the entree was WAY too big.

Honestly, this dish tasted like something I would have been served in a restaurant that had no idea what veganism was—the type of thing that they think up on the spot and don’t know how to cook or season right. Very disappointing coming from an all-vegetarian restaurant. I was also pretty surprised that it was the only entree that could be veganized. COULD BE veganized, mind you, not even vegan! Most of their entrees centered around cheese, so I’m thinking this is the culprit of their subpar vegan food. All of my omni friends seemed to really enjoy their vegetarian meals, so I guess that is something.

For dessert, I got the vegan chocolate cake. At least they had a vegan dessert! This was probably the best part of my whole meal. The cake was rich and moist, and the frosting was perfect. Not too sugary so that you couldn’t stomach it, but just lovely and smooth. I also loved the fresh strawberries.

In the end, I would give it a 3/5. I hate to give an all-vegetarian restaurant such a low rating, but that basically means “It wasn’t horrible, but I wouldn’t eat here again if I had another option.” I was supremely disappointed by their lack of vegan options and the quality of the ones they did offer.

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