Friday, October 23, 2009

Dao Palate: Delightfully vegan

By Marshall Slater

Pan-Asian vegan cuisine; it’s certainly a niche specialty, but one that works very well at Dao Palate. The essence here is in using a base of fresh and diverse vegetables and combining these with a wealth of intriguing sauces, herbs and spices to yield a most delicious alternative to the usual Asian cuisine.

It’s a very pretty place, with golden lighting hidden away at floor level, illuminating both walls of the space. A very comfy bench runs the length of one wall, which is made of weathered brick and topped with elegant metallic sculptures. The other wall, which runs alongside the wine and beer bar, is made of patterned stucco.

As the weather changes, the pumpkin soup is a great way to stave off the cold wind, made with thick chunks of fresh, sweet pumpkin in a delicious broth made with root vegetables and white beans.

The vegetables, by the way, since they are the foundation of the restaurant, are personally purchased every day by the chef and owner to assure excellence and consistency.

Starters run the gamut and include an Indian Pancake that is deep fried and cut into billowy squares, which gets dunked into a marvelous thick curry dipping sauce studded with potatoes, cauliflower and tofu. There is Curry Samosa, served with sweetened mint chutney, the doughy, crispy covering wrapped around a mélange of veggies. The Steamed Dumplings are excellent, with a delicate skin, which adheres to the vegetable amalgam inside; the skin literally melts as it hits your mouth, allowing the flavors of the interior to come forth. The Spinach Shumai is beautifully and artfully crafted into little pleated cups.

Other starters include Baked Eggplant with saikyo miso sauce, seaweed cabbage wrapped with assorted mushrooms in a BBQ sauce and avocado, mountain yam and mango with a lime wasabi sauce…among many others.

There are also a host of noodle and rice dishes including Korean style stir fried glass noodles with vegetables and a vegi fish cake; cold green tea noodles tossed with sesame sauce; stir fried udon or soba noodle soup with soy filet and vegetables, edamame, and at least a dozen others.

Like all the courses, main dishes are served on pure white plates decorated with flowers. Choose the sautéed cilantro tofu and shiitake mushrooms; the cilantro leaves are chopped and served with butter soft tofu. There is also the firmer seitan, a protein substitute, which is treated to a smoky teriyaki sauce and served with excellent sugar snap pea pods.

Other options include the mango soy protein with vegetables in a plum sauce; Malaysian curry stew with soy protein, carrots and potatoes; eggplant and string beans in a garlic sauce; General Tso’s soy protein with broccoli; and Pineapple “vegi” seafood with coconut milk and curry sauce.

Try the black pepper seitan with Chinese broccoli or the Jade mushroom with kale in a spicy sweet sauce; there is a vegetable medley wrap with pignoli nuts and sautéed shredded bean curd with peppers, bean sprouts and chives.

Note that beverages are unique here, and include 14 different teas – Brazilian Berry to Fireside Chai plus Thai and Mint Iced Teas, mango lassi, wild ginger ale, organic apple cider, an array of juice combinations made from fresh squeezed vegetables and many, many others.

Dao Palate

329 Flatbush Avenue; 718-638-1995 or 1998

Hours: Sunday – Thursday, noon – 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday until 11:30 p.m.
Most major credit cards are accepted.

Outside catering is a specialty; private parties in-house for up to 80Free delivery within a two mile radius.

Photo: Kristine Jegi and Dominic Savino of Prospect Heights enjoy their meal. Photo by Stefano Giovannini


Copyright © 2009 All rights reserved

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP