Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's Just a Chunk of Metal

A group of vegan and vegetarian friends and I go out to lunch once a month. We call ourselves The Veggie Five. We're like super heroes, but without special powers, and we don't fight crime. We just get together occasionally and eat vegetarian food. Today we ate at Pukk in the East Village.

Pukk is another "pan Asian" vegetarian restaurant, like Zen Palate or Gobo, but with an emphasis on actual vegetables over meat analogues, in a Thai style. They offer $6 lunch specials which come with "vegetable clear soup" and your choice of an appetizer and an entree. I chose Spicy Spring Rolls for my appetizer, and Pepper Garlic Chicken for my entree. The spring rolls are fried, and wrapped in eggless egg roll wrappers. The Pepper Garlic Chicken has a few chunks of fake chicken and a good helping of vegetables. The "vegetable clear soup" is much tastier than it sounds, and saltier than one would expect. All-in-all, it was a filling and tasty lunch, but nothing amazing. It was better than Zen Palate, and cheaper.

Our pal Ravi ordered Pad See-Ew Duck, which he claimed tasted very duck-like in both flavor and texture. (We were a little concerned about Ravi's familiarity with authentic duck cuisine.) It even came with a surprise chunk of metal that looked like a twisted stainless steel suture. When he brought this to the attention of our waitress, she said something vaguely apologetic and retreated to the kitchen for more information. She eventually returned and assured Ravi that the metal was nothing to worry about, and mumbled something about a free dessert, should he be interested. We eventually pressed her further on that point and he got a free chocolate cheesecake mousse, which he shared with all of us. It was delicious and metal-free.

The bill for all five of us was around $73, gratuity included. I would definitely go back, but would scrutinize my dish for foreign matter.

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