Sunday, May 15, 2016

Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro Portsmouth, NH

Yesterday, my wife and I spent the day along the New Hampshire seacoast. The two of us moved to the Granite State on April 3rd from Austin, Texas. We lived in Austin for six years and enjoyed so many wonderful vegan dishes from vegetarian restaurants, vegan food trucks, and conventional eateries during our time there. It was one of the many things that worried us about relocating; what would we do when we wanted to eat out? When I lived here prior to 2007 vegan options weren't exactly a thing... Unless you were really crazy about pizza without cheese.

Needless to say, things have changed a lot since then!

Due to the fact that I was unemployed on the day of our visit, we had planned on forgoing dinner at a restaurant. But by the time we finished exploring tidal pools and trails at Odiorne Point we were pretty darned hungry! We're a couple of hikers and photographers so we work up quite an appetite. Chris got on her Happy Cow app and one of the things that came up nearby was Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro.

In preparation for our move, I went on Facebook a few months ago and started adding pages for things that were vegan related. Of course, Green Elephant had been one of those pages. After so many months of oogling photos of their food online I got really excited at the prospect of stopping by on our way out of town! So we went. Even though we shouldn't have spent the money on it.

We arrived at around 5PM and the place was absolutely packed. There were maybe three tables still open, so thankfully we didn't have to wait.

The atmosphere is very hip with industrial fixtures and exposed ducts and beams. A number of the pendant lamps even held Edison bulbs. Trendy, stylish, fun.

I sat with the well stocked bar as my view. I actually enjoyed watching the bartender whip up beautifully crafted cocktails.

While Green Elephant is a vegetarian restaurant, so many menu items are already vegan while many can be made vegan by omitting egg. After debating between Tofu Tikki Masala and Chinese Broccoli with Crispy Breaded Soy Filet I instead decided on the Ginger Garlic Tofu. It consisted of stir fried veggies like carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms, and onion as well as blocks of crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside tofu with a gingery flavor. The sauce somewhat resembled teriyaki. It was spicy but light, not syrupy, which I really enjoyed. With rice on the side, obviously!

Our server asked us for our desired spice level when we ordered. On a scale of 1-4, I chose 2. I felt like it was on the medium-high side. Very spicy to me, but definitely not too much. Meanwhile, Chris's was supposed to be level 3 and she claims it didn't feel very spicy at all.

She did order the Peanut Curry which has coconut milk in it, though (see below) so maybe the creaminess of the dish softened the spice level down a tad.

Looked real yummy from my seat! She tried really hard but she actually couldn't finish the last few bites.

We ordered an orange chocolate mousse pie for dessert to go.

It softened a bit in the 45 minute drive home. I wasn't crazy about the chocolate dipped oranges but I did really like the pie. It came with a crispy cookie crust and had toasted almonds and orange zest on top. It had another ingredient in it that Chris wasn't crazy about, rosewater perhaps? But I actually loved the heck outta this pie. I had only wished there were more of it...

So, was Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro "wicked good?" Um, yeahhhhh! I can't wait to go back, actually. And the best part is that they take reservations!

Find them at 35 Portwalk Place in Portsmouth, NH. To make a reservation, call 603-427-8344. They are currently open Sunday through Wednesday from 11:30AM to 9:30PM and Thursday through Saturday from 11:30AM to 10:00PM. Another location can be found in Portland, ME.

If parking is hard to find, consider parking in the free lot across from the Masonic Temple on the corner of Middle St. and Miller Ave.