Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Birthday Dinner at Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro & Bar

One of the many reasons that Chris and I relocated to New Hampshire was to be closer to my family. Other reasons included, but were not limited to, having actual seasons, more affordable homes, and less population density. We were worried, though, about leaving Austin's amazing vegan and vegetarian restaurants behind.

Last month, the two of us stopped by Green Elephant in Portsmouth, NH for dinner after a day at the beach. We had an absolutely wonderful meal full of flavor and atmosphere. So, when my family inquired as to what we should do for my birthday, I could not resist the temptation to return.

The bistro and bar has an extensive wine, beer, and cocktails menu. Chris's family celebrates birthdays with "birthday drinks," so I felt obliged to order one for the occasion. I tried the restaurant's signature cocktail, the Green Elephant. It combined vodka, coconut water, lime juice, and Thai basil. I enjoyed it immensely! In fact, it brought me to such a happy place that the rest of my meal was akin to a spiritual experience.

Appetizers were in order! We sampled the King Oyster Tempura Mushrooms and Crispy Wontons. The mushrooms were just DIVINE. For someone who adores mushrooms, I had never had the oyster variety. It was just like eating fried scallops. Yum, yum, yum!

The wontons I didn't particularly care for but could see how many individuals would like them. The filling was vegan cream cheese and spinach. The dipping sauce was kind of a sweet pepper chili sauce. I enjoyed the crisp dough but did not care for the combination of creamy spinach and sweet chili sauce. But my wife liked them a lot.

I just couldn't get enough of these mushrooms.

Now, for the main courses....

I chose the Tofu Tikki Masala. The curry soup contained chewy bits of crisp on the outside tofu, firm chickpeas, creamy edamame, wilted spinach, and a whole lot more. The base was perfectly spiced (I ordered spice level 1), extremely creamy, and just absolutely wonderful to consume. As a side, what seemed to be a smoked fried rice. The two together seemed like an odd combination at first, but I savored every last bite of that smoked rice.

Chris ordered the Pad Thai, made vegan by eliminating the egg. According to her experience, it was nicely spiced for her (she ordered spice level 4). She felt it was "well balanced," tasting like Pad Thai should...

My mother ordered the Veggie Citrus Spare Ribs. She described it as having the perfect mix of citrus and spice. The soy filet was tender. Her favorite part was that each vegetable was trimmed to the perfect bite size.

Although I'm not sure how they felt about their meals, the other two members of our party seemed to enjoy their meals, too. This is my brother's review.

I believe he ordered the Char Guay Teow.

Although I wasn't expecting anything less than wonderful, I remember sitting in my seat over my pretty copper dish, sipping my spicy soup with thoughts of such appreciation. "Wow," had been a word I thought quite a bit. I had a surprisingly emotional experience (though the cocktail may have had a lot to do with it).

Find them at 35 Portwalk Place in Portsmouth, NH. For questions or directions, 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.

No comments: