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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rawfood Restaurants in NYC: Bonobo’s Restaurant


Bonobo’s Restaurant

Address: 18 East 23rd Street New York, NY 10010
Phone: 212.505.1200
Website: www.bonobosrestaurant.com


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Bonobo’s Restaurant was quite easy to find since it is prominently located on a busy street across the street from the popular Madison Square Park and nearby one of NYC’s historic architectural gems, The Flat Iron. Unfortunately, there was façade renovation being done on the building where it was located so there was scaffolding in front. Once inside the place felt rather sparse and almost had a diner feel to it, except most diner’s have more decoration. There was a large deli to the right and large refrigerators to the left and simple rows of seating straight ahead in the back. Perhaps you can tell that I didn’t enjoy the atmosphere. I got the feeling that this restaurant is designed to be mostly for lunchtime crowds since for dinner it doesn’t give one a comfortable feeling that makes you want to stay awhile.

The next shortcoming was ordering experience which for a first time customer was hard to navigate. Diners order from the large board hanging on the wall or one points to the items in the deli case and orders that way. Since the board is hard to read and understand we ordered by pointing at the food directly. Unfortunately, two of the staff did not speak fluent English and this made it difficult to understand them when asking questions. And questions we had a plenty since items were not marked clearly. After awhile we got tired of asking the same questions twice or thrice. We also made the mistake of ordering packaged foods from the refrigerator since they had a buy one, get one free offer. I say mistake because it was obvious to me upon tasting these packaged foods that they were not the freshest foods.

Bonobo’s Restaurant calls itself a vegetarian restaurant, but as far as we could tell, everything was raw and vegan. The menu states “organic as available”. The menu features “beverages”, “blends (coconut water and fruit)”, “tapas”, “soups” (cold and warm), “salads”, “organic dressings”, “scoops (delicious on salads)”, “organic seed nut crackers, crisps & wafers”, “entrees”, and “sweets”.

The best item we ate was a simple mixed green salad and the Lemon Garlic Tahini dressing was super! The other packaged items seemed old, not fresh. A small pancake like nut pate was not very tasty. The Tomato Soup was nice. For dessert were tried two of their balls: one was chocolate, one was halvah. The halvah ball was very tasty, the chocolate not so good.

Overall, I was glad to have been able to eat mostly, organic, raw, vegan food at a dedicated restaurant, but some of the foods were not fresh or tasty or were poor recipes, and the atmosphere was lacking. Next time I would like to try some of their juices like Pressed Sugar Cane Juice (since this is hard to find & healthy), raw lasagna, and raw ice cream.

Bonobo’s Restaurant
Overall: **
Atmosphere: **
Open box dining hall and deli creates a rather cold, unwelcoming atmosphere. This is not a restaurant you want to linger over a relaxing, candlelight dinner.
Food: **
Service: **
Credit cards: Yes
Drinks Available: A diverse offering of fresh daily made juices and smoothies made of coconut water and fruit.
Price Range: Prices are reasonable and not expensive.
Recommended Dishes: Pressed Sugar Cane Juice, Young Thai Coconut Water, Pressed Fruit & Vegetable Juices, Agave Lemonade, Fruit Blends, Banana Coconut Cream, Tomato Soup, All freshly made salads and dressings, Lasagna, and Halvah ball.
Reservations: None needed.
Sound Level: Relatively peaceful with only a few diners; may be noisy with many people since the space is an open box and there is no real decorations, furnishings, or plants.
Wheelchair Access: Yes

(Key: ****= Excellent, ***= Good, ** = Fair, *= Poor)

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