Time Out says
Veganism is drag cuisine. A carrot dresses up as a hot dog. A mushroom plays dinner host as a pork chop. Coconut lip-synchs for its life as bacon. Whole Foods now sells vegan toro sushi. (Spoiler: It’s tomato.)
While we celebrate veganism’s evolution and range, it’s strange that many vegans’ way of saying their food tastes good is to assert how much it tastes like the “real thing” instead of doubling down on its veganness. No other palate is so focused on what it’s not. Who could imagine defending pizza by saying, “You can’t even taste how Italian it is”?
Matthew Kenney—the self-titled “world’s leading plant-based chef” who is “crafting the future of food”—had his work cut out for him, then, when he debuted Bar Verde as not just vegan but Mexican vegan. The dude is a white guy from Connecticut and Maine, but hey, who—meat-eating or not—doesn’t love Mexican food? Besides, veganism has evolved into a movement with chic, high-profile members, including NBA players (like the Celtics’ Kyrie Irving) and singer Zayn Malik (who has a vegan “eco-leather” line with Versace). Yet has vegan cuisine caught up with its 21st century cultural sophistication?
The answer here is a hard maybe. Verde’s menu finds the vocation in equivocation, swinging wildly between dialed-up brio and phoned-in blah. Bummer: The nacho tortilla chips might be cardboard. Bonus: They’re sturdy enough to carry heaps of delicious toppings, including a butternut queso we mopped up eagerly, nearly wiping our plate clean. The heart of palm ceviche, with its plump choclo and lush leche de tigre, is an inspired adaptation. How does the same kitchen also produce a bowl of pozole verde that quickly devolves—after an Instagram-worthy presentation—into the sludge found on Dagobah, Star Wars’s swamp planet? Shredded maitake mushroom tacos with dense, buttery spiced guacamole are dazzlers. But so many other tacos fizzle: The tempura avocado drowns in lime crema, the spicy cauliflower delivers only on the cauliflower, and the carrot tacos are nudged above boring only by the ineffable charisma of smoked pineapple (which could’ve made any of the other tacos better). The mango cheesecake is delicious, but unfortunately, it sits atop a crust that tastes like someone spilled salt onto stale Kind bars. Paired with sumptuous chocolate sauce, the churros themselves ask, “¿Alguien en la cocina ha comido esto antes?” (“Has anyone in the kitchen eaten this before?”)
Kenney, who was nominated for a James Beard Award in 1994 and in 1995, seems driven more by his own promotional programming and pomp than by his customers’ palates or thoughtful pride in veganism. Verde turns over so many new leaves that a visit starts to seem like three-card monte. Win some, lose some.
Users say (5)
Average User Rating
4.8 / 5
- 5 star:4
- 4 star:1
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
This is a terrible review, not to even mention this horrible three page spread on multiple vegan restaurants. This man clearly did absaloutely no research and came in with plenty of biases hindering him from making a well thought out accurate review of any of these restaurants. Shame on this man and shame on TimeOut for publishing this trash.
I found this review to be racist and sexist. This restaurant is incredible and I give it 5 stars. I think this restaurant deserves a more respectable review and that Richard Morgan should stick to writing for Playboy.
I'm sorry upfront for any possible grammatical mistakes in my comment below (I'm from Europe).
The review annoyed me very much with usage of slang that is not polite to use in such respectful megazine like Timeout. Moreover, the author of the article use innapropriate familiarity towards a very respectful vegan chef. Another questionable thing is a critic of a vegan cuisine which imitates taste of meat products.
Personally, I became a vegan (ten years ago) just because I found the products on the market that tasted exectly like my favorite salami, ice-cream, etc. (So I find it is normal that maxican taco tastes like mexican taco in vegan version) I was raised in a calture where meat and cheese are dominant, so for me this switch to healthier food was very smooth. Future generations who would be raised as vegan (and would not know the taste of real meat) would experiment with vegan cuisine more and will be more original.
This review is absolutely absurd. I honestly can't believe the editor of timeout let these be published. This man obviously has distain for veganism and vegan food and probably shouldnt have been selected to do a three restaurant review on these amazing new vegan establishments.
Further more his comment is extremely racist. Their chef is a Mexican national and has worked in Michelin star restaurants in Mexico city. Not to mention Matthew Kinney cuisine is the farthest thing from imitation meat. They are unapologeticly plant based. Nothing is listed on the menu as "chyken or fysh" like so many vegan restaurants do. So no matter how large your vocabulary is you obviously did little to no research before writing this article, which I would assume is part of your job.