Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dining Out: Bentara

Last night this vegan enjoyed a special birthday dinner for a special person at one of New Haven's most popular restaurants, Bentara. We've eaten here on numerous occasions, and the reason why we keep returning is because the atmosphere has that perfect combination of subdued and lively, plus the food is delicious.

Almost always it seems as if we're surrounded by Yale grad students and professors letting loose after a long day of philosophizing. And the conversations continue while slurping down curried rice fettuccini.

I love a restaurant kitchen that can accommodate special requests. Bentara never disappoints on this account. They don't even flinch when I ask that the traditional Pechal appetizer be made without the shrimp paste, and it still tastes fabulous with the slightly spicy peanut sauce drizzled atop a warm stack of bean sprouts, green beans, cucumber, jicama and shredded carrot. It's the perfect way to start a meal.

It's tough deciding on an entree. Again, just about anything on the menu can be modified so that it is vegan-friendly. Last night I had a craving for thick rice noodles, so I ordered the Mee Kari, a noodle soup with a rich, thick coconut curry broth and bits of cabbage, carrot, potato, bean sprouts and green onion. Halfway through the deep bowl I inevitably find myself saying "please, no more!" but it's so good that I almost always stuff myself to the brim and finish the whole thing. Last night I practiced rare restraint (knowing that there were two heaping servings of vegan chocolate pudding waiting in the fridge at home) and asked to have the remaining curry packed up to go. It made for a perfectly satisfying lunch this afternoon, particularly after being augmented by some broccoli and bok choy.

If you're a vegan in search of a good meal in New Haven, be sure to head to this sophisticated little eatery for some flavorful treats.

1 comment:

BB said...

great post, thanks for the info! it's good to know that the soups don't necessarily use a fish/chicken stock base, too.