Green Restaurant

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jamiepeachey 2   Green Restaurant

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Green came to be thanks to vegan chef Damon Brasch and his 10-year long dream to open a vegan restaurant. He wanted to create a vegan restaurant where anyone could enjoy the food, not just the veg crowd. The fare is what Brasch likes to call “New American Vegetarian”, which is mostly American comfort food, made vegan. You’ll also find a wide array of cuisines and cultural influences on the menu. From what I read, it’s one of the Phoenix area’s most raved about vegan restaurants with locations in Tempe and Phoenix. We tried out the Tempe location as we were already in the area that day.

Here is a quote from Brasch found on the Green website:

“My grandfather and great grandfather built a house next to a lake. This was the house where I learned to cook. I was seven years old when my grandmother told me to go into the woods to pick fresh dandelion greens for her salad. This was where my hands first smelled of fresh garlic. Where the scent of baking bread intoxicated my senses and the hand rolled pasta made my mouth water. This is where I took the tomato off the vine and placed it into the pot and where we picked the cherries from the tree for the cherry pies that made the neighbors swoon to my grandparents’ house. This is where I fell in love with the asparagus and the artichoke and the arugula. This is where I learned to celebrate food. This is why I cook for you. And this is why I am Green.”

— Chef Damon Brasch

Upon entering the restaurant on Saturday at 12:30, it was packed to the brim. There might have been one free table in the entire place, which was large, especially for a vegan restaurant. Green has a very casual, almost cafeteria-like setting, and is a nice spot for quick lunch or casual dinner. When we walked in, there wasn’t anyone to seat us so we stood there a bit awkwardly until realizing that you have to walk up to the cash to place your order before finding your own table. Noted!

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We were handed two huge double-sided menus and I quickly scanned it, trying to take it all in. I was cursing myself for not looking up the menu online. Am I the only one who loves to do that? When I go to a new vegan restaurant, I like to take my time to look over the menu and consider all my options (I’m not used to having so many), so I felt a bit rushed while standing at the counter with a line of hungry people behind us. Sometimes a good menu is like sitting down with a good book; it’s not to be rushed through and skimmed over with haste. My advice is to go in with a plan or risk a menu meltdown. I kept my composure though, well, mostly. bahah.

After placing our order, they gave us a number and we went to find a table, finally deciding to sit outside since it was such a warm, sunny day.

Just minutes after sitting down, we were brought our appetizers. That was quick! I ordered the Samosas with curried potatoes, peas, carrots, and fresh garlic wrapped in a thin fried samosa with tamarind dipping sauce.

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Excellent! Crispy with a soft doughy interior. I would have loved to see them spicier though. I couldn’t really taste the curry flavour coming through. I had two and Eric had the other two.

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Eric ordered the vegan chili fries which were very tasty and filling. It was large enough to serve 3-4 people easily.

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Just as we started our appetizers, the server brought out our entrées. Having the apps and entrées served at the same time is a bit of a restaurant pet peeve of mine. I like enough time to enjoy the appetizer without the entrées coming too quickly, otherwise it feels rushed and the apps often go to waste once the entrées arrive. I guess they must have been trying to go through people pretty quickly on this busy Saturday. If you want to linger over your meal, I suggest mentioning it to the server before ordering just so they have a heads up. Or maybe it was just a fluke, who knows!

For my entrée, I ordered the Singapore Tofu made up of spicy curried house tofu tossed in a spicy orange glaze over thin rice noodles with fresh vegetables.

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Absolutely, to die for. The orange glaze was flavoured to perfection and it was impossible to slow down, despite my stomach telling me it was getting full. The tofu reminded me of a childhood favourite: sweet and sour chicken balls. I used to be obsessed with them growing up. I can only imagine how good it would taste if this glazed tofu was also battered and fried. I think I would pass out from all the excitement.

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The only thing I would change is to crisp up the tofu as it was very soft. I’m sure with a nice pan fry or bake, it would be nice and crisp.

Yet another “must make at home” inspired meal!

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I finished all of the tofu and veggies and half of the noodles before claiming that I’d have to roll back to the car if I ate another bite. I’m one of those people who has to physically move the food away from my reach or I will just pick at it until it’s gone.

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Eric ordered the Green Burger made up of ground oats, barley, and other unmentioned ingredients. I assume there must have been TVP or seitan in this as well, but I’m not sure.

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He loved the burger and said it had an authentic taste and texture.

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At this point I was stuffed, but Eric had dessert on the mind. I told him earlier that you guys raved about Green’s “tSoynami’s” and he said that we couldn’t leave without ordering one. What an enabler!

You can imagine my delight when I discovered that tSoynami’s are basically vegan “blizzards” made with homemade soy ice cream and a wonderful array of crazy toppings and flavours. You know how much I love my Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Blizzard.

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There must have been over 25 flavours to select from. We also found out later that they had daily flavours in addition to the menu regulars. Cap’n Crunch flavour, anyone?

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I tried to get him to order the Ts’more, but sadly he wasn’t down with ricemellow fluff! Is it good? I’ve never had it before. 

After much debate, he ordered the No’s & Mint made with Newman’s Chocolate O’s, mint flavour, and organic chocolate.

Just what this hot summer winter day called for. It’s crazy to think that it was about 24C and sunny on this late January day.

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Look at Eric waiting so patiently for me to take the picture already. Torture!

While I’m not a huge fan of soy-based ice creams, I thought this was pretty good. I think it would be even better with homemade coconut ice cream or even banana soft serve though. The best part was digging into the cup searching for the huge chunks of cookie. Nothing beats that.

Green is certainly a fun twist on traditional comfort food with many options no matter what you’re craving. While they have a large amount of soy-based processed foods on the menu, I would guess that they can accommodate soy-free requests, or at least I’d hope so. The prices are also reasonable and the portions generous. Hopefully we’ll be back someday because there are many things I still want to try!

Do you have a favourite vegan meal from a restaurant? What is it and where is it from? What is your favourite vegan restaurant?

Out of the vegan restaurants that I’ve been to, Candle 79 (NYC) is probably my favourite so far, with Fresh (Toronto), Karyn’s on Green (Chicago), Calactus Café (Moncton), Thrive (Waterloo), Sublime (Fort Lauderdale), Café Blossom (NYC), and The Coup (Calgary) ranking up there pretty high, although there are still many I haven’t tried yet, including the famous Millennium Restaurant in San Fran.

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{ 160 comments… read them below or add one }

Amber K February 3, 2012

My favorite thing to do is to peruse the menu online. I almost never go anywhere without doing that first, because it’s realllly hard to find gluten-free AND meat-free/dairy-free options at a restaurant. There are quite a few places that are getting hip to the gluten-free thing, but then it’s all about meat. Or I’ll find a ton of veggie options that are just full of gluten. Such a bummer!

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Erin February 3, 2012

Greens looks like a great restaurant! I totally have trouble with all vegan menus, or even places with more than one or two options. It makes me sad that I can’t try everything.

The top two vegan restaurants I have eaten at are Millennium (of course you must go if you’re ever in the area) and Raven’s Restaurant in Mendocino.

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Holly February 3, 2012

If you are ever in Seattle you must visit Plum Bistro. The Mac n Yease is to die for, honestly, my husband (who is not vegan yet) said it’s the best Mac n Cheese he’s ever had. I love their burgers and the cocktails are great too. Also very good is Cafe Flora. They are veggie with lots of vegan options. Great brunch spot. I’m lucky to have so many spots to eat my vegan heart out in Seattle.

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Angela Z. February 3, 2012

If you ever have the chance to try ricemellow you should! It is great!

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Lina February 3, 2012

I read your post over breakfast this morning and immediately wanted some samosas! So I convinced my co-workers that we should grab lunch at an Indian restaurant today. You are such an enabler, Ange! (in a good way, the samosas were delicious!)

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TeenyLittleSuperChef February 3, 2012

Oh wow, I wish we had a restaurant like this near where I live. I would probably eat there every single day. Your tofu dish looks absolutely yummy. I can’t wait to see your recipe for the re-creation. I’m sure it’ll probably be ten times better than their’s. I used to always order the sweet and sour chicken from our local Chinese food take-out place back in the day. That stuff was freaking awesome (or at least that’s what I thought back then). Thank goodness I’ve wised up and stopped eating crap like that anymore. Yay for tofu!

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Sara C February 3, 2012

Real Food Daily has long been one of my favorites, but tonight I am going to try Native Foods Cafe in Culver City for the first time. It’s supposed to be terrific so I am very excited!

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Hilliary @Happily Ever Healthy February 3, 2012

What an awesome restaurant! The food looks amazing! I would want to try the singapre tofu!

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Emily E February 3, 2012

Hi Angela! I’m from San Francisco and I’ve been to Millennium. It’s a good restaurant, but it does not do our vegan restaurant scene justice! There are some great places – Cha ya (vegan Japanese), Gracias Madre (vegan Mexican), Herbivore (yummy salads, sandwiches and breakfast), and tons more restaurants that have vegan options. In the outer bay area (Oakland, Berkeley, etc.), the selection is also spectacular. Everything from vegan soul food to vegan cinnamon rolls to vegan filipino food – they have it all. I think you need to make another visit to the great city by the bay :)

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Anne February 3, 2012

Though not strictly vegan (only veg) Fresh in Toronto holds a special place in my heart. I really miss living down the street from one!

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Rachel F February 3, 2012

I know exactly what you mean about being overwhelmed when at a veg restaurant! It is so hard to choose when you can eat every. single. thing on the menu!

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Charlie February 3, 2012

Hey Angela!

I’ve bee following your blog for a while but haven’t left a comment yet! I think you’re fabulous, and I love all the recipes that I’ve tried so far.
I’m actually from Calgary, and I just recently moved to Toronto for school and I would have to say hands down that The Coup is the best vegetarian/vegan restaurant I’ve been to. I’ve been to Fresh and Live, but are there any other good places to check out in Toronto that even come close to the Coup?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 5, 2012

Hey Charlie! I’ve also heard that http://www.commensal.ca/index.html is very good, although it’s buffet style I think. I haven’t been to it yet!

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luminousvegans February 3, 2012

What great eats you discovered. Two pages of vegan comfort food and then vegan blizzards?! I am “green” with envy :)

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char @ char on a mission February 3, 2012

Yes, PLEASE recreate that tofu dish because it looks soooo good. I would love to try some crispy orange flavoured tofu. If there’s one thing I love, it’s crispy tofu (I basically burn mine in the frying pan haha). I think I’m the enabler in the relationship. But chances are the odd time I don’t want dessert, my husband does and then of course I cave haha!

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Fiona February 3, 2012

My fave restaurant is Dharma’s in Santa Cruz/Capitola! Huge portions of delicious food and very casual. If you ever visit NorCal try to make a stop here because Santa Cruz is a great place to visit what with the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and great hikes in the redwood forests nearby.

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Fiona February 3, 2012

Oh and there’s a cute eco-friendly B&B to stay at in Santa Cruz right near town called Adobe on Green if you ever make a trip.

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Keri February 3, 2012

I still have yet to venture out to the vegan restaurant everyone in Denver says is to die for: Watercourse foods. Maybe this weekend!

On another note, I might have missed it, but have you ever made Samosas? I love them when I go out, but am intimidated to make at home.

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Kilee February 3, 2012

Even though I’m not a vegan or even vegetarian, I always appreciate this type of restaurant. I think there’s a bigger emphasis on fresh produce and veggies always make me happy! Here in Oregon, we’re lucky to have quite a few vegan and vegetarian restaurants. When I lived on Maui there was a vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant that had the best summer rolls. Ummmm… I would like one of those right now!

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Amelia February 3, 2012

At Comet Cafe vegan meatloaf with beer-braised brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes with vegan gravy is absolutely to die for! It’s all I’ve had there as far as dinner goes.. I’m excited to try the vegan gyros and their Leghorn sandwich. The leghorn is a chicken substitute(I would assume a seitan combination), vegan cream cheese, cucumbers, apricot jam, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions on a whole wheat bun.

Plus they have some big, delicious vegan cupcakes!

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Stacey February 3, 2012

You HAVE to go try Millennium in San Fran!! It’s absolutely tasty. While you’re there visiting, which I assume you’ll have a few weeks to try all of the amazing eats, I suggest that you try Gracias Madre in the Mission. All the food is organic, from there own garden and change seasonally.
For dessert, cross over the bridge into Berkeley and try Cinnaholic. Seriously, I’ve never put anything so delicious in my mouth.
Burma Superstar, Souley Vegan, Saturn Cafe, are just a few that come to the top of my mind. :o)

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Ciara Lamoreau February 3, 2012

If you are ever in Halifax, Nova Scotia, try The Wooden Monkey!! Delish Vegan :)

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Katie February 3, 2012

My favourite vegan restaurant is a little place around the corner from my office called Merit Vegetarian. It’s about an hour south of San Francisco. And in my opinion, Millennium is over rated, so save your money and head to Merit if you are ever out this way.

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Deirdre @ Ladies Holiday February 3, 2012

“I want to go to there”…as Tina Fey on 30 Rock Would Say…

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Alyson @ Nourished Fitness February 3, 2012

They have the best soft serve EVER.. vegan or not.. I use to live right by there and miss it like crazy.. yummmm :-)

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Kirsty February 4, 2012

Looks soooo yummie….. Making me hungry xx

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Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers February 4, 2012

I wish we had restaurants like this near me! Everything looks great and the fries, super yum!!

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Lauren February 4, 2012

Wow..the food already was looking so amazing, but once you got to the tsoynamis it was over! Those would be soo amazing for me, I used to LOVE blizzards and basically anything with ice cream and is vegan is great in my book! Looks like a fabulous place, maybe one day if I’m ever up that way I can check it out! :)

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Kat February 4, 2012

It sounds like a fantastic restaurant (the chef’s write up literally made me shiver). I totally agree about crispy tofu.

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Foodforthoughtlinds February 4, 2012

Aux Vivres on St. Laurent in Montreal: http://www.auxvivres.com/en/home/ The dragon bowl is my all-time favourite :)

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Lexi @ Cura Personalis Foodie February 4, 2012

I almost tried Green when I went to Phoenix, but I didn’t actually end up getting the chance! Good to know for future reference though :)

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Aylin @ Glow Kitchen February 4, 2012

I love Pure Food & Wine in nyc, but not for everyday grub. I’d say Caravan of Dreams in nyc. Has a great, warm and dim-lit atmosphere and a great menu.

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Ashley February 4, 2012

The menu sounds so good and the food looks so yummy! Wish there was a location closer to Vancouver.

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laura February 4, 2012

This place sound wonderful! Your so luck to have all these great vegan friendly places near you.
I’v never been to an all vegan restaurant, though I’d love to, but for vegetarian options; vancouvers ‘the naam’ is the best. :)

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Kristin February 4, 2012

There are several places here in Austin, Texas that are pretty tasty. If you ever make it down this way, you definitely need to try Mother’s Cafe (vegetarian), Counter Culture (vegan), and Sweet Ritual – a vegan ice cream parlour that recently opened.

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Katherine February 4, 2012

Oh my gosh, Calactus is my all-time favorite restaurant. I’m from Moncton, and miss my regular eatery since I’ve moved to Ont. Time to find a replacement!

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Melissa Lillie February 4, 2012

We have a new vegan restaurant in Asheville NC and it is amazing! It is called Plant. I lived in LA before and have eaten at several vegan places but Plant is really fantastic!!

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Shelby February 5, 2012

I’ve only been to one all-vegan restaurant and it was on a vacation to Mendocino, CA. It is a very well known restaurant called Ravens. I’m sure many people have heard about it. Beautiful food in a picturesque setting. The resort it is at is eco-friendly and they grow their food on site. I’d love to have more vegan restaurants in my area ( I live outside Sacramento, CA). If anyone knows of any, shoot them my way! Angela, I’m dying to have that tSoynami…I would have gone for the Ts’more too. The Newman Os one looked good too! Did you know they have mint Newman O’s?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 5, 2012

No I didn’t…well I actually didn’t know about Newman O’s all together as I havent seen them in Canada

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Amanda February 5, 2012

Green is one of my favs! I work just a couple of miles away and it is a great place to get out of the office and have a satisfying meal. I have taken my boss there a couple of times and she is also a fan even though she is not a vegetarian. Even my husband enjoys it! :) I can also recommend Spiral Cafe in Ft. Worth, TX. I was in the area on business and found them and they too are amazing, such great food and baked goods. Glad to know you’ve found a little valley treasure in AZ. Take care!

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Sarah L. February 5, 2012

I always check the menu online too…as an aspiring vegetarian it’s good to know what options the restaurant has available before sitting down and realizing all I can get is an iceberg lettuce salad. :)

I’ve never been to a truly vegan restaurant before, but I would love to try Thrive in Waterloo!

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Robin February 5, 2012

Cafe Samana in Tulsa, OK is an amazing restaurant! https://www.facebook.com/cafesamana
Their sweet potato cake is truly to die for – and completely vegan! (most of their desserts are) They also have a signature bean sprout side dish called Samana slaw – local mung sprouts with sliced almonds in a peanut sauce… one of my favorites! My husband and I to go there every Friday night to get our fix!! Tracy the owner is also amazing- super creative. If you are ever in the midwest you have to visit this place. ;-)

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Kristin February 5, 2012

Yay, that is so exciting you were able to try Green. I don’t know if I’ve had the singapore tofu, I’ll have to try that next time. Eric’s Tsoynami looks pretty good too, funny I got the PB N Chocolate one yesterday after a long hike. I’m glad you enjoyed AZ!

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