Does New Orleans finally have its very own vegan restaurant? If you enjoy well prepared, traditional Korean food and don't mind eating at a bar, I believe it sure does. Over the course of June,the team of Christion Troxell and Colleen Cronin took root in the kitchen of the infamous Hi-Ho Lounge on St. Claude Avenue (just downriver of Elysian Fields). And after their Grand Opening party on Friday the 8th, they'll be open for dinner six days a week.
Their social media profiles proudly proclaim a simple mission: to show the people of New Orleans that "good food is universal, whether it's vegan or not!" As a huge proponent of delicious vegan food, I couldn't agree more. And if you're looking for authentic Korean cuisine, you're not going to do much better than this: Cronin has developed the menu out of the foods she knew and loved as a child, as cooked for her by her South Korean mother.
Before this place came along, I was never a huge fan of Korean food. And it's not very prevalent here in Nola. So I'm delighted to say that the dishes I've sampled at the Buddha thus far have blown my mind. Last night's offerings included a main course of dubu jorim (braised sweet-but-savory tofu cutlets), served aside lightly steamed spinach with a delicate sesame flavor, mildly spicy cucumbers, and of course the ubiquitous kimchi.
A word on kimchi. Historically, I have actively disliked and avoided the stuff. But I wanted to have the full Wandering Buddha experience, so instead of shoving it aside like my inner petulent child wanted to I gave it a shot. And it's amazing! Like everything they serve it's being made from scratch, and I believe that makes all the difference. I'm expecting big things at the Grand Opening on Friday, when the full menu will be unveiled and there will be free samples!
So as of this moment, I'm encouraging each and every one of you to come out on Friday and support this new venture! New Orleans now has one more place to find amazing food, to which I say hell yes.
To keep up with all the developments over at The Wandering Buddha, make sure to check out their website and Facebook page.
See you Friday!