Mission Vegan: HerbiScore

The first time I ate at Herbivore, I left deeply skeptical of the enterprise. I ate lunch there with an ex-boyfriend (amicable, but still), on a rainy day between two job interviews (neither of which panned out), so looking back, I probably wasn’t in the best state to be critiquing my cuisine. The space was dark and cold, and the most memorable dish I had fell squarely into the category of mediocre. After that lunch, I made up my mind that the only thing Herbivore had going for it was that it was vegan. I was like, “What is this place even doing here?”

I heard they had revamped their menu lately so I decided to give it another shot.

Started with a small green juice, which was good and, at $3.95, was definitely cheaper than Sidewalk around the corner.  (Though I still like SWJ’s a little better.)

I was in the mood for a simple dinner, so I got a salad and a side of hummus.

The salad had lots of fresh greens and perfectly ripe avocado. Thumbs up.

Now, for my money, Old Jerusalem has the best hummus the Mission has to offer, but this hummus was still very flavorful and it came with these adorable pickle crosshatches:

So, here’s the deal: if you have the time and energy and daylight and sunshine to run around to make your own salad and then pick up juice and hummus from different locations, you can probably get better options.

But Herbivore has everything in one place with friendly, attentive yet not intrusive, and remarkably well-paced service. My server ran outside after me when I left my umbrella inside (I do stuff like that a lot). It’s clean and quiet and reasonably priced and no longer freezing.  It’s exactly the kind of thing I want to eat on a Monday night after a boozy weekend, or after getting off a plane.

Glad I gave it another shot. I’m going back and looking forward to it!

12 Responses to “Mission Vegan: HerbiScore”

  1. henry says:

    Thanks Caroline, really digging this column.

  2. J-Lub says:

    I am glad it seems to be revamped. It was really HerbiBore before.

  3. Emily says:

    Herbivore is the only vegan restaurant I will gladly go to. Even to get me to Gracias Madre, I must be promised a pitcher of sangria.

  4. jacobe says:

    It’s easier to make your own hummus than it is a salad!!

  5. GinGin says:

    I’ll always have a soft spot for Herbivore. As a teen vegetarian who lived off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, the idea of an all veg restaurant in the city was thrilling. Whatever they were serving then was fine by me — mediocre or not! Now, as a more discerning vegan adult, I still love Herbivore and am SO GLAD they updated the menu. The new wraps are delicious and the stroganoff is great. They’re also, as far as I know, the only all vegan brunch in the city (though I prefer St. Francis for my hangovers).

    Love this column!

    • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

      When looking for good vegetarian food, I usually swear by Anada Fuara. Don’t make it up there that often these days, but when I worked in that neighborhood I must have eaten there three times a week.

      Personal favorite: the Neatloaf.

  6. GG says:

    I’m all for more veg coverage, but the whole thing that’s *great* about Herbivore is their wide variety of entrees that defy stereotypes about what “vegan cuisine” is. Hummus, a salad, and fancy juice are exactly those stereotypical vegan foods. Next time, show the MM-reading omnivores some vegan orange pepper chicken, mac ‘n’ cheese, or lentil loaf!

  7. MrEricSir says:

    Glad to hear Herbivore is stepping up their game. Last time I tried it I was seriously disappointed — it seemed like bland diner food that just happened to be vegan.

  8. Ryan says:

    try their new pizza! it is the JAM (esp with pesto!).

    as are the crepes! nom nom nom nom

  9. natasha says:

    The menu is hit or miss. Nothing is bad but some of the items (like the pad thai and the mac and cheese are…meh!) while other items are delicious. There are a lot of new items on the new menu that are great. My favs: green salad with lemon shallot dressing and soy chicken, the new nachos are amazing, the pizza with bbq “chicken” is really good and of course everyone’s favorite the soy “chicken” shawarma will convince any meat eating friend or family member that vegan food can be interesting and delicious.