Yes, we're all eating healthier, but vegan fare still brings to mind unsatisfying helpings of lackluster salad (not to mention macrame and mandals). But the recently opened Café Gratitude revises the crunchy-granola cliche.
Housed in a sleek, glassy box on Larchmont Boulevard, Café Gratitude serves a variety of international dishes such as bountiful corn tacos overflowing with brown rice, hearty black beans, zesty salsa roja, guacamole and creamy cashew-based cheese. In a nod to nearby Koreatown, there's a delicious bowl of sea vegetables, kale and crunchy sprouts, with either quinoa or local brown rice, enlivened by a brightly-flavored, house-made kimchi.
The key to the flavorful fare: Secret, raw-ingredient sauces including sesame-ginger, garlic-tahini and Thai-almond. By turns piquant and smooth, they bring together each dish's collection of strong, fresh flavors--we love the bowl of sautéed vegetables with local brown rice, which comes with your choice of sauce.
Granted, the menu reads a bit cultish, with each dish named as a self-help affirmation. Customer to the server: "I'll have the ?I am Fortified' bowl (veggies and brown rice) with a glass of ?I am Luscious' (hazelnut smoothie) please." But the bistro's fashionable clientele leave smiling, so there's something to be said for the power of positive thinking--and eating.