Shiny Happy Vegan
Cafe Gratitude serves vegan with a side of style
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.