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Not to be confused with the sleek Grove Street Thai of the same name, these tranquil vegetarian eateries serve ubiquitous Asian dishes—stripped of meat add-ons and speckled with substitutes like tofu and seitan—plus Western health food. Oak is the overwhelming design scheme: Furnishings and deep picture frames displaying rows of dried navy beans, black-eyed peas, and other legumes are made from the light-caramel wood. Even tiny gunmetal vases holding dried buds of burdock vanish into the organic surroundings. The presence of mock meat on the menu fits the earthy vibe, and while mushy vegetables with tofu teriyaki might fare better on a commune, tender white slices of soy protein coated in a mellow, but delectable, potato-enriched Malaysian curry may trick skeptical meat eaters. The crowd is less overtly crunchy—Bette Paige bangs and stovepipe gray jeans are as common in the Bedford Avenue space as are colorful Alife high-tops at the diminutive Broome Street locale. If you’re craving a big, market-fresh salad, you’re in luck: Mixed greens layered with shredded mango, asparagus, peppers, alfalfa sprouts, beets, and a sweet, mustardy dressing hits the spot.
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