Vegan Night at Bar Luchador

January’s “I Can’t Believe It’s Vegan Night” at Bar Luchador was “Far Out, Far East” which was hit or miss, but mostly miss.

A bowl of rice noodles with red peppers, basil, and peanuts at Bar Luchador's I Can't Believe It's Vegan night

Update: On May 4, 2020, Bar Luchador announced they are closing.

January’s “I Can’t Believe It’s Vegan Night” at Bar Luchador had the theme “Far Out, Far East.” I was skeptical since the last thing I want is someone bastardizing and/or appropriating food that is quite personal to me. Even using the word Asian is such a catch-all, as there is a huge difference among the cuisines of Asia. The menu did seem to run the gamut, from egg rolls to a banh mi to their take on drunken noodles, and even Thai Fried Bananas for dessert.

Vegan appetizers at Bar Luchador's I Can't Believe It's Vegan night included general tso fried cauliflower, egg rolls, and dry spiced fried cauliflower

I had three dining companions, so we ordered several things from the menu and shared them among us. It’s always a fun way to try a good variety of food at any eatery. Let’s start with appetizers.

The orange soy glaze on the Generally Tso Tso Cauliflower was amazing but there was way too much of it, which took away from the cauliflower. It felt like all I was doing was eating spoonfuls of the glaze. The Not Egg Rolls included house-made seitan and veggies, but when I took a bite, oil came pouring out of them so I wasn’t able to taste anything else. I do think they were fried well; they mainly needed more time to sit and drain.

Finally, the others were adventurous enough to try the Szechuan Spiced Cauliflower which touted itself as having a “spicy and numbing spice blend.” Last time, the buffalo wings were too spicy for me so I wasn’t about to try these. However, when the others were adamant that they weren’t all that spicy, I gave it a go and they were right. So much for numbing.

A banh mi sandwich with plant based meatballs using Impossible Foods burgers, plus mayo and pickles at Bar Luchador's I Can't Believe It's Vegan night.

At the top of the post, you can see the Late Night Noods which is rice noodles with red peppers, basil, and peanuts. There was supposed to be broccolini and mushrooms, which were obviously few and far between. This dish was marked “spicy” on the menu, which it definitely wasn’t.

The best thing I had was the Lemongrass Meatball Banh Mi made with Impossible Foods plant based meat for the meatballs. While it was delicious, with some sweetness and an excellent crisp on the meatballs, the mayo and pickles added no heat which the menu claimed was sriracha mayo and spicy pickles. These would have added some nice depth to the dish.

Fried bananas dusted with powdered sugar at Bar Luchador's I Can't Believe It's Vegan night

I rounded out the meal with Thai Fried Bananas, and I regret it. As soon as I bit through the lovely crispy exterior, my mouth was greeted with basically liquid banana. Blech.

On the plus side of all of this, the Bar Luchador folx sound like they’re well aware of the issues. So much so that they’re doing it all over again! I have to give them props for having pride in what they do and being humble enough to admit to mistakes. It’s not easy, and I have complete faith in them. See you there February 11!

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