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.
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.
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.
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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The last Vegan Night was wild, so wild that we were very unprepared for it! We felt so bad that we ran out of virtually everything on the menu so we are doing “Asian Again”… It took us a cpl attempts to get the bar food vegan nights dialed in so we are going to have another go at the Asian theme, and WE ARE GOING TO FUCKING NAIL IT. Last time a few things were salty, a few things greasy, and we ran out of everything, and we were understaffed…this time will be different, Mark your calendars!!!