In a time when tastes are divided, carnivore vs. herbivore , can a foodies’ needs be met by green, vegan cuisine? Adham Nasser owner of Herbivore believes that fresh, well made complex food can satisfy every appetite. There are three locations to choose from, so I joined Adham at the location on Divisadero in the new hot neighborhood for young artists and students. Walking down the street I immediately feel like I’m in a John Hughes film, and I’m looking around for Molly Ringwald and Ducky. There is vibrant graffiti on the old brick walls of buildings and college kids littering cafes and record shops. Here is the neighborhood in which the Herbivore resides. There is nothing un-urban about the place. The walls of Herbivore are lined with pictures of fruits and veggies, painted in still life style. The café/bar/kitchen is open and cluttered with vegan pastries and teas. Behind the counter is a large red wooden panel displaying alternating lemons and limes for colorful, visual pizzazz. The menu is tempting and eclectic, with food ranging from burritos or sharwma to lasagna and hot and sour soup. I tell Adham I am in the Asian persuasion that day and he highly recommends the Lemongrass noodles with tofu, his personal favorite. As I dig in to a very hearty helping of rice noodles, veggies and tofu tossed in a house made lemon grass sauce I’m thinking at $8.95 a plate I will be back here for gnocchi tomorrow. The mixture of oyster mushrooms, bell peppers and other veggies tingle in my mouth with the lemon citrus, Korean chilies and cilantro. I wash down the crisp light dish with a glass of creamy iced chai tea, one of many different healthy and absolutely delicious drink choices the restaurant has to offer. I’m eyeing the fresh fruit smoothies next but can’t help but be intrigued by the bio-dynamic wines and organic beers Herbivore has to offer. I’m torn to drink in the afternoon or not to drink in the afternoon, that is the question. Hmmm…better not, should probably save myself for one of the many delicious vegan pastries that Adham brings in from Maggie Mudd’s and Black China bakery. I’m suddenly caught by an action out of the corner of my eye. The young beautiful server in knee high biker boots who is waiting on me gets caught up in the ecstasy of Fame by David Bowie playing over head and begins to twirl in her floral blue and green dress. This is no joke I am definitely caught up in an 80′s coming of age movie and I like it. The food, music and staff contribute to the allure of the space and make me feel instantly hip and sophisticated. I immediately want to call up all my friends and sit around swirling wine while debating if Kurt Vonnegut’s, “A Man Without a Country”, is truly a memoir. This place is too hip to be square. I have found my local place to grab a carrot juice and munch on tempeh BLT’s.
Life has taught us it’s a jungle out there and that it is survival of the fittest. Well Adham is trying to make the world the fittest it can be. With his restaurant contributing to the rapidly growing green trend by providing mostly organic, green, vegan food Adham is hoping to recruit people to the cleaner way of eating. With hearty affordable portions that are complex and full of flavor I can see this urban hotspot being packed wall to wall with the carnivores boys soccer team and the vegan, SUV hating hippie.
San Francisco Location:
531 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117