Northstar Pub, Ithaca, NY

Friends and colleagues of mine regularly visit Northstar Pub. I have been here a few times and have not been as blown away with a meal as I would have liked to have been. The restaurant strives to serve local, organic food (ideally within a 100 mile radius), which is a wonderful aspiration. Their menu even lists items local to New York state as designated by a little NY state symbol (only on their in-house menu, not featured in their online menu). This is all fine, but items that are vegan are not labeled as such on their menu. I would much prefer this to the little NY state icon. Even items that you would assume are vegan, are not necessarily vegan. On different visits, vegan friends of mine have been given different answers about whether the buns they serve their veggie burgers on are vegan. Even their main tofu entree (the house curry special), is not vegan if you get the staple spicy sauce that it is listed to come with (you must order just a sweet sauce).

On a visit to this establishment last month, I ordered the house curry special. I should have known better, as my omnivorous spouse had ordered this dish in the past and I mocked the meal for only coming with four or five pieces of tofu. He wasn’t impressed then, and I certainly wasn’t impressed when I ordered the tofu dish. It was almost as if the tofu was barely cooked and just thrown in with the sauce. Luckily the friends I was dining with had self-identified all of us as vegans, so I was warned by the waitress that the dish was not vegan unless the sauce was changed up (to not include the spicy part of the sauce as it contained fish sauce). Hence, the spicy sauce (which may have made the dish more enticing), was omitted. The dish was bland and so poorly seasoned that I didn’t even take home the leftovers (and I almost always take home leftovers, as not to be wasteful). I’d give this dish itself a 2 out of 5 carrots on my veganlicious scale.

House Curry Special
House Curry Special

The only saving grace for our visit was the Northstar Veggie Burger that my friends ordered on flatbread (since it the buns were questionable, vegan-wise) and our appetizer, which was the Trio of Purees (grilled herb flatbread with spinach almond pesto, olive tapenade, and spanish hummus). Both of these dishes earned 4 out of 5 carrots on the veganlicious scale. The Trio of Purees were so good, and we were so hungry, that we ordered two servings. The purees were all vegan and very tasty. We ate them so quickly, I didn’t even have time to take a picture to post here.

Northstar Veggie Burger (on flatbread) – blurry pic from iPhone

I previously ate Northstar’s Jerked Tofu Wings on an earlier visit and did not find this dish very appetizing either. It seems that the tofu dishes served at Northstar Pub could use some improvement.

Based on all of my visits to Northstar thus far, I rate their veganliciousness 3 out of 5 carrots.