With the increased popularity of the vegetarian and vegan movement in our country, unsurprisingly the Orlando restaurant scene now offers a variety of choices when it comes to meat-free restaurant venues, including Ethos Vegan Kitchen.
When entering Ethos, a friendly host welcomes customers. If ethos is filled to capacity customers sit on comfortable leather couches while waiting for a booth. The large restaurant’s decor is industrial and eclectic, with high unfinished ceilings, open polished cement floor, with mostly four-seat booths, a few tables and a long bar with chairs lining it. One then enjoys an overall artsy feeling, and it features displays on the walls of local artists’ canvas for sale to the public.
The server initially offered drinks, and the appetizers and entrees were served without delays. The server was knowledgeable of the menu and answered our questions politely, and suited our needs for drink refills.
The menu ranges from appetizers, to salads, to entrees and desserts, which include the items from the in-house bakery and, as clearly written, the menu includes 100 percent vegan (made without meat, dairy, eggs, or any other animal derivatives or byproducts), and gluten-free items. Each menu category offers a variety of choices, from bruschetta and empanadas to pizzas and calzones. Prices are moderate, in the range of $9 to $14 per entree item.
The Garlic Knots, ($4.95) homemade dough tied by hand, baked until golden brown, brushed with garlic and Parmesan cheese, tastes freshly baked and fluffy, and the dipping sauce tastes just like butter.
The Healthy Trio ($7.50) a house favorite, consisted of black and green olive tapenade, homemade hummus and tomato-mango salsa. Served with pita wedges, blue corn tortilla chips, cucumber, carrot and celery sticks proved to be a favorite of the night. The delicious dipping condiments included a tasteful olive tapenade. However, the un-toasted pita did not fulfill the menus clearly stated “toasted pita triangles” description.
The Sausage Rolls ($5.25) spicy sausage baked in flaky pastry dough served with a tangy Dijon saucecame through with a realistic sausage flavor. The rolls might fool anyone unaware of its lack of meat because of its texture and flavor.
The Boxty ($5.25) Irish potato pancakes, served with sour cream and topped with scallions tasted fluffy with a substantial consistency. The Boxty itself needed a bit of salt and pepper, but one can always add that themselves.
Listed as a new appetizer, the BBQ Empanadas ($6.95) are flaky pastry dough stuffed with slow cooked barbecue pulled chickun (vegan substitute for chicken) and caramelized onion, baked until golden brown, and served with a creamy horseradish sauce. However, it failed to meet culinary expectations. For a first time vegan eater, the consistency of the chickun was disappointing, and the inclusion of caramelized onions gave the dish an unexpected sweet taste. The BBQ Empanadas lacked crisp.
The Pecan Encrusted Eggplant ($13.25) became a favorite with the duo sautéed to perfection and finished with red wine sauce, served with mashed potatoes and gravy and sautéed asparagus. The mashed potatoes had an excellent fluffy texture and melted right in your mouth.
The Rustic Italian Pasta ($12.95) penne pasta sautéed with Italian sausage, onions, garlic, red peppers, green peppers, black olives and artichokes and lightly tossed in marinara sauce, was also pleasing. The dish presented itself well with a colorful variety of fresh ingredients and thick red sauce featuring a tangy taste.
The pepperoni pizza pie ($10.95) homemade hand-tossed dough with marinara sauce certainly did not come through. From the first bite, the undercooked flavor left the dough soft, the pizza slice sloped downwards while eating. When brought to the server’s attention, she politely offered to replace it with a new pizza, but the offer was respectfully declined. Even so, the exchange represented the service’s efficiency.
Overall, Ethos Vegan Kitchen was a pleasant culinary experience, leaving customers with enthusiastic reviews. The flavors impressed, and the ambience in the restaurant exhibited a welcoming feeling with the soft lighting, friendly hostesses, and comfortable booths. Ethos definitely exceeded expectations with their food. The dishes unique flavors sends customers on a culinary adventure, especially for those apprehensive to veganism.
Name: Ethos Vegan Kitchen
Cost: $3 to $16
Address: 601 S New York Ave B, Winter Park, FL 32789
Stars: 4 out of 5