After my visit to the impressive and gorgeous New York Botanical Garden, I decided to round out my little day-trip with dinner in Stamford, Connecticut. My mom and our friend Katherine joined me, and after a quick 45 minute drive, we met up with another good friend of ours, Caitlin.
Between the four of us, we had a lot of dietary restrictions to consider, so I worried that finding a place to eat would be tough. Then, Caitlin texted us and told us about one of her favorite places to eat in Stamford: Bareburger. She mentioned that they had something for everyone, including a lot of vegetarian and vegan options. Upon her suggestion, we decided “Why the heck not” and tried it out.
When we arrived in Stamford, I worried (a running theme in my life) about finding a place to park. I soon found that this was a pointless worry (another running theme) - We found a (free!) parking garage just down the block. I don’t think it could have been any easier to get a spot so close to where we were going.
When we got to the restaurant, Caitlin was already sitting at an adorable, umbrella covered table on the patio. I was super excited about this, because dining al fresco is one of my absolute favorite things. Between the cute, shaded patio and the fresh breeze blowing in from the nearby water, I was already in love with this place.
With the excuse of a quick trip to the ladies room, I had an opportunity to check out the funky and interesting decor inside. I liked it almost a much as I liked the patio area. There was a nice looking bar area, with a few cool lamps hanging overhead. It seemed like a lot of stuff, including the bar stools, had been made with reclaimed wood. There were wacky paintings/prints of animals all around, complete with ornate and brightly painted frames - Cows in suits, chickens with hats, that sort of thing. The whole place was quirky and fun, just the way I like it.
After my trip inside, I was back at the table, drooling over the menu. Between the salads, the vegan burgers, and the sides, I could have ordered at least a hundred dollars worth of food and eaten it all by myself. Fearing the horrified looks I’d surely receive if I did that, I narrowed it down to the “Cali Fresh” salad: A big, beautiful bowl of baby kale, green hummus (yum!), red quinoa, grape tomatoes, watermelon radish (so pretty!), red onion, alfalfa, and lemon-tahini dressing. Oh my goodness, you guys. This salad was sooooo gooooood. It wasn’t until after I had ordered that I realized I could have added some vegan falafel (or black beans, or sweet potatoes and wild rice) to the mix. Just writing about it now makes me want to drive several hours for another salad - This time with falafel! I also had a side of sweet potato fries with barbecue sauce - They were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I liked them so much that I devoured them in wayyy too little time.
Before leaving, I also ordered a “Cococado Shake” to-go: Jawea coconut cream, shaved coconut, avocado, and lime - The perfect combination. The avocado flavor was definitely there, but was not overpowering. I thought it went very well with the coconut cream. Overall, I found the shake to be delicious, creamy, and very filling. Caitlin and I actually had one shake split into two to-go cups (for sharing!) and I think that created the perfect (small) portion size for this thick and slightly heavy bev. I would definitely order it again. Thumbs up!
There were a few other thing on the menu that caught my eye, like the "Falafelwraptor" - A collard green wrap with falafel, spicy pico de gallo, alfalfa, cucumbers, pickled red onions, and lemon tahini dressing. (The menu mentions feta, but you could easily order without it.) I love the name, and the wrap itself sounds delicious! I'm also interested to try a "Be My Burger" - A build-your-own-burger extravaganza. Unlike many omni restaurants I've visited, Bareburger offers three different vegan patty options, clearly marked on the menu: Sweet potato and wild rice, black bean, or farmer's quinoa. (I would like one of each, please!) Once you choose your patty, you can choose from 2 vegan buns, which are also clearly marked: A sprout bun or a collard green bun. Then you can decide whether or not you'd like to add vegan cheddar cheese to your patty. After that, it's on to veggie toppings: alfalfa, spinach, red onions, tomatoes, dill pickles, sweet pickles, spicy pickles, chickpea onions (what?), grilled pineapple, stout onions (also what?), mushrooms, and more...And then, (What, you thought you were done?!) it's time to choose your sauce (or sauces, if you're feeling adventurous). Once again, there are several clearly marked vegan options: Ketchup, Mustard, Buffalo Sauce, Curry Ginger Ketchup, Smoke Sauce, Pico de Gallo, Piquante Relish, Tomato Fig Jam, Guacamole, and even Green Hummus. Now tell me your mouth isn't watering! I think I have already decided what I'm getting next time! ("Yes, hi! I'll have 17 "Be My Burgers"with a side of sweet potato fries, please! What do you mean where's the rest of my party? It's just me! What's that face?")
Nearly everything at Bareburger was great. I loved the location, the food, and the decor. The one thing that I wasn’t nearly as impressed with though, was the service. Our waiter (I can’t remember his name, sadly) only visited us a couple of times, and when he did, he seemed very distracted and uninterested. He wasn’t impolite, but he did ignore a couple people at the table. Aside from that, the thing that bothered me the most was the very long wait for the shake that we ordered. Not only were we left wondering what on earth was taking so long, but when it did arrive, it was a little warm (as though it had been sitting out for a while) and our waiter was nowhere near as apologetic as I felt he should be (read: not at all).
Other than that, I really did enjoy my first time at Bareburger. I know that Josh would really like to try it, so I’ll use that as an excuse to go at least once more. The minute I mention that they have vegan carrot cake, I’m sure he’ll be on board.