Indian Road Café Brunch Vegan Review: Is the Long-Ass Walk Worth it?

I’m all for the hole-in-the-walls, undiscovered-nookish, indie-caliber restaurants, cafés, eateries, or whatever-the-eff-you-want-to-call-ems. When you “stumble upon” a place that makes you feel like you’ve really discovered a culinary gem, you really can’t compare the feeling (though biting into a So Delicious Almond Crunch Bar comes pretty darn close). But Indian Road Café kind of let me down.

Certainly, I had that initial feeling when I walked in, exhausted from searching for it for 20+ blocks waaay up in Inwood. Nestled on the corner of the last block of Manhattan, a block adjacent from the Hudson, it has that cosy, comforting atmosphere with its mahogany wood panels, mismatched chairs and sectioned-off dining rooms.

Woodsy, burnished interiors add to Indian Road Café's nook-ish charm.
Woodsy, burnished interiors add to Indian Road Café’s nook-ish charm.


It’s the kind of place you would want to catch up with an old friend at, reread Moby Dick with a cup of Americano, no sugar, or simply lounge about in front of the bar (it has two different ones respective of the two sections), discussing whether or not it’s Tony Soprano’s butt mark on that particular chair (the tables are from the original Sopranos set, after all). In fact, it’s definitely a place you wouldn’t mind diddling away the hours at on a particularly non-eventful day.

The service is hospitable, friendly and non-threatening. I had no gripes about that.

But this is a review from a vegan standpoint, after all. That having been said, it’s definitely NOT a good place to go if you are vegan.

There was one– and only one– remotely filling, non-salad, vegan item on the menu during brunch when I visited, as they were out of everything else that was vegan (what’s up with that?). And it was waaay overpriced.

My super-overpriced burrito... oh why oh why is it so damn small?!
My super-overpriced burrito… where is the rest of it?

It’s the Indian Road Breakfast Burrito, which was essentially a super-flat (re: half-inch thick), moderately tasty veggie wrap. I actually enjoyed how it tasted, but for $12 ($9 for the base burrito, plus $3 for tofu substitute), I was not pleased. The burrito, which was appetizer-sized, left me very hungry, and I wasn’t about to shell out even more $$ for overpriced fare.

Even though I was still hungry, the burrito at least tasted pretty good.
Even though I was still hungry, the burrito at least tasted pretty good.

Considering I was basically forced to pick this burrito for my lunch, I was hoping the café would be more generous with their one vegan dish, being out of both their vegan sausage and biscuits (how hard is it to make a biscuit?!), the only other vegan thing on the menu. But no. A tiny, unfulfilling, vegan dish I did receive.

Other than paying too much and being hungry, the burrito had a good flavor. The tofu was cooked to just the right consistency, and the accompanying tart salad greens refreshed my palate.

I had also ordered an $8, about 6 oz. small mimosa, which barely contained any alcohol. They’re lucky I barely drink.

What a tiny little mimosa. Kind of reminds me of when I would have 6-year old tea parties with my mom's stolen champagne glasses.
What a tiny little mimosa. Kind of reminds me of when I would have 6-year old tea parties with my mom’s stolen champagne glasses.

Indian Road, I was sorely disappointed in my kids-menu portion. Maybe next time you can feed me properly (if there is a next time)?

Carrot Ratings:

Food – Fair, but really, can't you do better?

Prices/Value – Needs a load of work

Atmosphere – Near Confection Perfection

Service – Near Confection Perfection


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