Whenever I feel like eating some oily, fried, cream & daiya-drenched soy meat, I head to Kate’s Joint. Why? Because not only do they have a witty menu that entertains me in itself, but the food is actually good. And so what if my waistline grew just a centimeter bigger, I deserve it for saving the world, goshdarnit. :)
*Tip: The Scoutmob App currently has a 50% off offer for this restaurant through April.
First of all, do NOT expect a romantic ambiance in here… unless you’re a darkness-loving, mismatched chair and fauna admiring indie-rock sort of person. Frankly, the name says it all: it’s a JOINT. The graffiti all over the chipped tiles in the bathroom over layers of promotional blog stickers say it all. They don’t give a damn, and I really could care less too… ‘slong as I get my garlic fries in due time.
The service here isn’t the warmest… expect some apathetic young tattooed undergrad waiter/tress to serve you. I don’t have too many real complaints with the service, though I do suspect they lied to me when they told me the orange juice was “freshly squeezed.” Tasted like Grovestand to me (and it came from a white jug too). They’ve messed up my order once (nondairy dish was served with dairy cheese… which I promptly realized after eating some of it!), but all the other times have been all right.
So to start off, here we have my favorite entrée: the Southern Tofu Dinner for Two. It comes with 2 pieces battered, skillet-fried firm tofu, 2 pieces marinated barbeque tofu, collard greens, mashed yams, baked pinto beans, and my favorite part: cheddar macaroni.
The portion size is certainly generous, and the perfect amount for two people. The separate sides come in a mini little bowl that seems to be about the size of an 8 oz cup. I do sometimes even have trouble finishing it all, but I manage to stuff it in at the last moment (yes I am piggy like that.).
As I said, the macaroni is my favorite part: I like to think of it as my “rice” when devouring this dish. Basically: 1) cut off a piece of battered tofu with fork 2) put some macaroni on my fork with the tofu, carefully balancing the two bites 3) shoving it quickly down the hatch 4) repeat repeat repeat, alternating with the other sides. It’s a happy moment for all.
The battered tofu is my second fave part: it’s crispy and fried and lip-smacking good. I’m a crazy hot-sauce aficionado, so I slather on a bit of that stuff and I’m in heaven.
I also like to rub the battered tofu into the BBQ sauce of the other tofu, which is a bit firmer and chewier.
I think this dish brings out the southern in me (if there is any!), and I always look forward to ordering it again. It’s perfectly cooked and just as home-cooked-ish as I like it to be. Seconds, please ma’am?
In signature Kate’s Joint fashion, the Southern Fried Un-Chicken Cutlets could surely have been given a better name, but it needs no further description, really. The “cutlets” are three pieces of battered, peppered, deep-fried firn tofu with creamy mash and Kate’s signature gravy, which isn’t too salty or light… it’s what you’d expect of a gravy. If you want a slightly lighter meal, this would be a good choice, as it’s not super complicated. It comes with the veg-o-day, which stands for “vegetable of the day.” I don’t know why that reminds me of a school cafeteria, but it just does.
Pictured here is the Philly Not-Steak. Although it’s advertised as being on focaccia bread, it’s most similar to a soft sort of wheat bread that is toasted with garlic. I liked that there were two not-steak patties with cheese sandwiched between the two layers. What I could’ve done without was the heavy layer of onions, which were a bit too oily for my taste. The not-steak itself was fair, a little dry, but not too bad. I probably wouldn’t order this again. The fries it came with were your basic everyday fries, nothing too special. It was a good sized-portion, and filled me up pretty good.
Here we have the “Meat-Lovers Pizza,” a delicious concoction of daiya, spicy soy chorizo, spinach, and soy meat bits. I really enjoyed the fluffiness of the crust, and though it is the size of a personal pizza, it really did fill me up. With a combination of perfectly melted daiya mozzarella and cheddar atop the aforementioned soft crust, I would say it is one of my favorites at Kate’s. The tomato sauce was not too overpowering, and I liked the texture of the soy meats with the whole of the pie. Although if you knew me, I loove cheese, so I may be a bit biased. Overall, it is worthy of a repeat order.
Like any normal human being, I love a good pasta dish. That’s why I knew when I espied the Fettuccine Forrester item on the menu, I had to try it. Fresh spinach, mock “pancetta” and portabello mushrooms comprise this heaven-sent Italian inspired entrée. I love wide noodles, especially when they’re drizzled in a slippery, garlicy cream sauce. The sauce is light and just the right amount of oily, and doesn’t weigh the pasta down at all. The mock pancetta is chewy and satisfying, along with the savory portabello chunks. Finally, the spinach was not at all withered, having been gently cooked and made a great vegetable addition to the pasta. The Forrester is a filling dish… just don’t expect to have very *ahem* fragrant breath afterwards. :)
Not my favorite item on their menu, the Fake Steak Au Poivre certainly sounds fancy at the very least. The “steak” part of the entrée, which should be the best portion of the meal, consists of two fried tofu slabs coated with their “au poivre” sauce. The sauce is light and not super-creamy, which I personally can’t decide is a good thing since I’ve never eaten steak au poivre before (in my pre-vegan days). It’s topped with sliced portabello mushrooms that seemed to have been lightly fried. The veg-o-day was mashed potatoes and lightly steamed broccoli, which was not too heavy and was a good complement to the sauce.
As for dessert, I’ve only eaten it once; I was almost always too stuffed to eat it!
The menu does not have any permanent dessert options… rather, they get their dessert from either Vegan Treats or some outside vendor, and they read it out to you at the end of the meal. Here we have a banana chocolate tiramisu, which I quite enjoyed. Banana in a tiramisu was a new concept to me, but I found it provided a unique taste versus traditional tiramisu. The cake portion was nice and soft, chocolately, and the creme on top contained the banana. I’ve always loved tiramisu, so I knew I had to try it… and it didn’t let me down. The portion is also not bad either… I can say with confidence that I am almost never disappointed with the portion sizes here.
Overall, I highly recommend this restaurant as a casual date/friend hangout. The prices are really not bad at all… it’s just a bit of a trek from the 2nd Ave F train stop… but well worth it. Don’t be put off by the rackadilly atmosphere either… it adds to the charm of it all. :)