New Ethic Café stands out in the crowd

The small restaurant, tucked into the corner of North Street and North Winooski Avenue is surprising with its hippie-esque decor, featuring a snug couch in the corner, cozy seating and fascinating artwork, which is something one stepping into New Ethic Café off the streets would not expect. They pride themselves on being 100 percent vegetarian, something which, until now, has been surprisingly lacking in the Burlington area. Their menu uses meat in the description of their food choices, but it is a vegetarian restaurant and serves vegetable substitutes for bacon and chicken. The reason for including meat in their description is, “So we don’t turn off people who eat meat,” Mike Ryan, a New Ethic Café employee said. Their valiant effort to include everyone has been well-received. Although they only came in a little over a month ago, their business has been “pretty steady,” Ryan said. Their chicken caesar salad comes complete with delicious dressing, poured on top of fresh romaine lettuce and (tofu) chicken. Some may be skeptical at first, but, upon tasting, will find that although the chicken is a bit chewy, the batter and taste overpower that texture. One can assume most vegetarians would be pleased with this replacement, although Rosie Buteau, a Burlington resident and meat eater, said, “It’s just too chewy for me. I prefer the real thing.” Their chiliburger, a homemade veggie-burger, with sautéed onions and sweet chili sauce, leaves much to be desired. Though the burger itself was probably good, the sauce was a bit sweeter than one would like on a salty burger. The bun though, was a problem in itself. It was hard and difficult to bite into. It was also larger than the burger, causing the eater to munch on hard bread for the first couple bites – not appetizing. Their savior: It was served with a pickle! One of the best meals on the menu is the Mexican Plate. The meal is served with black beans, cheese, salsa fresca, avocado, corn and green onion garnish mixed with quinoa. However, due to a bad quinoa crop, that day it was served with brown rice instead. The chips were dusted with a salty Mexican topping. Although the side of chips was a bit lacking, the accompanying dip was excellent on its own. It’s also possible to substitute regular tortilla chips, in the event that one runs out.They had a large selection of drinks that sounded appetizing such as Cucumber Lime Cooler and Dreamcicles (pineapple, orange, berry and agave nectar). Whether a vegetarian or not, everyone should try this unique restaurant hidden away in the Old North End. Their prices are average and the food is worth it.