I’ve walked past this small, hopping spot on my weekly trips down 72nd Street. SoomSoom Vegetarian Bar boasts a top ranking spot on New York Magazine’s Cheap Eats. The food is delicious, the staff is wonderful and when you pay at the end, it hardly makes a dent on your wallet for so much food.
I was slightly overwhelmed and confused when I walked inside. The menu didn’t make much sense to me and it was clear to the individuals working there that this was my first time. After stating the obvious to those behind the counter, they helped to walk me through my order, making sure I didn’t head home with the opposite of what I wanted.
My sister had asked for falafel and I was craving a great salad. I saw that eggplant was an addition on the menu and I was really excited. I ordered the salad with eggplant and a side of falafel. The extremely nice manager helped out my situation explaining a great money saving tip, putting the falafel (that came with the salad) on the side and just adding my eggplant. It’s the little, totally genuine gestures that put such a nice marking on a particular place.
Make sure to ask for the punch card because they do not offer to you at check out. I got my first little punch, which I’m sure will be the first of many.
I grabbed the bowl of lettuce from the cooler and began to scan over the plethora of options. The salad bar boasts some of the best Mediterranean flare. The really neat part of this restaurant is that you get to pick all of your own toppings. At first glance, it kind of looks like a school cafeteria set up, but the quality of the food (as I totally snuck bites out of my bowl) is unmatched.
I went a little crazy, adding lots of tomato, cucumber, parsley mix, as well as cucumber, cabbage, eggplant puree, cole slaw and shredded carrots. Chances are, if it was in one of the metal containers, it went into my bowl.
I asked for some containers to bring sauces back home to dress the salad to my liking. I picked a bunch of different kinds, in addition to the container of tahini sauce for Leigh’s falafel. I packed up my food, grabbed extra silverware for less clean up, and headed home to see if my concoction worked.
Each bite was crunchy and flavorful, with the mixture coming together into one harmonious, messy dish. The addition of the perfectly grilled eggplant created the perfect “meat” component to the dish, giving it the necessary richness of flavor.
Next time you walk down 72nd, pass Gray’s Papaya and walk into SoomSoom. It will not disappoint.
SoomSoom – 166 W. 72nd Street – New York, NY
*WARNING: Indulgence of SoomSoom might lead to an addiction. As I was writing this blog, my sister and I got the craving once more. I needed more SoomSoom. For those living on the Upper West Side, your punch card will be filled far too quickly.
Location: Upper West Side, NY
Perfect For: Take Out, Quick Bite, Cheap Eats, Vegetarian
Reservations: Not Accepted
Favorite Dishes: Salad Bar, Falafel