Friday, April 9, 2010

Health Has No Fury: Claire's Cornercopia

Continuing their adventures in the depths of Health, the bloggers treated themselves to Claire's Cornercopia, a popular vegetarian restaurant on Chapel Street. Behind the counter towering over customers looms a vast black board menu ranging from breakfast, Mexican, sandwiches, pizzas to daily specials and soups. Hans and Mendez's eyes darted from the menu to a cake covered counter. An open kitchen stands to the right of the counter where people work frantically.

The bloggers immediately noticed how busy the restaurant was. Even on a rainy afternoon Claire's was packing in hungry diners. The clients differed from Edge of the Woods, substitute Noam Chomsky with "Going Rogue," but the Torah remained on many a reading list. Clean cut yuppies keep the fixed gear crew out, allowing more room for J. Crew shopping bags. Classical music soothes the crowded atmosphere, there is no room here for elevator muzak.

A tattooed extra from either UHF or a Burning Man documentary took the bloggers order. Hans ordered a soy beef potato patty; while Mendez ordered the Grande Burrito. Both dishes where brought out to the bloggers minutes later. They were left waiting long enough to know that the food was cooked to order; it was brought to the table fast enough for them to know that there is no dilly-dallying going on in Clare's open-kitchen. One neat characteristic about Claire's is that they take your name when you order. They then holler this out into the dining room to find you. Due to the nature of blog celebrity, the names Vladmir and Bugsy were given. Better to suffer soft chuckles than die hard fans while eating.

Mendez, who claimed to have lost his appetite, being surrounded by the yuppies found it in a hurry once his burrito was served. Yuppies or not, the burrito was delicious. It was comprised of asparagus, buffalo soy chicken, refried pinto beans, brown rice, and one under cooked carrot. The carrot came as a shock, but an appreciated one none-the-less. The buffalo sauce was distinct, but not over powering, making for one filling and tasty lunch.

The soybeef potato patties came as a trio; not as bad as Green Day, not amazing like the Band of Gypsies, but enjoyable like The Three Stooges. They were pancake sized and retained the soybeef flavor over the potato and other ground stuff. They were breaded and flakey and the side of sour cream enhanced the experience. The daily special white board said the patties would be served with a mango chutney but alas, not. A side of apple sauce was consumed in its place with a slight hint of resentment. The food is worth the ten dollars one spends at Claire's; it's filling but not too heavy and rises above expectations.

Mendez needed to use the rest room and felt embarrassed, for he had to ask for a key. Like Studio 54, one must ask to be let in, but once inside it is worth the scrutiny of the restroom bouncer. Embarrassment is a small price to pay for a facility so clean and bum free.

If you are looking for vegan or vegetarian options Hans and Mendez recommend Claire's over Edge of the Woods. The two are incomparable in quality. Claire, a contributor to New Haven culture, has earned her stripes and admiration from Hans and Mendez, be it from longevity, published cookbooks, or newspaper articles.