Moosewood Restaurant

Review by: Michael Stern

We were skeptics when someone told us to eat at Moosewood back in the 1970s. At that time, vegetarian food had a hideous reputation, and rightfully so. It was a bad-joke cuisine made up of mock-meat, bitter twigs, and curdled beverages, generally served in restaurants that had all the charm of a locker room. The Moosewood Restaurant changed all that – at its original place, still in the Dewitt Mall in Ithaca, and in its great cookbooks, which have become scripture for meat-frowners. Meals at Moosewood have helped teach the world that vegetarian food needn’t be a lame substitute for “real” food but that, in fact, no-meat cookery has pleasures all its own.

Moosewood is a free-spirited enterprise that reminds us of an art gallery more than a restaurant. Dining is informal and inexpensive and service is communal, meaning that orders are taken and food is served by whichever member of the staff is available to perform the task at hand.

One memorable lunch included a Mexican and corn cheese pudding that was creamy, sweet, and gently peppery, topped with a garden-fresh tomato chile sauce. We also had a tofu walnut burger — a lightweight patty of pseudo-beef, made from walnuts, vegetables, and tofu. It had a rich, deep taste and a pleasing coarse-cut, crusty texture and came smothered in good 1000 Island dressing on a thick piece of Moosewood toast.

While the menu lists vegan chocolate cake, we chose a fudge brownie topped with vanilla ice cream. By any standards, vegetarian or not, it was grand.

What To Eat

corn pudding

planet burger

Olivada Baguette

Chipotle Salmon

Mediterranean White Bean & Tomato Salad

Unsweetened Fresh Lemonade


Moosewood Restaurant Recipes


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