Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Green Panther, not to be mistaken for its sneaky pink cousin.

I'm sure that if I mentioned the Pink Panther, most people born before the mid-90s would automatically think of slick pink feline and its iconic theme song: do doo, do doo, do doo do doo do doo do do do doooooo... badabababum! Ehhh... you get the jist of it. In any case, Montreal seems to house that panther's greener and hippy-er cousin, the Green Panther.

The Green Panther is a small vegetarian café situated on Mackay street. Unlike the other vegetarian bistros (like Lola Rosa), the Green Panther seems to specialize more in sandwiches and wraps instead of hot dishes, but everything they serve is organic. You gotta admit, the restaurant's logo does look like the Pink Panther's falafel-loving chlorophyll-infused cousin. It's charming, even. Oh wait, that's Snagglepuss...

[Exit, stage left!]

Accessibility - Grade: A
The café is situated on Mackay street, just south of Sherbrooke street. It's about a five minute walk from Guy-Concordia metro, Guy exit.

Service - Grade: B
There isn't really much service, since you order at a counter and pick up the food at another. Also, the girl at the cash didn't really bother acknowledging us when we entered the restaurant and were confused as to how it functioned. Still, once we went up to the counter to order, she was cheerful and enthusiastic. And definitely very chirpy. So take that as you will, I guess.

Food - Grade: B

As far as vegetarian food goes, the Green Panther doesn't serve up the best of its type, but it definitely does a decent job of it. Also, I'm rather partial to vegetarian food, so maybe I'm just biased.

Chickpea curry
I ordered the chickpea curry, which was the plate of the day when I went, and was served with a mound of brown rice and a green salad. I was pleased that they weren't stingy with the ingredients; the curry contained a wide variety of vegetables, such as carrots, tomatoes, zucchini, and various herbs. The consistency was smooth and the chickpeas weren't too dry, which was what I was worried about. The herb-y and spicy flavour of the curry was mild; it was just enough to give it a zyng of flavour, but not strong enough to overwhelm.

Green salad
I thought the salad was also worth mentioning. While the greens were pretty ordinary, the green dressing was particularly good. I think it may have been made with fresh parsley or cilantro, or one of those green leafy herbs, but it was creamy - yet light - and sour, but not overly so.

Vegetarian burger combo
My cousin ordered the vegetarian burger and made it a trio'd it up with a soup and a drink. Compared to the other sandwiches we saw, the vegetarian burger looks considerably smaller. But as people keep trying to convince themselves, size doesn't matter, right? ...Riiiiight.

Soup of the day
... I'm a horrible food blogger for not remembering what the soup of the day actually was, but this wasn't my order and I only really had one sip of the soup.  Also, I tend to forget things that I'm not that impressed with.  The soup was tomato-based vegetable soup, with celery, tomato and carrot cubes swimming around in there. The soup tasted fresh and herby in a way that indicates that it definitely doesn't hail from a can, but it was also rather bland. Personally, I would have chosen the salad over this.

Vegetarian burger
The "burger" was also pretty interesting. Instead of the typical bun, the burger is served in hollowed-out, pita-like bread. It contains a chickpea and carrot patty, sprouts, lettuce, julienned carrots, a lot of pickles and tomatoes. I thought that the pickles were a nice touch, since they lent a certain juciness to an otherwise dry sandwich. The chickpea patty was also pretty good, but again, it was a little dry. Not the best vegetarian sandwich I've had, but a decent effort nonetheless.

I've also tried their falafel sandwich (not shown here). It was pretty good! Their falafel tastes less greasy than those in Lebanese restaurants, and has a nice blend of spices and an undercurrent of curry. The sandwich also contained sprouts, pickles and coleslaw. This particular sandwich definitely wasn't dry, as it was crammed full of coleslaw and sauce. The mix of greens in the sandwich gives it a nice herby freshness that balances out the denseness of the falafels. The only issue I had with this sandwich was that it drips, and is a bit messy to eat. Also, there's a slightly bitter aftertaste from either the sprouts or the falafels, but it's not overpowering and doesn't take away too much from the sandwich.

Price - $
My plate of the day costed me $10 before tax, and it was definitely enough to fill me up for the rest of the day. A sandwich by itself costs around $6+, and if you make it a trio, it's $5-$6 extra. Personally, I wouldn't call an $8 sandwich cheap, per se, but in the end, your meal still comes up to less than $15. Also, everything they serve is apparently organic, which would explain why everything is a bit more pricey than your average sandwich.

Final Grade: B
Overall, the Green Panther is a nice place to grab a quick bite whether you're an herbivore or an omnivore that just feels like eating healthy that day. They serve up tasty vegetarian sandwiches for reasonable prices. I can definitely seeing myself going back on a day when I feel like fooling myself into thinking I'm eating healthier by eating vegetarian. It just feels so cleansing and refreshing after you eat vegetarian, you know? Yeah, like one meal is going to make a difference... But still, falafels and tofu steak sandwich, here I come!

The Green Panther (La Panthère Verte)
2153 Mackay, Montreal
(514) 903-4744
la Panthere Verte on Urbanspoon


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