Mundo Vegan: Where Healthy Meets Delicious In Montclair

BY  |  Tuesday, Apr 08, 2014 3:45pm  |  COMMENTS (16)

mundo veganGenetics has made me the anti-Bourdain. A few chronic conditions, high cholesterol among them, prompted me to adopt a low fat vegetarian plus fish diet over a year ago. Hardcore stuff, no meat, no cheese (damn, do I miss Ruthie’s Texas Sausage pizza) little or no gluten and less than 15 grams of saturated fat per day.

Fast forward. I lost almost 30 pounds, feel a lot better, was able to ditch a gaggle of meds and learned how whip up a good number of tasty vegetarian meals — albeit with a lot of chopping. So when I learned about Mundo Vegan, (vegan, organic, non-GMO fare) I was intrigued.

We visited Mundo Vegan on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The space (formerly inhabited by the Stock Pot) is clean and simple. The soundtrack for meal was an interesting blend of flavors — American standards, new music and Latin influences. Chef Fanny Fuentes-Phalon also infuses her food with her Latin heritage.

There’s also a curious physical map of Pennsylvania and New Jersey on the south wall. Is Christie planning to go Putin on us and annex the Quaker State? I can hear his reasoning— “There are a large number of Springsteen fans in Pennsylvania and we must protect them,” but of course, I digress.

Eager to try the food, I started with Mundo Vegan’s red juice — a harmonious mix of kale, carrot, lemon, beet apple, celery, lettuce, zucchini and pineapple juice. The sweetness of the apple and pineapple balanced out the usually strong flavor of the beets.

My partner had Fair Trade Catskill coffee with homemade organic almond milk. How’s that for a mouthful of political correctness? The iced brew had a rich flavor, and with the almond milk, reminded me of a kinder, gentler Thai coffee.

lasagna 2
We shared two appetizers: a vegetable soup that shimmered with quinoa, and packed oodles of veggies — carrots, celery, onions, tomato, sweet potatoes and zucchini — into a savory broth; and organic mushrooms mildly spiced with pan fried garlic slivers and served with house-made tortillas. The rustic tortillas, cut into triangles, were perfect for scooping up the earthy mushrooms.

Now we’re heading into the bare knuckled, no holds barred veganmania —the entrees. My partner opted for the lasagna, organic cashew and sprouted tofu ricotta, homemade sauce, served with a side of sauteed Lacinato kale and slices of avocado. As an Italian from Queens, I have had my share of lasagna and this cheese and meatless miracle was pretty darn good — even Matilda Cuomo might like it.

mundoI had the Masitas, an old Cuban favorite originally with pork, but prepared here with gluten-free sautéed seasoned protein, topped with a raw organic cashew cilantro creme sauce and served with organic brown rice, red beans and kale. The sautéed protein cubes tasted much better than their name and played nicely with the cilantro creme sauce. They weren’t pork-flavored wannabees. These cubes were proud to be vegan fare. They had a garlicky flavor and slight chewy texture that made the meal hearty. The brown rice and beans, cooked to perfection, added to that heartiness and made the meal satisfying without that stuffed-to-the-gills feeling. The kale was a tasty foil.

lemon raspberryDesserts also did not disappoint — an apple crisp was good, but the lemon quesadilla (don’t be fooled by its name — it is cake) made with homemade almond meal and topped with a warm maple berry sauce was superb — the tart and sweet flavors of the lemon and berries playing off each other perfectly. Also worth trying: the chocolate “ice cream,” made from coconut. Creamy and sinfully rich — a treat for those of us who have given up dairy.

There wasn’t a speck of food on any of our plates — everything was that good. The friendly server (the entire staff was attentive and welcoming, creating a feel good vibe that went beyond the delicious food) says the clean plates are a common occurrence.

Bottom line: If you want to live long, eat healthy. If you want to eat very healthy food that also rewards your tastebuds, give Mundo Vegan a try.

Mundo Vegan, 20 Church Street, Montclair, 973-744-5503 (see Facebook for menus/updates)

16 Comments

  1. POSTED BY Cary Africk  |  April 08, 2014 @ 3:52 pm

    The food here is fabulous! I could eat here every night and be very happy!

    But its also a labor of love! The ingredients are carefully chosen producing a most wonderful result!

    A great addition to Montclair’s restaurant scene!

    Cary

  2. POSTED BY myshkingfh  |  April 08, 2014 @ 4:00 pm

    But the hostess is the best 🙂

  3. POSTED BY Cary Africk  |  April 08, 2014 @ 4:47 pm

    The hostess is terrific!

    And they all make you feel like you’re coming home to family!

    Cary

  4. POSTED BY thinking4myself  |  April 08, 2014 @ 4:56 pm

    Eager to try it! Have heard good things. I hope they do well–a much welcomed addition to town.

  5. POSTED BY cathar  |  April 08, 2014 @ 7:13 pm

    But no mention at all of prices. Either above or on the restaurant’s own web site.

    Silly me, I’m not willing to pay high prices for the likes of kale and black and red beans. And what on earth are ” seasoned protein cubes?” I thought of Soylent Green when I read that phrase.

  6. POSTED BY mitchl  |  April 08, 2014 @ 9:16 pm

    Mundo Vegan is a fabouous restaurant run by wonderful people. Staffed by friendly folks and the food is amazingly delicious. It’s my go to place every Monday and due to my schedule I would be there more often if possible. A great addition to Church Street!!

  7. POSTED BY theprimroseplath  |  April 08, 2014 @ 10:06 pm

    A vegetarian diet plus fish is not a vegetarian diet.

  8. POSTED BY the28thfish  |  April 08, 2014 @ 10:32 pm

    I was flabbergasted by the high prices and microscopic portions. The food was extraordinarily mundane.

  9. POSTED BY thelantern  |  April 09, 2014 @ 6:34 am

    Organic ingredients cost 2-4xs more than GMO crops. Mundo Vegan’s prices are available on their Facebook page along with their daily menu.
    I was there already and the servings are enormous! And it’s really good to know that no cruelty to animals was committed for my desire for organic, non-GMO, vegan food.
    The owners have repeatedly posted that their food is 100% guaranteed.

    28, did you tell the owners?
    Oh that’s right you wouldn’t be able to complain on social media if you had.
    #SMH

    Don’t worry Tracey and Fanny your biz is only 10 weeks old. Don’t listen to the incapable and insecure. Your efforts are admirable and successful. Ignore the noise.

  10. POSTED BY sezwhat  |  April 09, 2014 @ 8:10 am

    Yes, a vegetarian diet plus fish is not a vegetarian diet. Then again, the writer did not claim to be a vegetarian either, just describing his diet. Relax

  11. POSTED BY Grover  |  April 09, 2014 @ 8:51 am

    I had lunch there back in February and enjoyed my meal. I found it to be a bit on the simple side for restaurant fare, but it was certainly hearty and delicious. I thought the portion size was pretty average for the price (~$10 I believe), and reasonable compared to what I pay for lunches in the city when I’m at work. They really care about making you happy too – everyone was very friendly, and when there were some delays in service (bringing out my food, getting me the check), they were quite apologetic and offered me dessert on the house. How often do you see that these days? I’ll definitely be back!

  12. POSTED BY macky  |  April 09, 2014 @ 11:11 am

    This place is serving good healthy food at prices that reflect both the cost of such and are in line with other Church St restaurants. The light filled room is really pleasing.
    In my opinion, the best thing I’ve tried are the masitas, which are made from Beyond Meat, a plant based protein product that is gaining such popularity that I just read a feature about it in the New York Times the other day. I’ve seen it in Whole Foods and mainstream markets.
    I am looking forward to seeing what the kitchen does with the summer season and abundance of produce, and looking forward to a meal and an iced coffee out on the sidewalk in the warmer weather. Thanks for being here, Mundo Vegan.

  13. POSTED BY alic314  |  April 09, 2014 @ 11:29 am

    We ate there earlier in the winter (when the sidewalks on Church Street were lost under all that snow! So happy it’s finally all gone!) and we loved it. The staff was extremely friendly, the food was great. And the lemon quesadilla dessert is awesome, really tasty! Very similar to the almond cake that Mesob serves.
    Hope they continue to do well-happy to have it as an dining option within walking distance of where I live!

  14. POSTED BY Howard Beale  |  April 09, 2014 @ 12:12 pm

    I’m not a vegan or vegetarian but my wife and I stopped in last Sunday for a bowl of soup. $7 for a (very) large portion and $4 for a regular bowl. The soup was so tasty and satisfying that we decided we had to return soon for one of their dinner nights.

  15. POSTED BY dogmom  |  April 09, 2014 @ 12:20 pm

    I eat a plant-based, no-oil added diet due to heart health concerns. So it was with great anticipation that I went to Mundo Vegan. However, and perhaps because we went in early March when the restaurant first opened, my experience wasn’t as good as the others who have posted. Yet after reading all the positive comments, I will give Mundo Vegan another try.

    I went with a rather large party, 8, and overall we would have liked to see much less emphasis on processed foods (such as the Beyond Meat product, for example, or the vegan lasagna) and more emphasis on amazing dishes created with fresh vegetables and fruits, both cooked and uncooked ie salads. Unlike most other posters here, we found the food just ok with no plans to return; I hope my next trip there will find some improvements.

  16. POSTED BY theprimroseplath  |  April 09, 2014 @ 8:19 pm

    Oh Sez.

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