Strictly Roots

Manhattan, New York City


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rating star

Review from Oct 2010:
I am so disappointed with this place! I went in here this past weekend and every single aspect of my dining experience was negative. My food took about 20 minutes - which is shocking, as I ordered 2 items from the (already prepared) buffet, and 1 item from the kitchen - mac and cheese - which is also already prepared. I think they forgot about my food and then just pretended it had taken a while to make. The food itself was terrible. The mac and cheese was super bland and watery - do NOT order it. The fried tofu was dry and overcooked; and the greens were decent, but I could have easily made them at home. I also got a piece of blueberry cake that was exceedingly bland. The layer of blueberries on top drew me to it but weren't sweet enough to make up for the fact there was no frosting. My modest meal was like $13 - way too much given the portions.

Perhaps the mediocre food wouldn't have been so bad if the table I was eating at (and all the surrounding tables I saw) weren't dirty. And it would have been nice if one of the cooks and the apparent "boss" didn't get into an all-out shouting match in the kitchen. Their fight was VERY loud and the employee came to the front several times, cursing and screaming about how he gets "no respect". Not only did the boss not effectively manage the situation or ask the employee to leave, he didn't address the outburst or apologize to any of the customers in the dining room. To make it even worse, the music stopped just before their fight began so ALL you heard was the fight.

Review from July 2007:
I usually go to Uptown Juice Bar because they have a wider selection, but they usually have the same thing over and over, so Strictly Roots is a nice alternative. This place also has a cozier and more authentic atmosphere than Uptown Juice Bar.

They don't have many options, but whatever they do have is good and the staff is friendly. I had lasagna and fried plantains and they were both really good. I tried the cassava dessert but didn't really care for it.

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rating star

Strictly Roots fills the need for a vegan soul food restaurant in Harlem. The service was friendly, but a bit slow. I was impressed with the taste of their buffet items, especially the tvp pasta and the fried tofu filets. Their vegan mac and cheese wasn't so great, however, and tasted more like bell peppers and water than anything else. Prices are extremely low (most items are under $4-5) and portion sizes are good.

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rating star

I ate at Strictly Roots right after eating at Uptown Juice Bar, another Harlem vegan Caribbean place.

Although the selection was wider at Uptown Juice Bar, I liked the food a bit better at Strictly Roots. It felt a little more authentic, being ital and run by Caribbean people. The plantains were particularly good.

I also tried a desert - a cassava squared with raisins and shredded coconut. It was unique and quite good - it may have even been raw.

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