Monday, October 15, 2007

Restaurants: Bloodroot, Bridgeport, CT

Bloodroot, on the water in Bridgeport, Connecticut, describes itself as a "feminist, vegetarian restaurant". That alone was enough to make me curious. I consider myself a feminist, and I definitely like vegetarian food, so when a friend suggested we plan a visit, I was game (naturally, as two full-time moms and part-time professionals, it took us literally six months to find a date, but we finally went!).

In the dark, finding Bloodroot is a bit of a challenge if you've never been there. Luckily, my friend was a returning visitor, so she directed me to the dimly lit restaurant which looks somewhat like a house. The entrance is on the side, through a lovely patio overlooking the harbor, where diners may eat during the warmer months. True to their philosophy of not being wasteful, all the exterior lights are on motion detectors and go on only when a person enters the patio. In a world of overlit public and retail spaces, it at first seems a bit disconcerting, but upon further contemplation, seems perfectly rational.

Upon entry to Bloodroot, one finds a warm, bohemian-vibed dining room with an open kitchen, and a small, feminist bookstore in the back, that almost beckons you to sit down and read something. The walls are simply adorned with dozens of old, sepia toned and black and white photographs of women. Regular women-- mothers, daughters, and sisters who were important in the lives of others. The menu is written on a chalkboard overhead, and features several seasonally appropriate vegetarian and vegan soups, salads and entrees. Nothing was priced above $17.

The protocal at Bloodroot is simple: make your selection from the chalkboard, place your order at the front desk, pay for your meal, and drop your meal ticket at the kitchen window. When your order is ready, your name will be called and the meal will be waiting for you on a tray at the counter. Don't forget to grab utensils and a napkin! If you want water or tea, you may serve yourself as well. The entire process is very egalitarian; you serve yourself and bus your own table. I like someone waiting on me as much as the next gal, but at Bloodroot it just feels right to do it yourself. We're all capable of doing it, so why not? Sort of evens out the playing field. Very feminist.

During this visit I had a simple, delicious dish of lentils and rice, with a side of green beans and tomatoes, and an olive tapanade, of sorts. For dessert (yes, there is dessert too!), I had a dairy-free chocolate cake, and my friend had an Asian Pear tart. The cake is actually more like a chocolate quick-bread, but is very dense. While just about everything on the menu is seasonal, the chocolate cake is mainstay because it is so popular.

Bloodroot is definitely not for the meat-and-potatoes crowd, but I'm certain just about anyone else would find something delicious to eat. One need not be vegetarian or vegan to enjoy this unique restaurant, but being open-minded and having an appreciation for simple, healthy, tasty food would be helpful. Bloodroot also is not for the pretentious, so don't come expecting anything fancy. What you can expect is a dedicated staff, a pleasant, minimalist dining room, and some good eats. So get off your high horse, go veggie for a night, and head on over to Bridgeport. Bloodroot makes it worth stepping out of the box.
Bloodroot, 85 Ferris Street, in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport, CT

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