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Ethos Vegan Kitchen

Written By Scott Joseph On November 5, 2012

Ethos logoI keep forgetting to tell you about my lunch at Ethos Vegan Kitchen. Maybe that’s because the lunch was, well, forgettable.

Ethos, of course, is the all-vegan restaurant that started out in 2008 in a small space on Orange Avenue in the Ivanhoe Row district. Earlier this year, Ethos moved to the location of the first Urban Flats restaurant at the corner of New York Avenue and Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park. Whereas it offered counter service, quick-serve at the original restaurant, Ethos is now a full-service place.

The move gives Ethos more space — perhaps too much space. When I met some friends for lunch there several weeks ago, I thought everything seemed too spread out, as though a two-person play were being performed on the stage of the Met.

I chose the Half & Half Club, which features half an Ethos Club Sandwich with a cup of soup. The club has turkey, Canadian bacon, lettuce and tomato interspersed among three slices of levain toast. But this being a vegan restaurant, the turkey was tofurkey and the bacon did not issue from a pig. I doubt that it issued from Canada, either.

It was a pretty miserable sandwich, and not because it lacked meat but rather because it lacked much of anything. The deli sliced stand-ins were applied so thinly that the sandwich had little substance. I don’t quite understand the reasoning for that. I would think that if you’re making a sandwich without meat, you’d want to put the substitutes on a little more amply. The soup, the black bean, had very little flavor.

My friends’ selections weren’t much better, although the grilled portobello mushroom sandwich called A Fungus Among Us had a bit more chew to it.

Ethos is undoubtedly the leading vegan restaurant in the area, but it could be so much more. There is an increasing number of people who choose to eat a vegan diet, even if they don’t embrace the full vegan lifestyle. (To simplify, vegans denounce anything that is from an animal, including honey from bees and silk from silkworms.) I know several people who follow a vegan diet and feel much better for living on plant-based foods. Good for them — literally. I’m sure that less meat in our diets would be a better thing for us and for the planet (not to mention the animals). And I think more people would be willing to give it a try if a vegan restaurant would step up and offer more palatable food. I think if it were better, Ethos would attract more vegan and nonvegan customers.

Ethos Vegan Kitchen is at 601 S. New York Ave., Winter Park. It is open for breakfast on weekends and for lunch, dinner and late night dining daily. Here is a link to its website. The phone number is 407-228-3898. {jcomments on}

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