ShadoBeni delights with sweet and spicy vegan menu Nutrition | Pittsburgh

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CP Photo: Jared Wickerham

ShadoBeni owner Ulrik Joseph is preparing a company at his North Side restaurant.

For the first time, Pittsburgh residents tasted Ulrich Joseph’s vegan Trinidadian food at local farmers markets. Now, after years of selling his herbal menu on pop-up stands, there is good news for those who are more eager for his unique offerings. Joseph’s new restaurant, ShadoBeni, brings to Pittsburgh delicious Caribbean dishes anytime and any season at its new construction site on the North Side.

I saw their booth, but I never had a full meal, so I was excited to go and see what the new restaurant has to offer. The small cozy place has several tables for dinner and also offers online ordering for people who want to get an order. I arrived shortly after they opened around 11:30 a.m., and browsed the menu for a few minutes, trying to narrow down what sounded like good, hearty food on a day when I didn’t have breakfast.

click to enlarge Bhaji rice, chicken, pickles and spicy salad from ShadoBeni - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM

CP Photo: Jared Wickerham

Bhaji rice, chicken, pickles and spicy ShadoBeni salad

I landed on a bowl of rice, described with both coconut rice and a selection of different fillings. On this day, they ate stewed soy curry, okra choka, spinach choka, channa with potatoes and pumpkin. I went for channa, potatoes and spinach choke, deciding that along with the food it would be good to have some protein and greens. As a side dish I took plantain and a spicy salad with ginger beer to wash it all down.

The food came quickly and smelled delicious. I dived first to the side, starting with the spicy salads. The snack comes with red cabbage and red and yellow peppers. Pepper releases a crunchy sweetness at the first bite and then gives you a tingle of spice. Overall, the salad a had a great texture and a tart aroma from the dressing.

The plantains were perfectly browned with crispy caramelized pieces along the edges. On the other hand, the tender and sweet plantains really impressed me. They had a hint of earthiness along with the sharpness of the crunchy pieces. Unlike the softer, yellower parts, these plantains were made by a caring hand. The side cup of plantain gave about seven hefty slices, so it was a great revelation for the rest of my meal.

When I got to the bowl with the rice, I decided to try each item first on my own. Spinach choco is traditionally prepared with garlic, onions and scotch, but in this version I didn’t get any heat. It was still well seasoned after the spinach vegetable flavor.

click to enlarge Plantain chips with avocado salad (Zaboca) from ShadoBeni - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM

CP Photo: Jared Wickerham

Plantain chips with avocado salad (Zaboca) from ShadoBeni

I switched to tubs and potatoes, a combination of chickpeas and pieces of potatoes seasoned with something like turmeric, cumin and other spices. It was full of flavor and absolutely delicious. I tried to bite off the rice, and although I didn’t get any coconut flavor beforehand, it was also well seasoned.

Finally, I ordered mango chutney as a sauce for my bowl. Adding it to the pile and mixing, you got the perfect snack: sweet, spicy and pungent, this was exactly what the dish needed. However, I regretted adding to my side a restaurant sauce made from hot peppers, which I was told was a fire.

Once I got the perfect bite, I was sold to ShadoBeni. I can’t wait to come back with a friend and try more of what they have to offer, including their cocktails and vegan cookies.

ShadaBeni. 1534 Brighton Road, North Side.

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