Business Food & Wellness Maplewood

A Taste Test at the New Conscious Fork in Maplewood Village

Conscious Fork’s Rich Gladstone

If you are a vegan, you likely already know about Conscious Fork and probably missed  their vegan fare a lot while the restaurant was closed for a renovation.

You’ll be happy to learn Conscious Fork’s reopened at the end of September, bringing an expanded menu that is now entirely gluten free, in addition to having more vegan offerings.

As before, the food is sourced from the restaurant’s farm in the Hudson Valley, so the food is local and fresh. And most menu options still cost less than $10.

If you’re not a vegan, you may not be able to imagine yourself enjoying a vegan meal. But after a quick lunchtime taste test offered exclusively to Village Green, we can report you don’t need to be a vegan to enjoy food at Conscious Fork.

Manager Rich Gladstone brings a range of their new offerings to the tasting table; freshly made black bean soup over rice, pesto toast with organic baby tomatoes, macaroons and a “Green Machine” to drink.

The menu descriptions can be a bit intimidating for people whose meals usually focus on meat. You will see ingredients like baby kale, brown rice and zoodles.

But the food speaks for itself.

Soups and bowls are a menu favorite at Conscious Fork. They are made from scratch daily by Gladstone, with seasonal vegetables, using homemade vegetable stock. Today’s black bean soup is earthy, filling and delicious. It has a rich, complex flavor that is hard to accomplish in vegan dishes, and sets it apart from less considered pasty black bean options. It is ladled over a bowl of rice to make a complete protein and add to the texture.

Next on the table is the pesto toast. Pesto toast is not usually a menu item that lends itself as a full meal, but this is an exception. At Conscious Fork, it’s served on two thick slices of hearty bread, slathered with fresh pesto, dotted with organic grape tomatoes, and garnished with baby kale. See? We got to the baby kale, and it’s still delicious. In fact, it’s a perfect combination of flavors.

But the bread is the star of the show. Gluten free bread generally doesn’t stick together well, is dry, and doesn’t have much flavor. The gluten free bread at Conscious Fork is so good, not only will you not know it’s gluten free, you’ll want more. And word is getting out. You need to order a week in advance, but Conscious Fork is now accepting orders from customers who want whole loaves. It will set you back $13, but if you are gluten free, you know how hard it is to find good bread.

Finally, we work our way down to the macaroons. They are crispy on the outside, a little chewy on the inside, and flavorful. Gladstone confides that these, along with granola and daily seasonal fresh fruit are “baked” in their new dehydrator. “It tastes baked, but it never gets above 105 degrees Fahrenheit, which means their nutrients aren’t lost,” he says.

We drink something called a “Green Machine,” which is a smoothie with a lot of greens, ginger and lemon juice. Most of the smoothies on the menu focus on fruit, but Green Machine proves vegetables work in smoothies, too.  

With the exception of orange juice, Conscious Fork is no longer offering its fresh pressed juices. They have expanded their smoothie menu, however. So you can still get a cool fruit drink while you are there.

The food is a refreshing change from most breakfast and lunch offerings. Every dish on the menu is carefully considered on a daily basis. Be ready when you come in to wait about 5 minutes for your food to be prepared.

“We are not a fast food place,” says Gladstone. “It may take a few minutes, but it’s worth it.”

Conscious Fork

97 Baker Street, Suite 3

Maplewood Village

Hours:

Weekdays, 7:30am–5pm

Weekends, 10am–5pm

Eat In/Take Out

Consciousfork.com

973-763-8030

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