By Jano Tantongco
With its name inspired by the Hindu god Ganesh — known as the remover of obstacles — The Purple Elephant certainly lifts any barriers between “healthy options that are quality options.”
Walking through the doors of the down-to-earth establishment, diners are immersed in the atmosphere reminiscent of southern California, with a bamboo bar, surfboards adorned on the walls, and even a Bob Marley mural toward the back end.
The Northport restaurant serves up locally sourced Latin-inspired cuisine that appeal to both vegetarians and their meat-eating friends.
Kelli Baker, general manager, describes the restaurant as “very picky” about what sort of ingredients they use, and it shows.
“We take a lot of care of what we bring into the restaurant,” Bakers said, adding that she hopes diners leave with a “a full belly, positive attitude and a smile on their face.”
With mellow music to match, the restaurant invokes a more natural state of mind, preparing you for a culinary experience that is laid-back, yet pristine, leaving you with a sense of warm well-being.
The Thai Elephant Wings ($14), both gluten-free and vegan, feature spicy peanut ginger cauliflower wings alongside a yuzu aioli dipping sauce. The “wings” are hearty and carry a deliciously savory peanut flavor that’s cooled down by the refreshing yuzu aioli.
The Shrimp Patagones & Guacamole ($16), which are gluten-free, are a truly unique appetizer plating crispy fried green plantains, house-made guacamole, cherry peppers and chili vinaigrette. The patagones make an excellent foundation for the smokey shrimp, while the cherry peppers pack a formidable spice that remains pleasant, balanced by a cooling, all-natural guacamole.
The Proper Whopper ($18) brings together vegan burger patties, melted vegan cheese, secret sweet & spicy sauce, red onion, tomato, organic baby greens between whole wheat ciabatta bread. A seriously satisfying sandwich, it’s guaranteed to bring happiness to both vegans and omnivores with a patty that’s surprisingly succulent, with a tangy vegan cheese and sauce that pile on the savory sensations. Served with yuca fries, they avoid being overly fried, giving way to light and flakey treats.
Taking a dip into the ocean, the Sopa De Mariscos ($30), which is gluten-free, is a Costa Rican fish soup that brings together mussels, clams, shrimp, calamari, vegetables, plantains, tomato steeped in a rich coconut broth. The soft, buttery mussels contrast excellently with the chewier, heartier clams for the best of both worlds, while the calamari was luxuriously tender. The vegetables and plantains perfectly absorbed the richness of the broth and seafood, making each bite sensational.
To wrap up, the Vegan Dark Chocolate Avocado Fudge Mousse with coconut whipped cream and cacao nibs showcased deep, earthy tones of dark chocolate, with added natural richness from the avocado. A remarkably light, yet creamy, dessert, it had just the right amount of sweetness.
The restaurant also offers a sizable selection of organic wines, and even serves up Kombucha on tap. For the health-conscious and those who simply relish in high-quality organic eats, The Purple Elephant truly hits the mark.
Due to high volume, reservations are recommended.