CHIReview

photo credit: Jack Li

Bloom Plant Based Kitchen    review image
8.1

Bloom Plant Based Kitchen

$$$$

1559 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
Earn 3X Points

Bloom is a vegan restaurant. But the mere fact of being vegan is not what makes Bloom interesting. What is compelling about this Wicker Park spot is that it has incredibly flavorful food that we can’t stop thinking about - which, yes, happens to be 100% plant-based and gluten-free.

Bloom’s menu is filled with delicious hits, and if you’ve ever eaten at Amaru, a charming Latin American restaurant from the same team, this won’t surprise you. The plant-based dishes here are always complex, never lazy, and include zero franken-meat substitutes screaming “CHICKEN, I’M JUST LIKE CHICKEN!” in a clunky attempt to convince you it’s something it’s not. The ingredients simply taste like incredible versions of themselves.

Like spicy asada tacos made with sauteed forest mushrooms wrapped in fresh corn tortillas. Or a tamal that’s filled with ancho banana blossom and topped with a sweet coloradito mole. The seared yucca gnocchi comes with a savory mushroom sofrito we inhaled after our first bite, and should probably file a restraining order against us.

There are also plenty of raw dishes on the menu, adding to Bloom’s utility for various dietary needs. For example, the ceviche consists of fruit and sweet potato swimming in a bright coconut cilantro leche de tigre, and the lasagna is made from thinly shaved celery root and sliced tomatoes layered with pumpkin seed bolognese, cashew bechamel, and a sun-dried tomato marinara that tastes like the soul of a million tomatoes.

Bloom Plant Based Kitchen    review image

photo credit: Jack Li

The large, busy space keeps with the veggie theme - it’s filled with plants and is bright enough that you won’t worry if said plants are getting enough light. There’s a gin-heavy drink menu with a long list of fun vegan cocktails (the pisco sour uses soy protein instead of egg white), and you’ll see plenty of groups laughing and having what appears to be a great time. And the friendly service will happily answer any questions you have about how exactly that fried cauliflower is staying so crispy. The answer is rice flour and the perfect amount of house fermented buffalo sauce. And that’s pretty interesting.

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Food Rundown

Bloom Plant Based Kitchen    review image

Asada Taco

The asada in question is made from sauteed forest mushrooms topped with a lime crema, salsa matcha, and pickled onions wrapped in a fresh corn and hemp seed tortilla. The mushrooms are spicy, and the lime crema adds some richness.

Bloom Plant Based Kitchen    review image

photo credit: Jack Li

El Ceviche

The raw and vegan version at Bloom is made with coconut milk and cilantro, and fruit replaces the raw fish. Other things you’ll find in this refreshing bowl of deliciousness is sweet potato and crunchy bites of chacha corn.

Bloom Plant Based Kitchen    review image

photo credit: Jack Li

Yuca Gnocchi

This dish had to be wrestled away from us by a friend because we refused to share. The gnocchi is made from toasted yuca, and comes with some celery root puree and an unbelievably savory mushroom sofrito. We learned a valuable lesson, and will never promise to share this dish again.

Buffalo Cauliflower

We’ve eaten about one million versions of this dish, and Bloom’s is our favorite. The cauliflower florets stay magically crispy, and they’re tossed in a fermented house buffalo sauce that’s delightfully spicy. Add in some crispy garlic and shallots, and you have a perfect snack.

Bloom Plant Based Kitchen    review image

photo credit: Jack Li

Tamal Coloradito

The tamal is fluffy, and filled with ancho and adobe-seasoned banana blossom. It’s topped with a wonderful mole coloradito that has a wonderful sweetness and a great amount of heat. A forkful of this with the spicy macha beans is all we want after a hard day of writing restaurant reviews.

Bloom Plant Based Kitchen    review image

photo credit: Jack Li

Lasagna

This raw dish is delicious. The sliced tomatoes and shaved celery root are layered with a pumpkin seed bolognese, sundried tomato marinara, and creamy basil cashew bechamel. Does everything slide around and create a big mess on the plate? Yes. Will you care? Not once you taste it.

Bloom Plant Based Kitchen    review image

photo credit: Jack Li

Shroom And Chorizo Flatbread

The flatbread uses both dairy and gluten substitutes, and it works great. The flatbread is topped with shredded mozzarella made from coconut milk that adds a creaminess that compliments the sunflower chorizo. And the cauliflower-based crust is satisfyingly chewy. We’re big fans.

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