Monday, March 17, 2014

Restaurant Review: MJ's Raw Bar & Grille in New Bern, NC

One of the hardest parts about going vegan is the very limited restaurants to eat at. Some things you might assume are vegan may very well not be. This past Saturday, the kids and I made a trip to New Bern, North Carolina to spend the day with my mother-in-law. She took us out to MJ's Raw Bar & Grille in downtown New Bern. While their menu does not specifically have vegan dishes, there are a few things that can simply be made vegan by omitting one or two ingredients.
For the kids, I ordered spaghetti from the kid's menu. This is usually a safe dish at most restaurants.  It is angel hair pasta with marinara sauce and parmesan Romano cheese. I just had to ask them to leave off the cheese. It came with a side of fresh fruit. All of the kids meals are also served with fries. I am not sure if these were vegan or not. I expected plain fries, but they are seasoned. I failed to ask if they were vegan. Either way, their lunch did look tasty. (I had just begun to stir the marinara sauce with the noodles before I thought to take a picture, which is why it doesn't look as pretty anymore.)

Kid's Menu - Spaghetti, Fresh Fruit, and Fries ($5.95)
For myself, I ordered their Veggie Burger. I asked our waitress if their veggie patty contained any milk or eggs. She informed me that it did not. The Veggie Burger comes with lettuce, tomato, and a pickle served on a Kaiser roll. I got the side salad with their Strawberry Vinaigrette dressing (dressing not pictured). Mustard and ketchup are on the table for burgers and fries.
Veggie Burger w/ Side Salad ($7.95)
The food was fine and the prices weren't bad (perhaps a little steep for the kid's menu, but the other food I feel was fairly priced).
Other possible options were: 
Veggie Wrap ($7.95), which includes "red onion, lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, bean sprouts and avocado all rolled in a fresh flour tortilla with avocado mousse". The avocado mousse, unfortunately, is not vegan. It has sour cream in it. So that would have to be omitted. I imagine that the strawberry vinaigrette would be good to dip the veggie wrap in, though.
Portabella Veggie Burger ($7.95), which is a "fresh large portabella mushroom grilled and topped with grilled onion, bean sprouts and provolone cheese". Obviously would have to be ordered without the cheese.
As with any restaurant that serves meat, there is always a possibility of your veggie or mushroom burger being grilled on the same grill as the steaks, hamburgers, and other meats. It really just depends on how strict you are with your vegan diet. I'm sure you could always request they clean the grill before preparing your food.
So there you have it! Some vegan options in Downtown New Bern at MJ's Raw Bar & Grille!
After our lunch, we headed back towards our vehicle and stopped at the park located in the churchyard of the historic Episcopal church. It was nice being able to let the kid's burn off some energy. As you can see, it was a very nice day for March. The temperature got up to about 80 degrees, the skies were blue, sun shining... the next day was back down in the 40s. I'm glad we enjoyed it while it lasted!

This review is from a visit made on March 15, 2014. All prices are what they were at the time of our visit.

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