Though Bodhi’s Korner hasn’t officially held a grand opening since its debut a few months ago (the staff say they’re still ironing out the menu and will have a soft opening in the very near future), this little vegan-friendly spot seems pretty settled in its corner in the Marketplace Long Beach lot (next to Trader Joe’s, BevMo and Veggie Grill), which is noteworthy, considering other, larger restaurants in the complex have shuttered, their storefronts empty for many months.
But Bodhi’s Korner, owned by Ramona Streit and Joe Byron (who also own one of the city’s favorite breakfast spots, Egg Heaven Cafe), has found its own niche.
“Most of our food is made in less than 10 minutes, so we often see people order something while they get their shopping done, banking or any other chores they may have,” says manager Matthew Streit, who is also Ramona’s son.
Taking over the space formerly occupied by Roots Café, Bodhi’s Korner is a vegan-friendly quick-stop, sure, but maybe that’s being too modest. Bodhi’s could be its own dining destination, more than just a hey-I’m-hungry-and-there’s-a-place afterthought.
Open every day from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or 3 p.m. on the weekends), Bodhi’s Korner is a small establishment—order at the counter, then sit at a window-facing bar or a set of patio tables on the sidewalk, and watch cars vie for spaces in one of the most irritating parking lots in the city.
Though the menu has a prominently displayed vegan side, don’t stop there or you’ll miss the jackfruit tacos, hidden amongst otherwise-carnivorous choices.
Sold as a single or a pair, the jackfruit taco is a messy but satisfying three-bite encounter. A solo corn tortilla is layered with marinated and shredded jackfruit, pico de gallo, cabbage and lime. Douse it with the provided tub of rust-colored salsa, and eat it quickly because it will fall apart.
The Vegan Power Bowl, a heartier option, weighs down its compostable serving bowl with strips of grilled tempeh and seasonal veggies (in this case, zucchini, onions and red bell peppers), plus chickpeas, tabouli and dark mixed greens. Dressings come as a duo of chunky bell pepper hummus and a silky citrus-tahini sauce.
The house specialty, however, is the zucchini-noodle pasta, offered in two ways: as the Creamy Garlic Pasta, which comes with a silky vegan sauce, sundried tomatoes and basil; or the Bolognese, a vegan version of the meaty classic that replaces the animal product with lentils that are tossed in a robust sauce with sweet tomatoes, garlic and oregano, then loaded over green noodles that are angel-hair thin and delicate (much nicer than anything I’ve tried to make at home using some weird zoodle contraption). Bodhi’s Korner even throws in some nut-based crumbles resembling Parmesan. In the case of vegan food trying to disguise itself as a meat-based comfort classic, this one actually passes.
But there’s no shortage of actual meat here. Though Bodhi’s Korner distinguishes itself as a plant-based dining option, it also serves foul, beef and fish in its sandwiches, wraps, salads and soups. There’s a house-made turkey burger on a brioche bun, and the breakfast Monterey Bowl comes with eggs, three kinds of pork, cheese, mushrooms and avocado.
“We’ve heard our community,” Streit explains, adding Bodhi’s Korner is a restaurant “where vegans and meat-eaters can come together to share a meal”—a welcome statement considering many restaurants tend to favor one diet over the other. Just watch out for that Trader Joe’s traffic!
Bodhi’s Korner, 6473 Pacific Coast Hwy., Ste. E3, Long Beach, (562) 431-4444.