Mushrooms’ umami give bowls a meaty, satisfying flavor – not to mention they are a nutritional powerhouse – making them a must-have addition to any bowl. To celebrate Mushroom Month (September), the Mushroom Council spotlights five creative mushroom-centric bowls on menus at restaurants nationwide.
Bubu’s Zen Bowl | Denver, CO
Known for using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, the create-your-own bowl restaurant Bubu is a favorite fast-casual lunch option among Denver foodies. Widely popular, the Zen Bowl is a sweet and savory combination of shiitake mushrooms, shaved red cabbage, raw carrot, cucumber, charred broccoli and green apple-wasabi vinaigrette.
When envisioning a bowl concept, owner and head-chef Troy Guard knew he wanted to incorporate mushrooms, especially shiitakes.
“Shiitakes have an almost smoky taste and a strong enough flavor to balance out the zippy sweetness of the apple-wasabi vinaigrette,” he explains. The end result? “The Zen Bowl is bright but complex, and hearty without being heavy.”
Bubu, multiple locations, bubu-denver.com
Radio Room’s Barley Buddha Bowl | Portland, OR
In the heart of Portland’s Alberta Arts District, Radio Room, a remodeled art deco-style Texaco station, is known for an expansive menu of American grub, including the Barley Buddha Bowl. A popular lunch item, the Barley Buddha Bowl is a mix of seasoned barley, sautéed kale, shiitake, crimini and portabella mushrooms, topped with sliced radish, avocado, pickled red onions, sesame vinaigrette and curry chickpeas.
The unique Portland population provided inspiration to Radio Room’s Executive Chef Leah Nichelson. “With an ever-growing vegan population in PDX, we wanted a dish that could be enjoyed by both vegans and carnivores alike,” she said. “The mix of savory and tart flavors, crunchy and soft textures, and beautiful colors make this dish enjoyable for everyone.”
Radio Room, 1101 NE Alberta St., Portland, radioroompdx.com
ediBOL’s Ginger Sesame Bowl | Los Angeles, CA
Located in the Arts District of Los Angeles, ediBOL is more than just another restaurant. Owner Andrea Uyeda explains her inspiration behind the eatery comes from her “deep, true desire to create something special with others who also want to share, connect, and live their passions.” Growing up in the same area, Uyeda recalls a bowl of Japanese rice being an essential part to each night’s family dinner during her childhood, driving her passion to share the symbolism and deliciousness of a bowl today.
ediBOL’s menu stems from Uyeda’s favorite way of eating – “out of a bowl and filled with fresh ingredients, hand-crafted flavors and various textures and temperatures.” The Ginger Sesame Bowl features a combination of sweet peppers, scallions, pickled shiitake mushrooms, red cabbage, baby greens, spiced caramelized almonds, and ginger sesame dressing – topped with crispy togarashi rice sticks. Uyeda explains that the pickled, marinated mushrooms are the star of this savory bowl – once customers get a taste, they can’t get enough.
ediBOL, 300 S. Santa Fe Ave., Los Angeles, edibol.com
Nourish Café’s Golden Gate Bowl | San Francisco, CA
San Francisco’s Nourish Café provides 100% plant-based, organic meals packed with flavor. Among the fresh ingredients used at the restaurant, mushrooms stand out as both a chef and customer favorite. Nourish Café loves using mushrooms because of their health benefits.
“Their antioxidant powers help our bodies mitigate oxidative stress—the main culprit in causing diseases of aging,” says Head Chef Brighton Miller, who also noted the bowl was inspired by the cafe’s commitment to using food as medicine.
Among the dishes on the menu, the Golden Gate Bowl is a winner. Composed of jasmine brown rice, cabbage, avocado, yams, roasted broccoli, roasted mushrooms, and mixed greens – topped with red pepper almond dressing.
Nourish Café, multiple locations, nourishcafesf.com
Sweetfin Poké Miso Eggplant & Shimeji Mushroom Bowl | Santa Monica, CA
Sweetfin Poké’s Miso Eggplant & Shimeji Mushroom bowl is a prized pick for vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Full of umami and beautiful color, each ingredient was carefully selected with purpose. The bowl is composed of miso sesame shoyu sauce, Japanese eggplant, sundried tomato, shiso, market radish and shimeji mushrooms (also known as beech mushrooms), added because of their rich flavor profile.
“The Miso Eggplant & Shimeji Mushroom Bowl has the bitterness and soft texture of the eggplant that also gives your mouth a creamy texture. The shimeji mushrooms have a subtle earthiness and a fun ‘squeaky’ texture,” explains Executive Chef Dakota Weiss.
While the eatery focuses on using various fish in dishes, this bowl provides a meal-time solution for those looking for alternative protein options.
Sweetfin Poké, multiple locations, sweetfinpoke.com