The idea for opening a vegan-friendly Thai restaurant started when owner Eim Wee was pregnant, and found out she was suddenly allergic to fish sauce, an integral part of many of her favorite dishes. Would it be possible, she wondered, to maintain the flavors and textures of Thai comfort food cooking, but make it entirely plant-based? And so Glur, located in Chelsea — and delighting vegan and non-vegan diners alike for about a year and a half now — was born.
The menu at Glur is loaded with vegan options, including Impossible Larb, the classic meat salad made with the now-familiar Impossible Foods version of ground beef, and a Vegan Khao Mun Gai Tod, which substitutes a tender, plant-based fried “chicken” for the usual bird, piled over ginger rice and given some zing with a sweet pineapple chili sauce. You can also get any of Glur’s curries, whether Green, Red, or Massaman, in vegan versions, adding mock meat or vegetables and tofu to the base.
I ate three vegan dishes at Glur earlier this week, and they were all excellent. The Ground Impossible Gra Prow, for example, had all the fire (courtesy of some amply applied chili garlic puree) and crunch (thanks to the many tiny string bean bits) that you’d expect, the Impossible Meat doing its foundational job just fine.
Same story with the Vegan Duck Noodle Soup, which was thick with rice noodles, greens, mushrooms, and chunks of non-meat so rich I would swear they had fat, all swimming in a zippy Thai herbed broth. It’s not as if I was “fooled” by the mock meat, but both of these dishes had such presence, and depth of flavor, that it didn’t feel like anything was missing. As is the case with any good food, I didn’t for a moment wish I was eating some other food instead.
The Vegan Curry Puffs special was also a winner, the four fat pastries stuffed with a saucy mix of curried chickpeas, corn, and sweet potatoes. I went pescatarian for my final dish, a fiery Tom Yum Fried Rice that arrived laden with squid and shrimp, and redolent with lime and lemongrass. This was very good reheated a day later as well.
In addition to seafood, you can also get your Thai delights at Glur with actual duck, pork, beef, and chicken. In fact, the manager Chad Than told me that the kitchen prepares vegan and non-vegan dishes in about equal amounts. Which, in a way, is exactly how they want it. Glur means “friend” in Thai, and, as Than said, “food lasts for minutes but friendship lasts forever, so we want Glur to be the place that both vegans and non-vegans can gather for a meal.”
Of course, not too much gathering can be done right now, but they do offer indoor dining for seven to nine guests (three parties maximum) as well as a couple of tables outside in their curbside dining area. Takeout and delivery make up a big part of Glur’s business right now.
Glur is located at 144 West 19th Street, just east of Seventh Avenue, and is currently open weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., with a one hour break between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., and on weekends from noon to 9:30 p.m., except between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. (212-738-9898; glurnyc.com)
This content was originally published here.