Boise hasn't been very kind to vegetarians. Those seeking something more substantial than a hummus plate or a churched up cheese sandwich have dealt with their fair share of disappointment. But things are starting to look up. Not only can vegans and carnivores dine side-by-side on smoked tempeh and pork ribs, respectively, at BBQ4LIFE—formerly MFT Barbecue and Vegan Food—but now State Street has a completely vegetarian and vegan restaurant, Kind Cuisine Cafe.
Squeezed into a corner unit in the Collister Shopping Center, Kind Cuisine is easy to overlook—mostly because it doesn't have a sign up yet. But pull open the glass front doors and you'll find a bustling cafe, coffeehouse and juice bar. Egg yolk-yellow walls give the rectangular space a warm glow, which is accentuated by an open prep area that boasts a refrigerator case brimming with fresh veggies.
Those who frequented Salt Tears, where Kind Cuisine was originally slated to open, will recognize some of the furniture. Long wood tables dotted with shiny lamps make up a communal seating area, and low, square tables with colorful plastic chairs fill out the rest of the dining room.
Though the space has a bit of a '90s college coffeehouse vibe, magnified by the stream of acoustic guitar music flooding from the speakers, the focus is definitely on the food. The first hint was the lovely fruit chutney that accompanied my lunch date's Hindi Bindi Wrap ($6.75), packed with curried veggies, tofu, basmati rice, spinach and cilantro. Though the wrap was acceptable on its own, a smear of the spicy red chutney made from stewed apricots, plums, raisins and ginger ratcheted the dish up a notch. My Bounty Slab Burger ($6.50), made in house with tri-pulse sprouts and veggies, had a perfect texture but required a fair amount more Veganaise and sun-dried tomato ketchup to moisten the dry gluten-free bread. My side salad—a fresh mix of greens, diced cucumbers, bright red tomatoes and carrot shavings tossed in a vibrant honey ginger dressing—needed no tweaking.
On a breakfast visit, I opted for the tofu scramble with maple tempeh strips ($8.50) and a side of avocado toast ($4.50). Though the well-seasoned scramble was heavy on the onions, they were not overwhelming and combined with whisper thin carrot shreds and fresh cilantro. The smashed avocado toast with miso butter sounded amazing, but didn't deliver. The light nuttiness of the miso was overshadowed by the addition of tahini, which drowned out the other flavors. The maple tempeh "bacon," on the other hand, was the star of the meal, with a savory marinade that permeated the entire, lightly crunchy strip.
Though Kind Cuisine seems to cater more to the breakfast and lunch crowd, the spot is open until 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and offers a selection of beer and wine. The sunny side patio makes a nice retreat from traffic on State Street, especially with a glass of Proletariat's fruity Grenache rose ($7) and a citrusy jicama salad ($8) on a hearty bed of brown rice.