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Local vegetable flat bread pizza from Bistro 72. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

When I find myself making a vegan stew or stir-fry, I can’t help but feel the dish is missing an ingredient — and that ingredient probably comes from a cow.

But that wasn’t the case during a recent visit to Bistro 72.

In this week’s edition of “What’s for Lunch?” we recommend the restaurant’s local vegetable flat bread pizza ($11), a hearty and filling vegan option. Shredded Daiya (non-dairy) cheese, marinated and roasted vegetables, cannellini beans, sliced beefsteak tomatoes and white vinegar are served on a flatbread.

Bistro 72’s menu offers several vegan options including this tasty dish. The Daiya cheese gives this flat bread (have you noticed that upscale restaurants have started calling pizza flat bread all of a sudden?) the texture it needs and the gigantic beans give it substance and plenty of protein.

The seasoning and marinade bring out the flavor in the veggies, which included onions, zucchini and peppers in our dish. The serving size is pretty big, almost big enough to share, but certainly enough to satisfy.

What’s great about Bistro 72 is that its interior is sleek and upscale enough for a power lunch or a multi-course dinner, but its also relaxed enough for a few cocktails after work or before dinner (especially when the outdoor fire pit is open in warmer weather).

Maybe that’s why executive chef James Junk told us the eatery has been packed on Fridays and Saturdays recently, despite the disastrous winter.

The restaurant will also roll out its new dessert menu later this week

“It is the last plate guests remember after a dinner experience,” Junk told us.

See his recipe for banana brûlée below.

Banana brûlée. (Credit: James Junk courtesy)
Banana brûlée. (Credit: James Junk courtesy)
Banana Burlée
Caramelized bananas, French vanilla ice cream, candied nuts, caramel sauce and whipped cream
Peel one ripe banana, cut in half then cut lengthwise and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar-in-the-raw. Place in broiler until golden brown. Place the baked bananas on a plate, drizzle with carmel sauce, to off with 7 oz French vanilla ice cream (or your choice) sprinkle chopped candied pecans. Whipped cream and garnish with sliced berries, fresh mint and whipped cream.
Carmel sauce:
Mix 1 box brown sugar, 1/2 cup half-and-half, 4 tablespoon butter and pinch of salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until it gets thicker. Add 1 tablespoon vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat, cool slightly and pour the sauce into a jar. Refrigerate until cold
Candied pecans:
In a small bowl combine brown sugar and orange juice. Add pecans and stir
to coat. Spread in an 8×8 sprayed or greased pan. Bake for 12 minutes at 350°F or until nuts are browned and syrup is
bubbly, stirring once. Pour out on a greased baking sheet and separate nuts. Cool on a wire rack.
Bistro 72 is located at 1830 West Main Street in Riverhead (inside Hotel Indigo East End)
What’s for lunch is a weekly column highlighting delicious mid-day meals on the North Fork. Suggestions can be sent to [email protected].