As the sun set, the playlist of mid-2000s slow emotional pop inside B Natural Kitchen made the experience of eating a “Warm Market Bowl” by the College Street window feel like a moment straight out of a rom-com — while the bowl itself offered respite from the chilly wind outside.
It was Monday night on week one of New Haven’s annual “Restaurant Week.” B Natural at 260 College St., where bowls of rice, proteins, and vegetables combine every color of the rainbow, has joined 53 food establishments participating in New Haven Restaurant Week 2022, which is set to last through April 9.
This year’s eateries are making more of an effort to include diners who can’t foot high-two-figure meal prices, with a combination of prix-fixe $22 offerings or special discount pricing. B Natural is offering 10 percent off its meals.
My fellow diner, Margaret Kellogg, and I both ordered the “Vegan Bowl” for $13. The choice turned out to be perfect for the unusually frigid March weather.
The golden turmeric cabbage, sprinkle of sweet cranberries, and delectable roasted maple brussels sprouts brought us back to the coziness of autumn. The homemade vegan meatballs were also a highlight: not quite meat-like, they were crispy and savory and gave the bowl a new depth of flavor. These warm ingredients, along with the bowl’s bed of kale and rice, were balanced out by a dollop of cool salsa fresca. And the tomato‑y “bnatural sauce” on top matched the vegetables’ sweetness with a kick.
Plenty of restaurants offer “bowls” mixing fresh ingredients; few that manage to pack in the range of flavors that B Natural does. The colors, too, varied from deep reds and yellows to rich purples and greens — all of which counterweighed the pastel theme of the room itself, whose high walls featured large light pink and blue geometric shapes.
We took in our food, and the atmosphere, with warm cups of pumpkin rooibos tea in our hands (which had sounded so good we decided to get two). They were exactly what we needed.
As Restaurant Week welcomes the spring, B Natural surely offers bright and tangy bowls for the season — but it can also take you back in time to the comforts of a warm reprieve from chilly weather.