It’s a carb world after all at Compass Rose

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[Photo: Compass Rose]

Sometimes it’s good to be all over the place. Take 14th Street’s Compass Rose, inspired by the owners’ street food-eating, globetrotting tour of over 30 countries. The menu bounces around from El Salvador to Peru to India to Georgia (the country) and, like most international trips, reminds vegetarians that it’s the fry that binds us.

Navigate the snack section carefully to avoid filling up too early. This is easier said than done when presented with fried yucca, three dips and fry bread, grilled bread, and a baked but also fried potato.

The dip trio included a delicious red pepper and feta puree and simple but tasty hummus and kale white bean spreads. ‘Fry bread’ turned out to be lighter than we had imagined – crispy homemade chips sitting somewhere between pita and tortilla.

Three dips

Three dips and a corner of fry bread

We abandoned all temperance at the ‘Veg and Bread Cart’ and ordered one of each. The pupusa stuffed with mushrooms, truffle oil, and cheese was tasty, but given what was coming, not necessarily worth the grease factor.

Pupusa

Pupusa

Indian bhel puri offered a break from the usual puffed rice-laden version with a creative twist, served Thai lettuce wrap-style with peanuts. Still, we hadn’t quite hit our moment of bliss.

Bhel puri chaat

Bhel puri chaat

Then, our last two items came out together and the moment was upon us. The treviso salad of frisee, roasted sweet sunchokes, crispy roasted artichokes, and lemon, was earthy, tart, and divine.

Treviso salad

Treviso salad

We feasted on the salad alongside khachapuri, an indulgent canoe of yeasted crust filled with curd-like Georgian cheese, an egg, and a wedge of butter all swirled together before our eyes. We dug in wishing we had left more room or, I guess, brought more people.

Khachapuri

Khachapuri

I’ll be back soon to concentrate on the winning combination, but am confident that the OTHER fried carbs on the menu (especially that baked fried potato) are worth a taste. The real challenge at Compass Rose is how to trot around the globe without feeling the weight of the world…in your belly.

1346 T Street NW
202-506-4765

Be all that you can be with Mintwood Place

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We visited Mintwood Place in Adams Morgan soon after it opened and made the grave mistake of not showing up hungry. Sure, I enjoyed the beet pie appetizer and a couple of cocktails, but left most of the menu unexplored.

From the moment our meal began last week, all I could think was, why the heck did I wait so long to come back?

Start with goat cheese and beet mountain pie (named by the Washingtonian as one of DC’s best vegetarian dishes) and the burrata, kales, hazelnut, apple & tamarind. Featured along with the recipe by Joe Yonan in the Washington Post a couple of weeks ago, this sort-of-salad will knock your socks off. The kale is fried to a decadent yet delicately thin crisp. Hazelnuts and burrata add to the dish’s richness but apples and a tamarind dressing bring acid and lightness in to balance it all out.

Crispy kale with burrata

Crispy kale with burrata

The much-touted 5 grain risotto is a staple on Mintwood’s menu, although the accompanying flavors and vegetables rotate seasonally. I opted for the spring vegetable composition instead and was presented with a tender bounty – carrots, peas, fava beans, fiddleheads, artichokes, ramps, and more – served over a morel puree that’s intensely mushroomy while also light and frothy.

Spring vegetables with morel sauce

Spring vegetables with morel cream

You must order a side of lentils du puy. Cooked to pop-in-your-mouth firmness in vegetarian broth, these tiny brown gems are flavorful in their own right. In the chef’s hands, they are also an excellent vehicle for delivering extraordinary levels of sweet cream. This was the best dish of the night, and possibly the best lentils I’ve had.

Decadent lentils

Decadent lentils

Gratinéed potatoes were also satisfying – crispy, creamy, and dreamy – if a tad oversalted. This was the only dish that went sliiightly over the edge.

Potato gratin

Potato gratin

The dessert menu at Mintwood Place tends to be filled with familiar classics (there’s even a baked Alaska that arrives at the table en flambé). Don’t let the simplicity fool you. Our key lime pie with speculoos crust was as sweet and tart and fresh as should be:

Key lime pie

Key lime pie

Warm apple & almond croustade à la mode had a flaky crust, caramelized apple filling and homemade vanilla ice cream to top it off. We (er, I) licked the plate.

Caramel apple tart

Apple croustade

Mintwood Place stands out because Chef Cedric Maupillier has a gift for making every ingredient all that it can be and every dish the best version of itself, while managing to avoid the pitfalls of excess. Go see for yourself.

1813 Columbia Rd NW
202-234-6732

So much cheesery at Sona Creamery

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Sona Creamery in Capitol Hill is a delightful new cheese store and wine bar. Does it also deserve to be a dinner destination?

It was a tough job, but we rose to the challenge to find out.

Lunch and dinner menus are cheese-heavy as expected, even more so for vegetarians. While meat-eaters can choose dishes with a range of ingredients from brussel sprouts to sweet potatoes and eggs, the only thing close to a palette cleanser for vegetarians is a salad of bibb lettuce (also served with cheese).

We forged ahead, vowing to eat nothing but steamed vegetables for our next meal. Selections from the cheese board are nicely varied by region, animal, and style. Each is paired thoughtfully with accompaniments. Our Italian Pantaleo goat’s milk cheese, described as ‘herbaceous and citrusy’, was served with a lemony bright green olive puree and smoked almonds. The earthy Ardrahan cow’s milk cheese was nicely brightened up with roughly ground mustard and pickled carrots. The brown butter flavor of our third, a semi-firm cow’s milk cheese, was well-complemented by caramelized walnuts and dried apricots.

Cheese plate and BUTTER

Cheese plate and BUTTER

And the butter. Oh, the butter. I’m not sure how a wedge of butter could overshadow a plate of top-notch cheeses, but this one came close. Sprinklings of pop rocks and thin shards of sea salt intensified its sweet cream flavor to such ridiculous heights that we kept probing our server for more information (she kept swearing it’s just regular butter).

Sona’s mac and cheese is made with a varying blend of cheeses every day. Ours met expectations of both gooeyness and sharp, complex flavor. We could have done without the mountain of fried bread, which was appealing at first but quickly became a greasy distraction.

Blurry bready mac and cheese

Blurry bready mac and cheese

French fries are served with cheese curds, aioli, and mumbo sauce. The curds, pan-fried to crunchy/chew perfection, were gobbled up at once, and the curried aioli made a nice dipping sauce. However, we found the drenching of sweet, sticky mumbo sauce to be overwhelming. Order it on the side unless you’re a huge fan.

Sona Fries

Sona Fries

The dessert menu currently includes goat cheese ice cream and chocolate fondue with bourbon and sea salt. Although the ice cream, served with lemon curd and graham cracker crumble, sounded nice, we decided to go with not cheese and ordered the fondue. While it’s a rich blob of dark chocolate with just the right amount of salt, it’s a very small blob (especially priced at $14). Also, a ‘splash’ of bourbon was just that – a bit jarring in this context and competing, rather than blending, with the chocolate.

Chocolate fondue

Chocolate fondue

We did still enjoy our few bites of chocolate with oat biscuits and meringues. Unfortunately, the green apples and salty hard cheese were out of place, seemingly returning from another time in our meal. I guess we finally reached the point of not needing cheese for cheese’s sake, which could be interpreted as a sign of success.

Sona is worth visiting for the cheese-and-carb-fest that we all occasionally need. You don’t even need to break the bank – go on a weekday between 4 and 8 pm and get $6 house wines with your meal. Still, we hope for a couple of cheese-light, vegetable-heavy vegetarian additions (cauliflower gratin, while tempting, doesn’t quite fit the bill) to round out the menu. How else are we going to get around to that grilled cheese stuffed with mac and cheese?

660 Pennsylvania Ave SE (Eastern Market metro)
(202) 758-3556

Dumplings and Noodles and Curry, Doi Moi!

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Doi Moi sounds like everything that’s groan-worthy about new restaurant trends: a promise of authentic flavors inspired by “street stands, stalls, and storefronts”, served in a sterilized, stylized, and overpriced setting. Still, the sizable vegetarian menu (a silver lining of mainstreaming southeast Asian cuisine) lured us in on a recent Saturday.

A separate vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free menu is available on request. Starters include fried cashews, steamed dumplings, radish cakes, tofu salad, and a crispy morning glory dish that immediately reminded me of Rasika’s palak chaat.

Crispy morning glory

Crispy morning glory

Although missing the complexity of its more famous counterpart, crispy morning glory delivers a similar delicate crunch and sweet and sour saucing to balance out the oil.

A number of sides caught our attention, including stir-fried pineapple with red peppers, peanuts, and cilantro. Gentle stir-frying brought out even more of the pineapple’s flavor in this simple dish, which provided sweet relief from the fiery mushroom curry (see below).

Pineapple stir-fry

Pineapple stir-fry

Items on the menu labeled as ‘Phet Mak’ (‘really spicy’) are just that, and generally can’t be toned down to order. The spice factor didn’t stop me from ordering Gaeng Par Hed, or mushroom curry with house-made tofu, but it certainly stopped me from eating very much of it. The deep brown broth was flavorful and fresh and HOT. I ended up draining the wild mushrooms, green peppercorns, tofu, and other vegetables before eating them, all the time envying those who can handle it.

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Tofu and wild mushroom curry

As we left to take care of my runny nose I was already thinking about what I’d like to try next time – fried cashews or crispy radish cakes (both favorites of our friends) to start, stir-fried noodles with trumpet mushrooms, butternut squash cooked in coconut milk, or if I’m feeling brave/dumb again, ‘Phet Mak’ sauteed green beans with Sichuan pepper. The great thing about Doi Moi’s substantial and varied vegetarian menu is that repeat visits can each provide a unique experience.

And although we’ve all heard how well you feasted on the street in Thailand for under $2, the curry and noodle dishes on the menu are large enough to keep the sit-down version reasonable by DC standards.

1800 14th St NW
202-733-5131

Wings, ribs, and more at Smoke and Barrel

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Smoke and Barrel DC

Smoke and Barrel in Adams Morgan, located where the once-loved Asylum served up vegan brunches, is one of my favorite spots in the neighborhood. First, a couple of things to know.

Smoke and Barrel is not:

  • A place to get a salad. Or any kind of vegetable, for that matter.
  • A place to have a light meal.
  • A place to go on a night that you’re DD.

Smoke and Barrel is:

  • A place for beer. Especially anything dark, aged, and strong.
  • A place for bourbon.
  • A place for fatty vegan barbecue, burgers, and loaded up baked potatoes to wash your beer down with.

Most everything on the vegetarian menu is a good bet. Vegan wings with chipotle honey butter are delicious. Ask for extra butter for dipping if you’re not counting calories. Add a side of creamy mashed potatoes (secret ingredient: cream cheese) and some smoked asparagus (I lied when I said no vegetables at all) and you’re in for a heavy/heavenly meal.

Vegan wings

Vegan wings

Other winners include the sweet potato oat burger with pecans in the patty and the vegan ribs. I stayed away from the ribs for a while because the idea of a recreated rack of something sounded scary. It turns out it’s more like a stir-fry – soy and seitan in a sweet and spicy sauce, tossed with red and green peppers, onions, and pine nuts. At least one non-vegetarian has been known to sneak a few bites while eating their own actual ribs.

Unlike a disappointing number of cases where cheese and other flavors are promised in the grits but don’t materialize, Smoke and Barrel’s jalapeño cheddar grits (and grit cakes) deliver both.

Jalapeño cheddar grits taste a lot more exciting than they look

Jalapeño cheddar grits taste a lot more exciting than they look

If you’re craving something home-style, the stuffed spud with veggie chili will hit the spot and then some. It’s massive, with sour cream and butter squished into the middle, and topped with a solid multi-bean-and-corn chili and nacho cheese or, on request, shredded cheddar. Nothing you couldn’t make yourself, but would you really make it this indulgent at home?

Stuffed spud

Stuffed spud

The barbecue smoked tofu sandwich is passable, but lackluster compared to other options. While the red peppers and chipotle aioli provide a punch, the tofu itself is just too mildly seasoned. A good slathering of barbecue sauce is required to keep things interesting.

Barbecue smoked tofu sandwich

Barbecue smoked tofu sandwich

Finally, we come to the don’ts. There’s just one: tacos. Not even on Tuesdays when they are $5 (stick to Mondays instead when wings are discounted and meatless specials are on rotation). Veggie chili or smoked tofu are spooned into cold, tasteless flour tortillas and topped with no-way-it’s-homemade salsa. I’d wish these tacos on an enemy.

Tacos

Tasteless tacos

So now that you know, get yourself to Smoke and Barrel for (almost) all of the above!

2471 18th St NW
202-319-9353

Mmmediterranean-style brunch at Kapnos

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DC’s seemingly insatiable appetite for brunch has led to a glut of restaurants opening at 11 to serve overpriced eggs or just straight up lunch fare (sorry Taan, ramen is LUNCH) along with even more obnoxiously priced sugary ‘breakfast cocktails’. Occasionally, the stars align and you get to enjoy the best of it: an inventive twist on comforting brunch classics at a great spot with no wait because it’s better known for dinner.

Enter Kapnos. We were already fans when we noticed that it was open for brunch one weekend and decided to stop in. The good-sized menu includes small and large sweet and savory plates, from Greek spreads to omelets, waffles, phyllo pies, and panini.

Start with an actually tasty mimosa – lemongrass pineapple is a showstopper but I may have to try pomegranate cardamom next time – or a boozy herb-infused kegged lemonade.

On the sweet side, baklava french toast and Greek coffee waffles are delicious. The french toast is fluffy and moist, topped with perfumey candied chestnuts, pears, and oranges. It’s homey and satisfying yet sophisticated.

Baklava french toast

Baklava french toast

There’s nothing subtle about the coffee waffle. Intense coffee and dark chocolate flavors (there are fine Greek-style coffee grounds in the batter) aren’t dulled by cinnamon butter or whipped cream, both barely sweetened. Chunks of bittersweet chocolate on top remind you that this waffle is for grown ups. We’ve shared an order for the table on two visits now and find it to be the perfect appetizer, mid-meal bite, and dessert.

Greek coffee waffles

Greek coffee waffles

The phyllo pies, both vegetarian, are a great counterpoint to dessert-for-breakfast. They’re small enough to eat as an entree with room for something else to share, or vice versa if you want a few bites of savory to go with your french toast. Both the potato garlic pie with red pepper almond puree and spanakopita with spinach, leeks, and feta are flaky and flavorful.

Potato phyllo pie

Potato phyllo pie with egg

The omelet with mushrooms, spinach, and manouri cheese is solid but unremarkable – next time I’ll try scrambled eggs with zucchini, tomato, and yogurt. Similarly, pressed toast with apples and truffle honey is no more exciting than it sounds. Finally, for those who insist on lunch at brunch, there’s an orzo pasta bake with spinach, feta and leeks. Just make sure you also get a bite or two of someone’s waffles. And an extra mimosa.

2201 14th St NW
(202) 234-5000

* We’ve been able to drop in for brunch so far, but this could change once the secret gets out. *

All Bar, No Bite at Barcelona

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[Photo: ]

[Photo: Barcelona]

Barcelona on 14th Street has gotten lots of buzz for its massive, gorgeous space, extensive wine selection including many by the glass, and a stylish yet cozy outdoor fire pit complete with cocktail cart and blankets. Especially with this winter’s weather, what’s not to love about snuggling under the covers and downing potent beverages while still technically socializing?

The food, unfortunately. Not that there aren’t plenty of options for vegetarians. It’s just that pretty much everything on Barcelona’s menu is done better somewhere else.

Let’s start with the one dish that we actually did like: humble spinach-chickpea cazuela. This stew was cuminy, comforting, and about as filling as tapas gets.

Spinach-chickpea cazuela

Spinach-chickpea cazuela

A plate of mushrooms and herbed goat cheese with balsamic reduction wasn’t bad, but why would you ever choose these over Bar Pilar’s beautiful buttery mixed mushroom plate?

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

Spicy eggplant caponata was cloyingly sweet with no trace of spice. It remained largely untouched despite the fact that we were hungry.

Caponata

Caponata

Whipped sheep‘s cheese with pistachios and smoked paprika sounds a lot more exciting than the bland spread with overly charred bread presented to us. Skip and collect the flavorful whipped feta at Kapnos when you pass Florida Ave.

Et tu, patatas bravas? This is the one dish that any self-respecting tapas bar should nail. I mean, it’s fried potatoes. Any semblance of crispiness in the potatoes and flavor in the salsa brava was buried under piles of mayo. Once again, get thee to Bar Pilar for their (actually) crispy roasted potatoes with malt aioli.

Patatas bravas

Patatas bravas

The lure of Barcelona’s decor and bar will bring us back, but only after we’ve filled our bellies at Pilar, Estadio, Kapnos, Etto, et cetera.

1622 14th St NW
(202) 588-5500

Can we pleeeeease stay for dinner at Casa Luca?

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After Fiola‘s glowing success, the Trabocchi family aimed to create a less formal dining experience with their second DC restaurant, named after their son Luca. A side effect of the share-friendly menu, which features flatbreads, cheeses, and small bites, is that vegetarians have more options right off the bat. Also, unlike Fiola, at least two of the changing pasta selections are usually meat-free (this week there are three!). Although Fiola will prepare vegetarian pastas and risottos on request, it’s nice when a chef puts effort into creating these items for the regular menu.

We walked in on a quiet Sunday and started with a couple of glasses of wine on tap (cups, rather – no fancy glassware here) and appetizers. Bruschetta topped with a sweet and savory caponata of golden raisins, pine nuts and red peppers was served with fresh pesto. It was simple, well-prepared, and taste bud-awakening:

Bruschetta

Bruschetta

I’m a sucker for Fiola salads and was glad to find that Casa Luca’s have the same magic. Candy-sweet grapes, grapefruit, hazelnuts, and crunchy slices of cucumber were served atop perfectly dressed baby greens.

Salad

Salad

Butternut squash agnolotti with brown butter was another example of How Things Should Be. Nothing crazy, just the right flavors and textures in the right mix. The filling was just sweet enough to be balanced by salt, herbs, cheese, and slivered artichokes in the sauce. All the other squash and brown butter wannabes should take note.

Butternut squash ravioli

Outstanding butternut squash pasta

Ravioli San Leo with ricotta, greens, lemon, and almonds was also well done – we especially loved the lemon sauce – but the herb mixture included something medicinal which overwhelmed the delicate citrus and ricotta combination.

Ravioli San Leo

Ravioli San Leo

Dessert was the ultimate in simple perfection. At first glance our hazelnut coffee cake with caramel gelato and vin cotto didn’t look particularly exciting:

Hazelnut coffee cake

Hazelnut coffee cake

One bite of warm cake with melting gelato and that fantastic wine reduction and we were racing each other while trying to savor each mouthful. Tart, syrupy vin cotto might be my new favorite sauce – imagine if port and caramel got jiggy with each other.

A number of Italian restaurants around town could take lessons from Fabio Trabocchi’s focus on quality ingredients and no-fuss, yet sophisticated, compositions. And while nothing beats Fiola’s elegance for a special occasion, Casa Luca’s lower prices, quieter atmosphere, and bigger vegetarian menu make it perfect for a spontaneous night out. If this is what it means to stay at Luca’s house for dinner, he must be one popular kid.

1099 New York Ave NW
(202) 628-1099

Mandalay’s little sib has big aspirations in Shaw

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The owners of Silver Spring’s Mandalay opened another restaurant in Shaw a couple of months ago, with little fanfare. Chef Aung, who left his mother and brother’s side to start the new restaurant, may have started quietly but has big ideas. Inspired by friends and family with varying dietary restrictions and preferences, he decided that every day’s 7-course fixed menu would be specialized according to the needs of his diners. Accordingly, patrons reserve their spot 24 hours in advance and state their preferences (vegan, no nuts, I hate cilantro, etc). Aung uses these to draw up the menu the night before, goes shopping at 4 am, and prepares a test run of every item in the morning with his team. Because he can’t take advantage of wholesale ingredients, dinner is set at $70.

We checked out a special vegetarian night (discounted at $50) early last month. Aung and his staff were welcoming and solicitous, explaining the concept and walking us through each dish. We started with crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside bean fritters:

Bean fritters

Bean fritters

The patties were made of mung and red bean puree along with whole black beans and black-eyed peas. The result was light and delicious. Even if you’re not a huge fan of spice, be sure to try them with a bit of smoked chili with garlic and ginger (available on request).

The next course, ginger salad, was just about perfect as well. Intensely flavored and featuring a mix of exciting textures, Burmese salads are often a highlight of the meal. Here, ginger salad was fresh, spicy, and sour, with plenty of crunch from peanuts, sesame seeds, and chip-like fried garlic.

Ginger salad

Ginger salad

Soup, featuring chunks of winter squash in a thin broth got mixed reviews. Half of us found it bland while the other half appreciated its simplicity.

Eggplant, which is smoked, chilled, and tossed with lime, sesame, shallots, and ginger in one of my favorite Burmese salads, was disappointing here. Steamed and presented alongside okra (usually also a favorite), this dish was unanimously deemed both bland and oily.

Eggplant

Eggplant

Thankfully, entrees put us back on the right track. Soft chunks of pumpkin, carrots, and peppers in a delicate creamy coconut sauce made for a pleasant departure from the usual fiery Thai version of this curry. Noodles with fried tofu, peanuts, and crispy tofu skins stood out with just the right amount of turmeric and South Asian spices.

Curry and noodles

Curry and noodles

Dessert, a vegan concoction of sweet potatoes in banana coconut sauce, erred on the side of baby food rather than comfort food. Too bad, considering that Mandalay’s semolina cake is a well-known area favorite.

All in all, we enjoyed our experience and most of the meal. We also agreed that while worth the discounted price, the standard $70 price tag would need to come with fewer misses.

The good news is that since opening, Chef Aung has decided to offer a la carte items – nothing over $10 – downstairs in the lounge, and is also “looking at ways to possibly lower the price” of the set menu. We’ll certainly be paying attention.

1501 9th St NW
(202) 644-8806
Reservations available at City Eats

Going the distance for Vedge

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Vedge gets me. Vedge gets you too; you just might not know it yet. Too bad we have to be in a long distance relationship. Philly’s not that far though, right?

Some things to know about our new beau: Vedge is delicious. Vedge’s cocktails are equally delicious. Vedge is inventive. Vedge is not out for all your money. Vedge is warm and friendly. Oh, and Vedge is vegan. We actually argued over this last point at the end of our meal, those refusing to believe murmuring things like “But the ice cream. The creamy sauces”.

We started with salted beets and a portobella carpaccio, from an appetizer selection including sweet potato pate with jerk cashews and ‘funky’ kimchi stew.

The beets were fresh and bright – a welcome departure from my usual roasted, dense preparation. Together with avocado and cucumber herb sauce, every bite had the right amount of salt, crunch, and cream.

Salted beet salad

Salted beets with avocado

Portobella carpaccio is one of those feats that makes dining out exciting. Sliced paper thin, with a delicately smoky flavor and little blobs of caper sauce and creamy truffle mustard, they resembled nothing like the usual earthy caps served in burgers or stuffed with cheese.

Portobello carapaccio

Portobella carpaccio: all air, no earth

Spicy grilled tofu was also inspired. While not quite spicy, the slathering of smoked miso along with gochujang, a fermented Korean chili paste, was a perfect twist on barbecue sauce.

Tofu

Tofu

Seitan was aggressively but appropriately seasoned as well, marinated until tender and chewy with za’atar and served over tahini cream and swiss chard. This was of the best seitan dishes I’ve tried.

Seitan

Seitan

Hearts of palm went surprisingly well with the buckwheat pancake they were wrapped in, but the real standouts here were the gorgeous saffron sauce and cake-like disk of tandoor cauliflower.

Hearts of palm

Hearts of palm

Eggplant braciole was the only dish that didn’t blow us away; the texture was mealy rather than silky and red peppers overwhelmed the other flavors.

Eggplant

Eggplant

We also ordered a couple of sides off of the ‘dirt list’, both very nice. Grilled kale was buttery and indulgent, and a winter stew with tomatoes and hazelnuts gave me a new appreciation for simmered (rather than roasted) parsnips.

Don’t leave Vedge without trying at least two desserts. We were very happy with our cheesecake and chocolate peanut butter extravaganza, but narrowing down was not easy. I actually woke up the other day wondering what a choice of sticky toffee pudding with smoked pecan ice cream would have been like.

Cheesecake was topped with a zippy mini celery and apple waldorf and served with celery gel (more appetizing than it sounds). Even better was the accompanying carrot cake ice cream over a sprinkle of crunchy walnut dirt. Vibrantly orange and intensely flavored, the ice cream reminded me of both a traditional spice cake and Indian carrot halwa.

Cheesecake

Cheesecake

Chocolate uber chunk was uber satisfying. Layers of pretzel and peanut, malt custard, chocolate, and some kind of peanut butter cream came with a super boozy stout ice cream and, just for kicks, another square of crunchy, chocolatey, peanut buttery goo. The birthday girl was rightly excited:

Chocolate uber chunk (with birthday girl!)

Chocolate uber chunk (with birthday girl Shruthi!)

Unlike many restaurants where the quality of the food isn’t necessarily matched by the drinks, our cocktails were also excellent. All four of us liked all four choices, particularly the floral Kyoto Sour and winter-themed Thackery Binx, which combined rum, figs, port, and dates without being at all syrupy.

Unsure of my friend’s plans, I had made reservations at Vedge for both Friday and Saturday night during the weekend of my visit. After our meal, a part of me regretted having cancelled Saturday’s reservation. You better believe I’m going back to Philadelphia soon to visit Vedge. I mean, Shruthi.

1221 Locust St, Philadelphia
215-320-7500

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