Growing vegan restaurant chain Veggie Grill continues to surprise me. The first time I ate there, I was skeptical of its food because I’m not a big fan of faux meats, but Veggie Grill’s menu manages to please crunchy granola vegans without alienating meat eaters. Now the restaurant has added tasty new items to its menu, including hearty dinner plates and a crab cake sandwich — yes, seafood!
The crab cake sandwich is a revelation. Made from soy and wheat products, the “crab” tastes real, even in terms of texture. Topped with tangy tartar sauce, pickles, tomato, lettuce and red onion, the sandwich is uniquely satisfying among vegan menu items.
Other new dishes that I enjoyed on a recent visit include the B-Wing Salad (pictured above) with buffalo “wings” over lettuce, avocado, celery, roasted corn salsa and ranch dressing; the VG Rollers with blackened “chickin’,” cabbage, Santa Fe spread and tomato salsa rolled in grilled flour tortillas, and served with salsa and chili on the side; and for dessert, the Chocolate Pudding Parfait with chocolate sauce, crushed cookies, walnuts and VG crema (which is made from soy milk).
I was not as won over by the new “homestyle” plates. While I applaud the effort to create more hearty dinner-friendly dishes, these just didn’t do it for me. The Crispy Chickin’ Plate with a fried chickin’ steak over cauliflower mashed potatoes topped with porcini mushroom gravy and steamed kale on the side was fine, but it was a little too heavy and could have used more mushroom flavor. The Urban Plate, a gluten-free option, with blackened tempeh, caramelized onion and a portobello mushroom cap with steamed kale and tomato and avocado salad on the side was also fine, but it’s not something I would ever order for myself. My dining companion liked it a lot, though, so to each his/her own. The Blackened Chickin’ Plate with papaya salsa, steamed kale and quinoa pilaf was my least favorite. Also, what’s with the plethora of sesame seeds on the steamed kale? I love kale, but you just end up with a mouthful of sesame seeds.
The other new sandwich option, the Buffalo Bomber, features crispy chickin’ tossed with spicy Buffalo sauce, ranch dressing, tomato and red onion. While I liked the buffalo chickin’ salad, I thought the sandwich version had too much buffalo sauce. But if you like buffalo sauce, then this could be the sandwich for you.
All in all, I’m pleased with Veggie Grill’s new menu items. Though I’m still in love with its Santa Fe Crispy Chickin’ (as a wrap, not a sandwich), I would definitely branch out and order a crab cake sandwich. It tastes so close to the real thing!
All photos by Brian Goodman.
Note: This meal was hosted.