I want to say this at the very beginning — I’m a dude. In my world, there’s nothing better than a big steak, barbecue chicken, or a huge turkey leg on my plate at Thanksgiving. I love meat. That’s why I was a little (very might be a better description) skeptical when we were invited to dinner at Veggie Grill in Seattle.
Veggie Grill is exactly what it sounds like — a “fast-casual” restaurant that only serves vegan and vegetarian options. Everything on the menu is made from %100 soy, pea, and plant-based protein. Started in California, there are currently three Veggie Grill locations in Seattle (downtown at 1427 4th Ave., 2681 University Village St., and 446 Terry Ave. N. in South Lake Union), but the restaurant is so popular that it’s already expanding into Bellevue.
The menu at Veggie Grill is loaded with dishes you’d (or at least I’d) expect to find at a vegan/vegetarian restaurant. There are things like Quinoa Pilaf, Papa’s Portobello burger (all of their burgers and sandwiches can be ordered “kale style” — in other words, served on a bed of kale rather than on a bun), plus plenty of soups and salads. One of Tove’s favorite dishes was the All Hail Kale salad (marinated kale and red cabbage, corn salsa, agave-roasted walnuts, and ginger-papaya vinaigrette). It came highly recommended to us by our friends and Twitter followers, so thank you for the suggestion! Tove says she would go back to Veggie Grill just to order the All Hail Kale salad again.
The biggest surprise at the Veggie Grill was what I didn’t expect to find. There are plenty of familiar meals with a vegan/vegetarian twist, including several “meat” options. There are Buffalo Wings (that actually taste like REAL chicken wings), “Crab” Cakes, and Baja “Fish” Tacos, among many others. One of the best meals I tried at Veggie Grill was the All-American Stack. It’s a steak (yes, “steak” — made with plant, pea, and soy-based proteins) sandwich with onion rings, pickles, lettuce, tomato, and thousand island dressing. The meat actually tasted and felt like real steak. I was truly impressed. The Santa Fe Crispy Chickin’ sandwich was also really good. And, don’t miss the sweet potato fries. They are delicious!
On top of the entrees, Veggie Grill also serves up dessert. We tried The Grilled Cookie (a hand-crafted chocolate chip cookie, griddled and topped with chocolate pudding, vegan crema, and chocolate sauce) and Carrot Cake (fresh carrots, walnuts, and vegan cream cheese frosting). The Carrot Cake was easily the highlight of the night for our table. Everyone was raving about it. You honestly can’t tell the difference between real carrot cake and the vegan carrot cake at Veggie Grill. It was really moist and tasty.
To our taste buds, there were a couple misses at Veggie Grill. The blackened chickin’ tasted nothing like real chicken, and the mac-n-cheese (made with quinoa noodles and a soy-based cheese) was missing the real cheese flavor. While the mac-n-cheese was a miss for us, it would be a great alternative for someone who is lactose intolerant. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?
I’m really thankful Veggie Grill hosted us for dinner, because Tove and I would have never walked in there on our own. I went in thinking it was going to be an unusual experience, but I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. Veggie Grill is a great option for anyone with a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, but it’s also a nice break from the ordinary for meat eaters. You should give it a try sometime!
Have you ever eaten at Veggie Grill? What’s your favorite item on the menu? We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Don’t forget to check out Seattle Bloggers for more great places to eat and drink in the Emerald City!