Lunch at Veggie Grill, UVillage

We brought R here for lunch since it’s a vegetarian restaurant, he’s like our only vegetarian friend, and we’d never tried it before. The menu actually looks pretty snazzy, and one of the things I always like about vegetarian food is how clean everything tastes.

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We got these cauliflower bites with orange sauce which I think were trying to emulate orange chicken – all battered and fried, then dipped in an orange sauce. They were delicious, though I think they could have used more herbs in the orange sauce. still, the batter was light and not soggy, unlike General Tso’s chicken batter.

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R wanted to try the Buffalo Chick’n – he used to eat meat before after all. I don’t like buffalo chicken in general – I think tabasco heavy buffalo sauce is really sour and one-dimensional, nothing like korean fried chicken or even malay fried chicken with their many spices. Even Southern fried chicken is better. Anyway for buffalo “chicken” tenders I suppose it’s not bad, but the skin wasn’t really crispy. They sold several other “chicken” dishes on the menu and if you didn’t know better it may be pretty hard to tell that it’s a vegetarian restaurant. The entire menu is vegetarian, in case it is unclear.

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I ordered the glazed tofu banh mi and it was amazing. The pickled cabbage and carrots in the banh mi were spot on, and the tofu slab was perfectly glazed, browned, and crisp, although I think it could have been thinner since tofu in general doesn’t have much of a savoury taste, unlike marinated meat. It did taste like a banh mi and I would certainly order it again.

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My banhmi came with a side of sweet potato fries with chipotle aioli which were really good except for the malodorous fake parmesan they sprinkled on top.

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L couldn’t resist ordering the All Hail Kale salad – and it was actually not bad! The only time I’d eaten kale raw was when Tiffany made me try her fresh kale from her farmer’s market share and it was really bitter! This was nothing like that, and came in a really tangy, sweet dressing. It is also a humongous portion, so we packed it and brought it home to eat with the mushroom gruyere crepes I made for dinner.

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R ordered the “meatiest” thing of the three of us – a chicken cutlet doused in gravy served with mashed potatoes and kale. The chicken cutlet is basically the same type of filet as in the buffalo chicken. I kind of got sick of it on my second or third “chicken” tender, but on the first one I did think it tasted a whole lot cleaner than regular chicken tenders. The texture is pretty good though.

This is a great place to eat with your vegetarian friends although I feel like more can be done to make vegetables shine, rather than touting all sorts of meat substitutes. This is Seattle after all, I’m sure a fake-meat free menu would actually work here.

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