Meatless Mondays: El Chupacabra

A tude-tastic Mexican vegan spot in Phinney Ridge.

I’ve heard rave reviews from non-vegans about El Chupacabra in Phinney Ridge, so I was happy to give it a try. The ambience is like Cha Cha Lounge, just less seizure-ific. Come at night to enjoy their jukebox and cool colored lights. They’ve got a killer drink list and a tasty little zone, but the vegan options are nothing to brag about.

El Chupacabra's Enfrijoladas and Quesadilla

Say “Good Morning” to El Chupacabra’s Sunday brunch with this easily make-vegan dish; the kick of spice will wake your taste buds up a bit. The Enfrijoladas ($6.99) come with three corn tortillas smothered in a spicy black bean sauce all topped with fresh-cut onions and Daiya cheese. Now, any traditional breakfast wouldn’t be complete without potatoes or eggs but in this case, you’ll have to settle for crispy fried cubes of the spud variety. Since us vegans don’t get to enjoy the side of scrambled eggs that normally come with the dish, ask your server to stuff the tortillas with a little sumpin’ sumpin’—I say “Sí” to more Daiya cheese or a meat substitute. That way, you can join the necessary Mexican siesta after your meal with all that food in your belly.

Whenever I hear quesadilla, mi corazon starts to flutter. Cheese is bomb; I’ve always been a big, gooey fan. Their appetizer-sized Quesadilla ($4.99) wasn’t the one in my dreams, but I most def enjoyed it. A 10-inch flour tortilla with Daiya cheese slapped inside of it was crispy and fried, just like a good quesadilla should be. But it needed something…drizzle some of their homemade sauces on those golden triangles and it’ll add a punch. Or, you can add vegan meat to make it a meal for only a couple bucks more.

El Chupacabra's Soft Tacos

The vegan menu at El Chupacabra’s saviors: the Gardein meat options. Try all three kinds—Chicken Verde, Mock Steak and Chicken Tinga—with their Regular Soft Taco Platter ($7.99) and you’ll be pleasantly satisfied. These tacos stole the moisture from all the other dishes—enough to break through the one soft white corn tortilla each comes with. Freshly diced onions and cilantro add some crunch to these guys. The mock meats were of comparable texture to regular braised meats—juicy and flavorful. A little spritz of lime and…mmm…Money.

If you are as addicted to avocado as much as I am, bring your own. I noticed the Avocado Police was on staff. That goes for all their stuff. Please note: their plating skills are pretty sad. Six chips as a side does not a satisfying meal make. You’re better off making it all at home.

The other half of their cup of gravy was missing. Just like the flavor and attempt at making you full. Maybe it’s in the back with the other rationed helpings. Grab one of their countless alcoholic bevs and you might not even notice.

El Chupacabra | 6711 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle  |  (206) 706-4889