Vegans, carnivores, and vegans trying to trick their carnivore friends into eating vegan food, I present: Veggie Grill.
Now of course you are wondering, “how would she know if a staunch non-vegan would like this food? She isn’t one.” And I would respond by first commending you for being a critical consumer, and then by explaining the funny story of how I brought a plate of Veggie Grill “buffalo” wings to work, watched said staunch non-vegans chow down on them, and then received a very sincere and concerned apology from a particularly thoughtful co-worker when she suddenly realized she was dipping her chicken in the same “ranch” I was dipping my celery in!
Cross contamination noooooo… except, oh wait, it wasn’t real chicken. She had no idea. And was so sweet I almost didn’t laugh at her with everyone else in the room privy to the Veggie Grill concept. Almost.
Along with their new downtown location, Veggie Grill also has a few new menu items, one of them being my new favorite dish. The Savory Kale Salad tastes like a real Caesar salad. Except not really, because they have upgraded nearly every aspect of the classic recipe. The dressing is light and flavorful and perfectly creamy as it should be. The lettuce is kale. The croutons don’t hurt your mouth. They added chunks of fresh, juicy cucumbers. And the fake bacon. Oh the fake bacon. If you can’t tell, it was my first time with this particular vegan meat, and I’ll just say, baconless vegan caesar salads are forever ruined.
Another new item, the taco plates. They offer fish, steak and chicken. I opted for the chicken as it tends to be my favorite non-bacon vegan meat. I loved how the sweetness from the corn mixed with the smokey chicken, and the cabbage added a nice crunch, but next time I’ll order some sort of sauce or sour cream on the side to round it out. Instead of the avocado salad, I went for Cauli-Mashed Potatoes + Gravy. Not at all the optimal side for a plate of tacos, but absolutely the best side for a hearty, home cookin’ kind of craving. They taste exactly like mom used to make. I’m not claiming to know your mom or how she cooks potatoes, but if she were to make this style of mashed potatoes, they would taste like this. Starchy, hearty, buttery? Yes, somehow buttery. And completely absent of any and all cauliflower taste or texture. This tasted like the real deal, with a lot less real deal calories and carbs. Paleo? Not quite, but it’s a good compromise.
You know how sometimes you go out to eat and you’re really hungry and everyone at the table decides that ordering an appetizer is a good idea. So you order nachos somehow blocking communication from the part of your brain that remembers: nachos are not an appetizer. Nachos are a full meal. For two people. You know how that happens sometimes? Well guess what. It doesn’t happen here, because the nachos appetizer is actually the size of an appetizer. I shared the modest plate with one other person and still had plenty of room for dinner! This is freaking genius you guys. And on top of that, they tasted good! Heavier on the refried beans and sour cream than the cheese, which if your familiar with vegan cheese, is a great thing. And the best part? The guacamole. Nothing special, just really, really ridiculously fresh and flavorful avocados smashed to pieces.
Veggie Grill is a place where you can forget you’re vegan. You can find just as many guilty pleasures as healthy, everyday options, and with prices like $4.95 for nachos, you can get out cheaper than you would bringing your lunch. The ingredients are refreshingly fresh, making it easy to feel good about whichever part of the gigantic menu you order from. I give ’em 60,000 points for satisfying my decade-long buffalo wing craving, and a million for moving into such a convenient location downtown.
Veggie Grill|1427 4th Ave, Seattle| 206.624.1332
Photography by Jessica Aceti