Thursday, November 17, 2011

veni, vidi, vedge!

Vedge's "Cide" Car, made with cider, apple jack, brandy and the usual suspects – unusually addictive

Philadelphia vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike have been waiting with baited breath for the opening of Vedge, Kate Jacoby and Rich Landau's new vegan restaurant. Like everyone, I was sad to see their firstborn, Horizons, close. But I knew that the dynamic duo were marinating a brilliant concept – a vegan restaurant that would actually focus on – gasp! – vegetables, an idea stunning in its simplicity. Veggie eateries tend to feature protein-centric menus overflowing with tofu, tempeh, and beans, so it's refreshing to see vegetables used as the centerpiece of a culinary point of view. As someone who likes to try a little of this and that, I also like the fact that Vedge's menu will focus on small plates.

Korean Tacos with Seitan and Kimchee Mayo
If anyone can show off the inherent splendor of a vegetable, it's Rich. He is, without a doubt, one of the most talented chefs in the country, vegan or otherwise [and you know I am not one to throw away a culinary compliment]. Mere mortal that I am, I feel haughty when I successfully pair just one or two foodstuffs. But Rich's dishes habitually contain at least three, and sometimes even four or five complex elements, all paired with the easiness of a match made in heaven. Case in point, this Korean Taco appetizer: crispy shell with spicy seitan, cooling daikon, refreshing cilantro, creamy avocado and a kick-ass kimchee mayo.

Got protein? Don't worry, Vedge features tofu and seitan, too. 
The Gochuchang Tofu was my favorite. Gochuchang is a spicy Korean pepper paste which featured prominently in the marinade. It was tender-chewy, as it should be, grilled to perfection with Rich's signature crosshatches.

This ain't your Nonna's braciole.
The Smoked Eggplant Braciole was sublime: silky slivers of eggplant wrapped around tender cauliflower, resting in a emerald puddle of onion pea verde. This dish was F-Stop's favorite – and he hates eggplant. Enough said, right?

Handmade bitters? Sweet!
Vedge's bar is well stocked and 100% vegan. They even make their own bitters from citrus rinds. Now that's going above and beyond!

Clockwise from the fork, Figgy Cheesecake, Coconut Macaroon, Chocolate-Filled Beignets (Not the official Vedge names!)

The powdered beignets were filled with a surprise: a creamy chocolate center. The cookies were all delicious, including the macaroons. Kate is famous for her creamy, omni-fooling cheesecakes, and her fig-topped wonder [shown on the fork] did not disappoint. I can't wait to order a large slice – or an entire cake.  In fact, I can't wait to go back to Vedge. They open on Monday, November 21.


Theresa said...

Aw, shame it wasn't open when we were there - it looks amazing! That eggplant dish is especially gorgeous, but I also would love to overeat if dessert looked like that.

Bianca said...

Ooooh, I think I'd be most excited about that bar!! And that tofu!! (ha, of course my fave parts about the vegcentric restaurant would be the non-vegetables ... figures ... but of course the veggie dishes look AMAZING too!).

ShinyHappyVegan said...

I can't wait to go! Thanks for the review- you have me salivating :)

foodfeud said...

Fig cheesecake!

Scissors and Spice said...

Holy! I can't wait to go in December! Thanks for reminding me to make my reservation ASAP!

The Cozy Herbivore said...

I'm so excited that they're focusing on veggies. Can't wait to go and eat!

Natalie @ Angst Loves Spinach said...

woo hoo! It looks awesome - great recap!

Anonymous said...

OMG. Your food life is enviable. I'm experiencing salivation viewing these pics (and I'm still on page one!)

Andy Dufresne said...

Oh wow! I wish I was still in Philly!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you know-- a lot of the wine on the wine list isn't vegan-- but the servers know which ones are and which aren't.