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Wednesday, June 27, 2012


forks: 9.5
price: $$$

1221 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107

I am VERY excited, and I mean very excited. Why so excited, you ask? Well, last night I had a taste of what I believe to be one of the best restaurants in Philly, and guess what? It's VEGAN. I am not playing or joshing around on this one, 4real, this is pure business. Vedge is an upscale vegan restaurant serving food that is some of the best I've had in Philly, that just so happens to be vegan. It's honestly unbelievable and I'm EXCITED because everything on their menu is new and innovative and fresh, both in the literal and non-literal sense. My fellow veggie lovers Ali and Sabrina joined me on this excursion as we ventured to taste the extremely talked up restaurant. I mean the reviews I read made Vedge sound like heaven, so my expectations were very high. The restaurant boasts a modern chic vibe with cool mahogany countertops. Theres a window to the open kitchen and a bar along a prep area which is where we were oh-so-happily seated.

I had read the menu probably 1,000 times online before being handed the physical thing, but still struggled to select what I want due an extreme case of order anxiety. Our friendly waitress suggested we each order three plates, and we did just that. We were also handed the "Dirt List," the restaurant's list of their daily vegetable offerings and just reading them had me whimpering into my napkin because I knew I couldn't get them all. We started with the brussel sprouts and the zucchini from the "Dirt List." The brussel sprouts were shaved and grilled and topped with a smoked mustard. Brussel sprouts are my favorite vegetable and now this is my favorite place to get them. They were crispy and crunchy and flavorful, and had an intense smokey flavor from the mustard. I kept searching for pieces of bacon because it REALLY tasted that smokey but then I remembered I was in a Vegan restaurant. They were unbelievable.

The zucchini was sautéed in a simple pesto sauce and the dish was clean, elegant, and beyond tasty. The sauce tasted summery and light with new flavor notes hitting your palette with every bite. After the first two courses, we were speechless.

We also ordered the bite plate, a combination of the "small bite" section on the menu that featured pickled vegetables, pick 'n peel lupini beans, a white bean purée, and olives. The pickled vegetables were awesome, especially the pieces of curried pickled cauliflower. The bean purée was so tasty that we kept it after we finished the rest of the plate to use as a dipping sauce later. The olives were good but the beans were kind of weird. The plate is decent, but passable.

And then the magic really started. I've found a dish and I want to marry it and its the Salt roasted golden beets with avocado, capers, smoked tofu, rye, and a creamy cucumber sauce. I actually have no words. Every component of the dish was seasoned so well and when you put it all together, a solar eclipse will actually occur in your mouth. The tofu sends a smokey note that marries so perfectly with the creaminess of the avocado and the freshness of the beets. This is vegan cuisine at its finest.

Then came the saffron cauliflower soup with fennel pollen, and green olive persillade. It's amber color was reflected strongly in its saffron flavor and the texture was hearty and rustic, yet it still managed to be light in taste. SO yum.

Also from the "d-list" came our orders of Peas and Carrots and Yellow Wax Beans. Say bye bye to your classic peas and carrots as these get a welcome makeover with a flavorful and potent Jamaican curry. The actual peas and carrots are tender and delicious and once again the sauce is killin it.

The beans were seared with a sesame and miso sauce that was actually in my dream last night. I was swimming in a river of it, in a place called heaven. These are salty, tangy, crunchy and just perfect. I'm obsessed with miso and the flavor on these is bold but pairs nicely with the relatively blandness of beans themselves.

Next came the portabella  mushroom carpaccio with a horse radish mayonnaise, pickled cabbage, and cornichons. The plate was beautiful but this was my least favorite dish. The textures of the mushroom and cabbage were just too similar and didn't really do it for me.

But, no fear, because it was back to magic with the vegan take on braciole, thin eggplant and cauliflower wrapped around jasmine rice sitting in a vibrant salsa verde. This was simply wonderful. A blend of textures and a multitude of different flavors sang harmoniously on the plate and made for, in the word's of Ali, a "delectable dish."

Last but certainly not least, was the grilled tofu over edamame purée with bok choy and a piece of crisped tofu skin. Peace out steak, tofu has moved in and can surprisingly be just as delicious. The tofu got a kick from Chinese mustard and the silky edamame purée lent a velvety softness that put the tofu over the top.
If you cannot tell, I'm in love. I'm infatuated by Vedge and their ability to create such spectacular dishes that left me asking, who needs meat/cheese/dairy/eggs? The food is beautifully plated, clean, and light and I think where they take it totally beyond is with their sauces. Their sauces are layered, complex, and extremely flavorful taking simple vegetables and elevating them to Mt. Fiji status heights.

Vedge, ya KILLIN it

*thank you Ali for your lovely sign out line

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