28 December 2010

Moshi Sushi Bar

Moshi is an upscale sushi joint in Bexley that offers contemporary takes on rolls as well as Pan-Asian fare from Korea, Thailand and Japan. It adds a nice touch to the Bexley dining scene.

This restaurant is a collaboration between Bexley resident Moshe "Moshi" Mizrachi and the father-and-son team of Song and David Kim. It gives Bexley a modern Asian spot in a similar style to Lemongrass or Nida's in the Short North.

The staff at Moshi Sushi Bar addressed vegetarian concerns appropriately. The menu doesn't have piles of vegetarian options, but there is enough variety to give diners different options.

The miso soup is vegetarian, prepared without bonito. There are about five different vegetable sushi rolls, a couple of salads, a tofu steak and a few meatless noodle dishes.

The miso soup has a deep green color that hides an unctuous, savory character. Small pieces of tofu pick up the flavor of the broth and the fresh scallions.

The fried tofu is served with a sweet hoisin sauce and an herbal-infused soy dip. Half of the tofu cubes are fried crispy without breading, and the other half are tempura battered with a crunchy panko coating. The hoisin-based sauce adds a great barbeque flavor to the dish.

The sushi rolls are artfully prepared. Vegetarian options include some of the usual suspects (avocado rolls and cucumber rolls) as well as some rolls with more complex groupings of ingredients. The veggie roll had cucumber, asparagus, carrots and kombucha squash. The O-H-I-O roll consists of avocado, cream cheese, fried sweet potato and asparagus fried in a walnut panko tempura with a sweet miso sauce.

The O-H-I-O roll was a great mix of flavors. The cream cheese and avocado add a rich, savory element to the sweet taste of the miso and potato. The crispy breading adds a great texture to the sushi roll.

The color of the veggie roll is striking. There is a rainbow of flavor accompanying its many shades. The smaller avocado roll was well-constructed if slightly uninspiring.

The decor at Moshi is modern and understated. Service was friendly and capable. There is a full bar with sake and cocktails.

While Moshi is excellent with a number of vegetarian options, be forewarned that it rates on the expensive end for sushi in the Columbus area.

Moshi Sushi Bar

Moshi Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon

The Veg Edge

The Veg Edge is a one-hour special that airs regularly on the Cooking Channel, Scripps' new cousin to the Food Network. Since I spend about 20 hours or more per week watching foodie-centric television, it was time to pass on the fruits of these labors.

This program highlights trends in vegetarian dining nationwide. Some of the places and people featured on The Veg Edge include the veggie dining scene in Austin (including Casa de Luz, Daily Juice, Mr. Natural Vegetarian and vegan food carts like Iggi's Vegan Texatarean and the Vegan Yacht), a seasonal prix fixe restaurant in Seattle called Sutra, adorable vegan pastry chef (and Cupcake Wars champion) Chloe Coscarelli, New York haute cuisine outposts like Dirt Candy and Dovetail (which features a meatless Monday menu although it isn't a vegetarian restaurant), the vegan web show Heavy Metal Vegan, and the vegetarian scene in Portland, which runs the gamut from food carts like Native Bowl, Magic Beans, Sushi Tree, Ruby Dragon and Homegrown Smoker, higher end places like Blossoming Lotus and Portobello Vegan Trattorria, and the fantastic Portland vegan mini mall, with animal product-free shopping for every part of your life from the kitchen to your tattoo collection.

This show does an excellent job highlighting how national dining trends such as food carts are catering to growing segments of the population (i.e. vegetarians). It also shows how the increasing sophistication and internationalization of the American palate has created a wider variety of dining options for vegetarians as well as those looking to minimize their intake of animal products

21 December 2010

Cafe Bella

Cafe Bella is an intimate, locally focused eatery on the border of Clintonville and North Campus. It features sandwiches, salads, and pasta dishes that cater to vegetarian and vegan diners.

The menu changes regularly. As a result, it is transmitted orally rather than in a written format.

Prices are $5 for sandwiches and $9 for pasta dishes. My pasta came with a salad and a brownie. With a drink, my bill was $10.

The salad was made with spinach, arugula, red peppers, red onions, bean sprouts, white cheese and sesame oil. It was fresh, clean and delicately constructed with hints of citrus, pepper and earthiness.

The eggplant parmesan pasta was thinly sliced eggplant delicately battered and served on thick spaghetti noodles in a house-made, chunky marinara with basil and garlic notes. The plating was great, and it added visual appeal to a dish that was already a satisfying explosion of flavor.

The brownie bite was a cool conclusion to the meal. The salad and pasta were filling, so I wasn't certain that I needed anything else. However, after some consideration, two bites of warm, dark chocolate cake provided a perfect finale to a fantastic lunch.

While the main focus of Cafe Bella is Italian dishes and breakfast items like frittata and French toast, international fare also is a staple. While this place is very accommodating for dietary restrictions, calling a day ahead allows diners to custom craft their meal for the next day (a cool perk for regulars and picky eaters).

Cafe Bella

Cafe Bella on Urbanspoon

18 December 2010

Rice Bowl

Rice Bowl is a long-tenured Chinese restaurant in Columbus' Scioto Southland. It produces relatively characterless Chinese fare at extremely reasonable prices.

Like most Chinese restaurants, Rice Bowl offers a small selection of meatless offerings on its menu. The most troubling part of the vegetarian choices on Rice Bowl's menu is that there is a lack of vegetarian protein on the lunch menu. There is a stir fried bean curd on the dinner menu, but the lunch options consist mainly of vegetables without tofu.

The vegetable spring roll is made in the traditional Chinese deep fried style. It is stuffed with an abundance of cabbage and shredded carrots, and served with sweet and sour sauce and hot mustard.

The Buddhist Delight is thin Chinese pasta tossed with mushrooms, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, baby corn and pea pods. For the most part, the dish is fairly bland with very few redeeming characteristics.

The Szechwan vegetables have a deeper, spicier flavor. Green peppers, mushrooms, onions, water chestnuts, peapods and carrots are coated in a thick, brown Szechwan base. Though it is a superior dish when compared to the Buddhist Delight, the flavor profile is still somewhat one dimensional.

There is limited dine-in space at Rice Bowl. Take-out orders are prepared rapidly. I was easily able to transport it home and serve the food at a hot temperature.

Overall, Rice Bowl offers fairly pedestrian Chinese food. Since the South Side of Columbus is somewhat lacking in meatless dining options, Rice Bowl will do in a pinch.

Rice Bowl

Rice Bowl on Urbanspoon

10 December 2010

L&L Indian Restaurant

L&L Indian Restaurant is a new Indian establishment on the Far West side of the city. Despite its humble appearance, L&L is a hidden gem for vegetarians and Indian food fanatics on Columbus' left side.

The owner of L&L has spent a long time working in other Indian restaurants in Columbus, such as Indian Oven and Curry & Kebab. The business is mostly focused on take-out as there is only seating for about 10.

Vegetarian options at L&L include palak paneer, aloo gobi, aloo matar, chana masala, veggie biryani and palak aloo. While there is naan, the starters are a little limited (no pakoras or samosas). The average entree price is about $8.

The palak paneer was delightful. Spinach is sauteed with onions, garlic and mild spices. It is augmented with creamy cubes of paneer cheese, a common Indian vegetarian protein source. With the side of basmati rice, the dish is delicious and satisfying.

The naan is also good. It is flecked with hints of black pepper that add an interesting note to a bread that's just as good by itself as it is scooping up whatever leftover chutneys or curries are floating around your table.

Overall, while L&L might not be Columbus' best Indian restaurant, it's still fairly priced and tasty. It definitely offers a safe bet for vegetarians on the West side outside of I-270.

L&L Indian Restaurant

L&L Indian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

04 December 2010

Lai Lai

Lai Lai is a slightly upscale Chinese restaurant located in a nondescript strip mall in Blacklick. After selling previous suburban restaurants with the same name (now closed) and staying out of the restaurant business for a decade, owner James Miao opened a new Lai Lai on the far East side.

Lai Lai is an authentic Chinese eatery with classic dishes. Although the decor and plating suggest a top shelf experience, prices are reasonable with nothing more than $15 and most priced around $10.

The menu at Lai Lai is not exceptionally vegetarian friendly, although like most Chinese restaurants, there are about five or six vegetarian entrees and three vegetarian appetizers available. The only dish that puts up warning flags for vegetarians is the ma po tofu, a traditional Szechuan tofu dish that is prepared with pork.

Vegetarian starters are a fried vegetable spring roll, a breaded tofu dish with peanut dipping sauce and sesame noodles. The spring roll was crisp and artfully presented. The accompanying condiments were a nice touch, especially the hot mustard, which provided an explosive accent to the dish.

Vegetarian entrees are usually made with tofu. The Chinese eggplant is one of the non-tofu main courses, while choices like kung pao tofu and Szechuan black bean tofu occupy the other side of the spectrum at Lai Lai.

The black bean tofu is prepared with blocks of tofu, bok choy, pea pods and sauteed mushrooms. The black bean sauce is somewhat mild at Lai Lai considering the dish is traditionally very spicy. While I would have preferred it to be spicier, the earthy flavor added by the tender mushroom caps still adds a nice touch to the dish.

Service at Lai Lai was prompt, friendly and capable. The staff on hand was unable to answer my questions about vegan dishes, so vegan diners might want to call ahead before visiting.

Lai Lai

Lai Lai Authentic Chinese Kitchen on Urbanspoon

26 November 2010

Pizza Rustica

Pizza Rustica is a small pizza chain that started in the South Beach section of Miami. Its first Ohio outpost is located on the South Campus Gateway.

Pizza Rustica makes large, rectangular pies. They sell pizza by the slice or as whole pies, as well as sandwiches and salads. Hours run late-night, and Pizza Rustica does deliver.

This place is noted for keeping late hours for the Miami party scene, and the tradition continues on campus with weekend hours that run to 3 a.m.

The pizza crust is thin and soft. The sauce is bright with a hint of sweetness. Toppings run the gamut from three different types of mushrooms to sweet corn and roasted eggplant.

The by-the-slice pizza is actually a large rectangle cut into six squares. This costs about $5.

The pizza Margherita is made with mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, olive oil, garlic and basil. The sweetness of the sauce and the buttery crust combine to create a deeply satisfying taste.

The three mushroom pizza is toped with portabella, shiitake and porcini 'shrooms, sliced tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh herbs. The different mushrooms add layers of flavor and texture.

The menu also features two meatless panini sandwiches and a few salads. The owner was friendly, and provided advice on menu specials. He's currently using this franchise as a guide before undergoing further expansion within the Buckeye state.

Overall, considering that this is a chain pizza shop, the quality level is very good. When the late hours and inexpensive prices are considered, the reasons for Pizza Rustica's success are clearly evident.

Pizza Rustica

Pizza Rustica on Urbanspoon

21 November 2010

Coyote Jane's

Coyote Jane's is a new Southwestern restaurant located in the southern part of Merion Village. Coyote Jane's held a soft opening the last two nights, and plans are to hit the ground running for dinner next Friday and Saturday with a firm schedule.

This restaurant is the latest member of the Banana Bean family (technically, Skillet is owned by one person who owns Banana Bean; that's enough for familial grouping in my head). It occupies the space that once housed Crater's, and although the interior might not yet be set in stone, the decor is functional, fun and festive.

The menu features tacos, burritos, salads, soups and chips and salsa. While there aren't piles of vegetarian items on the menu, even during the soft opening, Coyote Jane's was easily able to fabricate a meal that corresponded with my exacting vegetarian dietary standards.

The salsa was a fiery delight. It possessed a creeping heat that slowly built through the layers of bright fruity flavor. House-made chips soaked up the delicious dip.

The Sundance Kid is traditionally an egg-based dish (I ordered mine sin huevos). Although the Sundance Kid is identified as a burro, it is more appropriately labeled a chimichanga. It is stuffed with sauteed potatoes, tomatoes and scallions with cheese sauce on top and a roasted poblano pepper pesto sauce inside. It is large, visually appealing and quite tasty.

Coyote Jane's also has a full bar with a couple of cool micro brews and a cadre of frozen and on-the-rocks margarita options. The front of the house is set up to host live music. The staff was learning the menu, and despite not knowing the answer to every question, they provided friendly, capable service. This place will definitely be worth a visit when they get in the swing of things.

Coyote Jane's Menu

Coyote Jane's on Urbanspoon

20 November 2010

Bahn Thai Bistro

Bahn Thai Bistro is a small restaurant hidden in an Upper Arlington strip mall. Despite its low-key appearance and its Siamese provenance, the place churns out tons of delicious vegetarian fare.

While most Thai restaurants find sneaky ways of feeding diners animal parts (hello, fish sauce), Bahn Thai is able to prepare almost every dish on the menu in a vegetarian fashion. The staff was also fully knowledgeable about vegan dining concerns, and although vegan options are less plentiful than their vegetarian counterparts, vegan diners can easily be accommodated.

The majority of Bahn's business appears to be take-out. The decor is colorful, and there is a substantial amount of patio seating (for summer diners) and about 12 seats inside.

Vegetarian appetizers include veggie spring rolls, edamame, and deep fried tofu served with either sweet and sour peanut sauce or cucumber sauce and a peanut/coconut milk sauce. The spring rolls, which are prepared with egg, are crispy rounds stuffed with cabbage, carrots and mushrooms. It is served with house-made sour sauce and chile puree.

The fried tofu is perfectly breaded. The presentation is simple yet refined.

Meatless entrees include a variety of classic Thai dishes, including Pad Thai, drunken noodles and the rainbow of curry dishes. The red curry was a spicy preparation of bamboo shoots, bell pepper, eggplant and sauteed tofu garnished with Thai basil. It had layers of intense flavor.

One of the other interesting options is the wrap sandwiches. Vegetarian choices are basil and garlic.

Bahn Thai Bistro

Bahn Thai Bistro on Urbanspoon

11 November 2010

Mojo Tago

Mojo Tago is a taco truck that pops up at various locations around the Columbus area. I caught it this week at State and Third, but Mojo also has regularly been found on campus during Ohio State game day and in Westerville.

Owner Brian Reed's truck is big and well-appointed. It has a T-Shirt display rack and a tortilla chip window, placing its amenities at a slightly different level than those of the outer belt taco trucks. Its concept pays homage to the L.A. food truck scene that has garnered national media attention, but it also shares a common thread with Columbus' other mobile food impresarios like Rad Dog and Foodie Cart with a fun image not obscuring its focus on fresh ingredients.

The vegetarian taco is black beans, cabbage, cheese, avocado salsa and pico de gallo on a soft corn tortilla (2 for $5). It is messy, but delicious enough to clean up the fallout with tortilla chips.

Side orders include chips and dips, including avocado salsa or roasted tomatillo. The truck also offers a rotating special item.

Mojo Tago is Downtown through Friday for lunch. Check Facebook or Twitter for the location of the truck.

Mojo Tago

Mojo Tago on Urbanspoon

08 November 2010

Joey Chang's

Joey Chang's is a Chinese/Thai restaurant in Hilliard. It shares ownership with Chi Thai, an upscale fusion bistro on the Northeast side, and Joey Chang's prepares many of the same dishes as its sibling in smaller portions with a somewhat less formal atmosphere.

The menu at Joey Chang's offers five vegetarian appetizers and nearly 10 vegetarian entrees. Veggie appetizers include tofu vegetable soup, hot sesame noodles, veggie spring rolls and vegetable dumplings.

The sesame noodles are warm pasta drowned in hot peanut sauce with thinly sliced cucumber. The appetizer is big enough to serve two but delicious enough to keep all to yourself.

The veggie dumplings are stuffed with spinach and served with a soy ginger sauce. They are a boiled dumpling, and offer a wide range of pleasant flavors and textures.

My favorite dish at Chi Thai is the spicy pot of gold, and it remains strong at Joey Chang's. The presentation in Hilliard is a little more restrained, but the concept is the same. Unbreaded fried tofu triangles are combined with scallions and other greens, floating in a classic spicy Szechuan black bean sauce. It is sweet, smoky and spicy.

Other vegetarian entrees include spicy eggplant, ma la string beans, and Thai curries with tofu. Thai dishes can be prepared without fish sauce upon request.

The interior at Joey Chang's is a combination of kitschy Asian decor contrasted by modern flair. There is a full bar with beer, wine and cocktails. Happy hour during the week runs from 4-7. Prices for food and drinks are reasonably inexpensive. Service is brisk, and Joey Chang's also does a decent take-out business.

Joey Chang's

Joey Chang's on Urbanspoon

06 November 2010

Rad Dog again goes brick-and-mortar

According to a post on Columbus Underground, Tawd Bell is hanging up his Rad Dog chef's hat and passing the baton to the fine folks at Pattycake vegan bakery. This will be the second winter that Rad Dog will be located indoors--last year, it set up residence in the Hal & Al's kitchen.

Plans are for the cart to be retired for the cold months. The best idea is probably to pick up a vegan sticky bun and ask the staff yourself about the coming changes.

05 November 2010

Venky's Spice House

Venky's Spice House is an Indian restaurant tucked in a drug store strip mall in Hilliard. Interestingly, the restaurant has a large Mediterranean market next door, making it a one-plaza stop for shoppers looking to buy pakoras and hummus.

The Spice House has tons of options for vegetarians. Some fare can be prepared vegan upon request.

There is a Southern Indian influence at Venky's Spice House. The cuisine is representative of the city of Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh. The area traces its roots to Persia, which is the root of its Islamic heritage. It also explains the Middle Eastern market/Indian restaurant juxtaposition in this plaza.

The lunch deal is exceptional. For $5.99 (or $6.99 if you order the top-shelf options), diners get a main course, a rice dish, an appetizer, a daal, a side curry dish, a dessert and a basket of naan.

The paneer tikka masala was prepared with a slow rolling heat that subsided slowly. Despite its nomenclature issues (tikka means chicken, but the dish is poultry-free) the entree is delicious. The strips of pepper and zucchini in the dish add layers of flavor to the dish. The soft cubes of paneer cheese soak up every bit of flavor from the sauce.

The curried cabbage was a delicious side. Tiny peppers made the dish slightly spicy, but ultimately, the dish was successful because it provided great textural and flavor contrast.

The green lentils (dal or daal translates as lentil dish) were also great. The side was earthy with subtle citrus notes. It was a fantastic dip along with leftover masala gravy for the naan.

The dish was also served with a saffron rice, vegetable pakoras and a mango yogurt pudding. It is served on a modernized thali that had partitions rather than separate bowls.

While the cuisine at Venky's is rooted in Southern Indian traditions, many of the choices on the menu are also somewhat Northern Indian in their origins. This probably is related to the city that inspires the food being slightly south of the middle of the country. It also makes the restaurant a winner for fans of varied Indian cuisines. Although the place doesn't have classic Southern offerings like dosas, the Persian cuisine influences and the thali serving dish firmly place Venky's Spice House in the Southern Indian tradition.

There are a number of non-traditional dishes at Venky's Spice House. Although there are pakoras and samosas, they also make dishes like the chili baby corn, stuffed breaded chili peppers and a roasted eggplant entree. When combined with Taj Palace, I am considering Hilliard Columbus' best Indian food suburban district now that Bayleaf has closed in the Polaris area.

Venky's Spice House

Spice House on Urbanspoon

02 November 2010


Zydeco is a Cajun/Creole restaurant that opened Monday in the old Brewery District BW3. As with most Bayou-based restaurants, vegetarian options are somewhat limited. However, considering that I live six blocks away, I work Downtown, and I'm always looking for more lunch options, I found myself drawn to Zydeco.

If the name of this place sounds somewhat familiar, it's because the family that ran Cafe Zydeco in the Riffe Center basement also runs Zydeco on High. The High Street location is still in its formative stages; check back in the next few weeks if you want to see the place running at full speed.

The menu at Zydeco features a variety of sandwiches, a couple of appetizers and side dishes. The vegetarian sandwich is called All Hat, No Cattle, and is a grilled portabella sandwich served on a soft, warm roll with red peppers, lettuce, tomato and red onion. It is served with house made chips topped judiciously with scallions and mayo.

Vegetarian side dishes include mac and cheese, garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potato and regular French fries. The mac and cheese was creamy and delicious.

Prices at Zydeco are inexpensive. For now, Zydeco is open for lunch. Plans are to be open for dinner at a later date.

Zydeco Cafe on High on Urbanspoon

29 October 2010

Tony's Italian Ristorante

Tony's is a classic Italian restaurant in the Brewery District. Since 1982, the place has been one of Columbus' most popular institutions serving food from the boot.

Like most Italian eateries, Tony's features a variety of choices for vegetarian diners. Most dishes are made with cheese, thereby limiting vegan dining options. Prices are reasonably inexpensive.

Vegetarian appetizers include bruschetta, a gorgonzola cheese- and olive-topped bread, garlic bread, marinated artichoke hearts, orange salad, herb mushrooms, and Caprese salad. For main courses, the choices are capellini pomodoro, spinach and cheese cannelloni, a veggie-heavy fettuccine Alfredo and eggplant parmesan.

Meals are served with freshly baked bread and herbed butter. The house salad is prepared with a few interesting ingredients, including chickpeas, that give the salad a bit of flair. The dressing, however, was mostly uninspired.

The bruschetta is piled high with tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and basil. The basil soaks deep into the toasted bread, giving the bruschetta deep green streaks.

The eggplant parmesan is excellent. Thin eggplant coins are breaded and fried, then served in marinara sauce and provolone. The crispy breading adds a great texture to the soft, savory vegetable, and the bright tomato sauce lends acidity to the dish.

Tony's has a full bar with a decent wine and beer list. While there are fairly limited by-the-glass wine options, the full wine list offers some great bottles that should pair nicely with dinner.

The decor in Tony's is a classic, white tablecloth throwback, befitting the menu. Service for my visit was even, if not a touch impersonal.

Tony's Italian Ristorante

Tony's Italian Ristorante on Urbanspoon

23 October 2010

Columbus Vegan Week

October 24-31 is Columbus Vegan Week (vegan weeks are both free of animal products and eight days long). Participating restaurants include Phat Wraps, Columbus Brewing Company, Knead and the Betty's family of restaurants, including Betty's, Tip Top, Surly Girl and Dirty Franks. Mercy for Animals is promoting the event, which should be a fun and delicious way to introduce people to great places in Columbus that offer vegan food.

-- Columbus Vegan Week information --

Sweet Pot Jamaican Cuisine

Sweet Pot is a Jamaican eatery tucked between the residential and industrial sections of Vassor Village. While the neighborhood looks more than a little rough around the edges, Sweet Pot provides a welcome (and meatless) respite from the surroundings.

Sweet Pot Jamaican Cuisine sits in a ramshackle hut at the corner of Frebis and Champion. There are a number of charcoal grills on the property, and the staff also cooks on a griddle and stove inside the store.

While the menu isn't completely vegetarian, it does offer a tofu platter and a mixed vegetable platter. Both are served with a heaping helping of red beans and rice. The dishes are prepared in small, medium and large sizes. Prices are reasonable with everything on the menu priced less than $10.

The vegetable platter was made with cabbage, corn, beans, onions, carrots and peppers. Each veggie serves a purpose, with cabbage providing a delightful crunch, carrots adding sweetness, peppers lending an herbal undertone, and corn and beans contrasting the texture of the rest of the dish. The beans and rice are mildly seasoned, and they finish with a subtle hint of coconut.

The staff at Sweet Pot is friendly and easily able to address vegetarian dining concerns. Despite the neighborhood, Sweet Pot is definitely worth exploring if you're in the area.

Sweet Pot

Sweet Pot Jamaican Cuisine on Urbanspoon

19 October 2010

Jason's Deli

Jason's is a fast-casual deli chain that started in Texas. There are currently two locations in Central Ohio in Dublin and Grandview. I visited the Grandview Yard store.

Jason's Deli specializes in New Orleans favorites like the po' boy and the muffaletta, although it also makes wraps, paninis and other sandwich types. There is a huge salad bar, and the kitchen prepares a wide variety of soups, salads and pasta dishes. The menu has extensive vegetarian options, and Jason's Deli offers a complete gluten-free menu as well.

The Grandview location is large, with extensive indoor and outdoor seating. Like Noodles & Company and Pei Wei, orders are placed at the counter and served at a table with a number clipped to it.

As an avid devotee of Gulf Coast cuisine, my order was decided before I walked in the door: the veggie muffaletta

The veggaletta is made on thick, crusty sesame seed-encrusted bread. Thick slices of portobello mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, red and yellow peppers and red onions are piled on the melted provolone and olive salad-laden bread. The mushrooms were cooked with a hint of red wine, and had great flavor. The sandwich was on the dry side, and the olive salad could have been served in a larger proportion to offset the moisture lost to the toasted bread. Another solid option might be to add guacamole to the sandwich, although that would get you shot in New Orleans.

The sandwich had good ingredients and a great appearance. It's composition needs to be tinkered with in order to be more successful.

The vegetarian French onion soup was rich and savory. Beef broth is replaced with a mushroom broth, and the soup crock is crowned with melted Swiss cheese. The soup is delightful, and it's a great example of how judicious substitution of ingredients when making vegetarian versions of non-vegetarian dishes can create fantastic results.

Other vegetarian items on the menu include three soups, the spinach veggie wrap, a portobello wrap, a build-your-own sandwich, a mushroom pasta dish and assorted sides like chips and salsa, steamed veggies and a hummus platter. A large percentage of salad bar items are labeled organic.

Prices at Jason's seem slightly high, although there is plenty of vegetarian variety on the menu. Overall, it's a safe bet for vegetarians and health-conscious diners, but it doesn't jump off the page.

Jason's Deli

Jason's Deli on Urbanspoon

18 October 2010

Luck Brothers Coffee House

Luck Brothers is an independent coffee roaster in Grandview. While the atmosphere is Spartan, the complexity of the coffee more than offsets the minimalistic interior.

The staff at Luck Brothers does a tremendous job of roasting the beans to get subtle layers of flavor in every drop. They are helpful in selecting coffees based upon a drinker's preferences.

I sampled a full city roast Ethiopian harrar coffee. It has an intoxicating aroma of chocolate, and the flavor profile is mildly tannic with hints of wine and purple fruit.

The most interesting coffee for sale at Luck Brothers this week is the Hacienda la Esmeralda Special Reserve. This is a single grower, single estate coffee from Panama that is sold at auction. I sampled this coffee for the first time in Chicago three years ago. It is an amazing cup of Joe. While the 10-ounce bags were sold out, there was still enough coffee left to offer $12 cups of coffee this past Saturday.

Food at Luck Brothers is fairly limited. There is an assortment of pastries, including Der Dutchman doughnuts. They also stock Snowville Creamery milk for discerning palates to temper their coffee.

Luck Brothers

Luck Brothers Coffee House on Urbanspoon

12 October 2010

Coyote Jane's menu sneak peak

The fine folks at Banana Bean are opening a Southwestern restaurant in Merion Village called Coyote Jane's. The scheduled opening date is October 19 (although that's not the case--check the Banana Bean twitter feed for updates). Here's a sneak peak at the menu.

Coyote Jane's Menu