Vegetarian in Philly Cheesesteak land: Vedge.

This restaurant has received rave reviews and even though I’m nowhere near a vegetarian I just had to try it out. I was not disappointed. It was a snowy night in Philly and I didn’t get into town until quite late but the space is warm and inviting and the service, impeccable.

I was intrigued by several of the menu items and started with a Mambo Sun….a pisco based cocktail of maraschino, lemongrass and grapefruit…as I mulled over the choices for dinner.

From the vedge bar I started with the stuffed avocado……outstanding….avocado topped with pickled cauliflower and fried (puffed) rice and a dash of black salt. It’s the kind of thing meant to be shared but you won’t want to do that! Followed with a selection from the grill….ssamjang (spiced it up a bit) glazed tofu. It had the appearance of grilled salmon and was excellent as well….best tofu I’ve had. A side of brussel sprouts with smoked mustard finished the main course. The wine was a light and tart anjou rouge from the Loire.

Of course I had to have dessert and this also did not disappoint: although I’m not a big lemon fan the Meyer lemon cheesecake sounded interesting. It was accompanied with a side of tangerine ice cream with a dusting of chocolate bergamot “powder”. Had a nice light and not too sweet albana passito to finish the night.

On a more recent visit, and another dinner for 20, we had the chef’s tasting menu which consisted of 4 courses and, once again, it did not disappoint. Started with a light spring vegetable salad which was well seasoned with the chive vinaigrette and was rounded out by asparagus and fresh English peas. Next up was the rutabaga “fondue” which was the next best, of the options offered. The fresh pretzel bread with its saltiness combined with the slightly sweet “fondue” was heavenly!

We then progressed to the wood roasted carrots which were consummated by the carrot mustard…a bit tart but a perfect add to the sweet dish. Last of the small plates was the grilled maitake mushrooms with dashi rice cakes and sea beans plated on ssamjang….best dish of the night. How to describe the grilled mushrooms….other that unbelievable? The flavors were woodesy from the grilling and at the same time sweet. I’ve never had mushrooms like this and the flavors were other worldly. The rice cakes added a bit of crunchy substance to the dish and the ssamjang completed it with a bit of subtle spiciness….simply wonderful.

We ended the night with one of their signature dishes, the pink peppercorn pavlova. This dish deserves a bit of explanation. Vega pavlova?….impossible you say…nope. The “meringue” is made of whipped garbanzo bean water and the “cream” from coconut milk….outstanding. How many more times can I use the word outstanding? When it come to this place….the superlatives are unlimited.

This has to be one of the best vegetarian restaurants in the US.

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