Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sage Organic Vegan Bistro: Echo Park

Several weeks ago we met Andrew and Lauren 
at Sage Organic Vegan Bistro located at 1700 West Sunset Blvd, Echo Park (Los Angeles), CA 90026 (213-989-1718). This was my first time at a vegan restaurant and just a mile or two from Flore Vegan Cuisine in Silver Lake, also on Sunset Blvd., which I did my last post on, but ate at later.  Andrew and Lauren eat a largely vegetarian diet, something that has become more intriguing to me as I get older and concerned about my ongoing health. Andrew works nearby and eats from the menu virtually every day. So he has had everything on the lunch menu. This was a very encouraging start to seeing that vegan food can actually be delicious. Andrew ended up having to work late, so Judy and I arrived first and ordered several appetizers. First we got the Sample Plate, which was a selection of their sauces, "cheeses," and spreads with a baguette, cucumber and cherry tomatoes.  
I'm not sure what all of the sauces were, but they were excellent. The one in the far back of the plate was guacamole and I believe several were variations of hummus, including a red pepper hummus. One was the creamy horseradish sauce with a nice horseradish taste to it and I believe another was a nacho cheese substitute. Second, we got the Buffalo Croquettes, which consisted of three falafel tossed in buffalo sauce served on top of sage polenta, with crispy onions, arugula and creamy horseradish sauce. 
The outside of the falafel was harder and different than any other falafel I've had, but it was excellent, quite a bit of crunch, and taste. 
After wading through the appetizers, I was getting pretty full. Judy, Andrew and I each got juices. I don't remember what all they were. 
Andrew's, the orange one, was especially good, consisting in part of carrot and beet juice and was quite sweet. Judy's had kale, apple and some other ingredients, and had a grassy taste. Mine, the pink one, was lemon and strawberry, with agave sweetener. It was a little weak, I'd have liked it stronger. For an entree, Judy got the Potato Broccoli Pierogies, seared with soy ginger sauce and served over lemon kale. 
This is their best selling entree and was very good. 
Andrew, who knew what was best, ordered the Bistro Po'boy sandwich, which consisted of breaded seitan, tomatoes, deep fried cabbage, homemade dill pickles and lettuce on grilled olive rosemary bread with caramelized onion barbecue sauce. 
This was as good as any sandwich I've ever eaten. It had a nice chewy consistency, the flavors were varied and strong, and it was juicy. It must have been packed with oil because it just tasted too good to be good for you. Seitan is a product made from wheat gluten, which is the main protein in wheat. Flour dough is washed with water until the starch dissolves, leaving an insoluble elastic mass. It is an alternative to soybean based meat substitutes and has a chewy texture that resembles meat. Seitan was originally developed in Japan in 1962 and was first imported to the U.S. in 1969. Lauren got the Soul Bowl, which contained roasted sweet potato, black beans, quinoa, okra, baby corn, sauteed kale, garlic polenta, horseradish and deep fried mac and cheese with pickled jalapeno cabbage. 
Other than a little taste of the mac and cheese, which was okay, I didn't have any of Lauren's food, but the proprietor said it was one of their most popular dishes. I got the Chipotle Bowl which consisted of quinoa, grape tomatoes, chipotle pepper, grilled onions, black beans, sauteed kale, avocado, baby corn, pico de gallo, sunflower sprouts, battered, deep fried jalapeno and an organic corn tortilla, with a side of nacho cheese. 
I loved the fried jalapeno, the nacho cheese added a nice bite to it and it was a good mix. 
It was not as good as Andrew's or Judy's dishes, but was good. Finally, I got a side of grilled vegetables which was very good, including broccoli, carrot, squash and a type of beet I've never eaten before. 
The rest of our group shared some ice cream at the end and I had a few tastes and was not impressed. I don't recall exactly what they were, but one was a cacao which was quite bitter, along with cinnamon, and I'm not a big dark chocolate fan. It was a very nice meal with many, many options. I look forward to going back again and trying many more of their dishes. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for taking us out! We had a great time!