4/19/2013 03:06:00 PM

First Bite: Vegan Cheese, Sliders and More at Crossroads

We love huge, juicy grilled steaks, pig in all its forms, just about any other kind of meat and, dear goodness, cheese of every ilk. So for us to hit a vegan restaurant and actually enjoy just about everything served is a total boon. Last night we found the modern vegan interpretations of some of our favorite dishes - even a cheese plate! - at Tal Ronnen's (sanctioned by Oprah as the "best vegan chef in America") new Crossroads restaurant very satisfying and often quite delicious. We don't mind eating dishes devoid of meat and dairy; we eat vegetables, grains and fruits all day long. But vegan food, which always gets a bad rap from devout carnivores, is too often made with wheat-based fake meat products that have horrible texture and leave a bad aftertaste in our mouths. Crossroads is definitely different, and not just because of the tasty cocktails. Here's our take:

The Food: We really enjoyed the flatbreads studded with lentils and its dipping sauces, little kale-stuffed phyllo rolls, stinging nettle ravioli in creamy tomato sauce, and beet-colored farro sliders topped with a mess of sauteed morel mushrooms. At times, especially with the breads, maybe the chefs could use a bit more salt, but that's our only real gripe. We refuse to call the hearts-of-palm cakes "crab cakes" because there isn't a fleck of crab to be found, but the texture is sort of similar. They're quite good, as long as you like that hearts-of-palm flavor. The "cheeses" on the cheese plate, all made with macadamia nuts or almonds, are definitely dairy-free, but the soft-ripened cheese (our server said it's the "first vegan Camembert") was surprisingly delicious. And dessert, particularly the mini chocolate bundt cake, was a highlight. Ultimate verdict: All vegan and we didn't hate it.

The Scene: The former Dolce/Phillipe Chow space is more comfortable, feels more everyday with its dark woods and cool light fixtures and has a nice bar if you just want to stop in for drinks. It was full, that we know, so either there are a lot more vegan diners in this town than we thought, or a lot of people are taking their meat-eating friends in for a hunk of lasagna and a glass of wine but keeping the no-meat-or-dairy part to themselves. It might even work.
The Drinks: How can you go wrong with fresh seasonal fruit and good spirits? Lacking our cold-pressed juice of the day, we opted for a blood orange-beet-tequila concoction, which was super-refreshing and made us feel healthy but not really buzzed. All that fruit and vegetable juice had us wondering where the booze was. The bartenders make a mean classic Sidecar, in case you were wondering.

The Details: Right now it's dinner-only, starting at 5 PM daily. Check it out at 8284 Melrose Ave.

1 comment :

  1. I had the good fortune of eating at Cross roads two weeks ago and found the food to be amazing.Vegan cuisine will never look or feel the same again!I also enjoyed the cheese plate.