I Told Myself I Wouldn’t Do This But….Vedge Restaurant In Philly Is…
Kristin | On 12, May 2012
…one of the best restaurant I’ve ever been to, my entire life.
There. I said it. Eep!
Okay, okay now don’t get upset there are obviously many, many other wonderful restaurants throughout the country. And keep in mind that I still have a long way to go on my trip, many more restaurants to visit. But every single person I meet while on the road asks me the same question – “What’s the best restaurant you’ve been to?” Honestly, I have many favorites … and this is by no means a popularity contest but I’m making this particular call mostly based on the creativity and quality of the food. There are a number of other restaurants that are the “best” in my book for various reasons (and I try to highlight these reasons when I write about them). But today, I focus on food.
To be honest with you, I went in with mixed expectations. Vedge had come HIGHLY recommended by every person I ran into, while in Philly. Some who hadn’t even been there yet, they had just heard great things about it. So, I was thinking that it could just all be hype, whatevs, whatevs, yeah, we’ll see. But Vedge most definitely lived up to the hype, for sure.
Vedge Restaurant – 100% vegan
1221 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
I knew Vedge was on the fancier side of things but I also know that I live in a van, wanted to explore Philly even though it was blazing hot for early spring, and didn’t have a dinner date. So, all those things brought me to Vedge at dinner time on St. Patrick’s Day, of all days, after a long, sweaty day of walking around Philly (touristy pics below). I was even wearing my “flesh is for zombies” t-shirt with jeans and Toms. Classy. And they still let me stay. How kind! :) … Or maybe they were expecting me… “There’s a girl here who looks to be twelve years old, she’s got sweaty pits and a backpack. Should I let her in?” … “Oh that sounds like the crazy girl living in a van. Yes, go ahead and seat her.” <– This didn’t actually happen (as far as I know). ;)
Vedge exudes upper class, for sure. So if you go use it as an excuse to get dressed up.
All of the servers had matching uniforms and the management staff were in suits and ties. When you first walk in you’ll notice the attention that was put into the decor of Vedge. Beautiful lighting and wooden accents throughout, with a stunning, yet simple color scheme. The bar area is gorgeous as well, and there are multiple rooms which makes it feel warm and welcoming despite the fanciness. Love it!
I started with a Pomegranate Sangria – featuring a beautiful blend of pomegranate juice and liquor, including a playful cinnamon stick, and pieces of whole apple and orange. Just lovely.
For the formal appetizer I ordered a sweet potato paté. It looks so simple. Just sitting there all cutesy and pleasant. What you can’t see in this picture is how much flavor is packed into that little round. It was light, decedent, soft, and marvelously complimented with chopped spicy pistachio nuts and a sweet-seed jam. When mixed together, smoothed onto a piece of bread, this tickle-your-tastebuds appetizer left a hint of ‘smokey’ after taste, suggestively hinting…no, demanding the desire for more. Amazing.
I felt like a super star when Vedge Co-Owner, Richard Landau approached my table with a complimentary sampler plate. w00t! w00t! Thanks to Chef Chris Martin of Marché Cuisine (vegan catering and private fine-dining) for letting the Vedge crew know I was going to be there.
SIDE NOTE: I met Chef Chris Martin in person while in Philly. We’re Twitter friends! :) Chris not only has her vegan catering business but she is also a pastry chef at Vedge. This reminds me of how strong the vegan community in Philly is. I’ll save more details on this for a later post but I will say that everyone seems to support each other so much. It’s great!
Rich … yeah, we’re friends now (not really)…(but it would be cool if we were)… brought out this smartly dressed sampler plate, along with compliments to Will Travel For Vegan Food. **swoon** — playing it cool, ‘oh yes, of course Rich thank you’.. nah, I didn’t really say that. In fact, I might have been speechless other than to crackle out a “thank you so much.” Needless to say I don’t recall the proper names for any of these delights. I was in shock and my brain shut down for a few seconds. But I’ll do my best to describe them. :)
The first item item on the sampler plate, pictured below, is super duper thinly sliced mushroom with a to-live-for tomato sauce. There was some red onion and capers in there as well. All I wrote down for this one was “OMG.” I guess that means I liked it. :)
In my notes I called this the “smoked something or other that has me on my knees.” Sorry friends, I don’t recall what when into this one and Vedge’s menu changes on the regular so I didn’t see it listed at this time. Just know that I apparently nearly passed out or something, while enjoying it.
Here we have a line of avocado, tofu, rosemary sauce, capers, white onions, with a root vegetable base (I think). Something sweet and.. yup, you guessed it, delicious as all get out! What I can’t get over is how well the various elements are combined. Seemingly separate, not-meant-to-be-together play beautifully together both visually and taste-ally. Marvelous!
You think this is just a couple of carrots hanging out with hummus-like stuff? Think again! Despite the horrible quality of this photo (there’s a better one below). I’ve never had a better carrot in my life. Seriously. OMFlippinG. And this white bean dip hinted of pickle, zest, and awesomeness.
No words. Just. Yeah.
Can you guess what this is? Go on. What do you think? Cabbage? Lettuce? Mixed greens? Nope…this my friends is shredded brussels sprouts and is one of the best things you’ll ever put in your mouth. Ha! For some reason I wrote down “more knee action.” I must’ve had some kind of knee spasm going on in response to flavor pops of the evening. I can only imagine…haha! These shaved sprouts were tender and tangy, and the sauce perfectly complimented the consistency and flavor of the sprouts. Wowzers, people. Wowzers.
This is Vedge’s seitan dish – lentils at the base with an orange sauce, and slightly spicy green onions atop the seitan. Fanflippingtastic! The soft lentil base hugged this tender, extremely meat-like seitan that was perfectly salted, embracing the tangy, slightly spicy orange sauce that left my taste buds clawing for another bite, and another, and another. My strategy here was to get a little bit of every part of this dish on each forkful.
This powerful combination of veggies left an impression like no other. I fell in love. I lost my words. I wanted more yet somehow felt satisfied at the same time. I was mesmerized by the quality of taste, the consistency of every dish, and the care that clearly went into prepping and plating the meals. Stunning. Delicious. Innovative. Perfect.
Oh I’m not done YET. You thought I’d walk away without dessert. Don’t be silly! ;)
Hands down the best cheesecake I’ve ever had. I know I’ve said this about other things before but… this time. Well, I mean it every time but I have an emotional response to this one. Haha.. yes, it’s that good! Hello, lemon cheesecake with a side of blood orange. The ‘cake was thick, creamy as all get out, and was just…so…cheesecakey! The graham cracker crust was out of this universe. And probably other universes too! Per my notes, “wow, wow, wow!!!”
I feel like I’ve done a disservice to this fine establishment by sharing with you poor quality pics. So I did some looking around on the InterWebs to find better ones for you. Enjoy!
And now I shall leave you with some more touristy pics of Philly. Between the few places I’ve written about, and the friendliness of this city/touristy stuff to see/do I hope you’ll make a trip to visit this city. It’s become one of my favorite places!!