Citrus-bright Veggie Grills have been sprouting around town—U Village, South Lake Union, downtown on Fourth to launch later this summer, and there’s one promised for Bellevue—but should you actually eat in one? Consult our handy guide! 

1. It’s vegan. The Santa Monica–based chain carefully avoids the v-word (corporate prefers the merrier descriptor “plant based”), so guests must somehow just know that VG-cheese is soy-and-oil-based “cheese” and that “fish” isn’t, uh…fish at all. (It’s an organic non-GMO soy, wheat, and pea protein with various spices and marinades.) 

2. It’s bright and clean and shiny. And, may I add, a sensational idea for a fast-food outfit. Employees are, to a person, well meaning and well nourished; tables are comfortable and clean. Lest all this sparkle lead you to expect snappy user interface, however: the line that greets you at the door moves glacially and, for us anyway, included no menu to ponder while we waited.   

3. Stick with stuff that didn’t come from a lab. Meaning: yam fries, yes (they’re crispy and terrific); salads, yes (corn salsa with quinoa and chopped romaine and cilantro and other vegetables in a ginger-papaya vinaigrette; marinated kale and red cabbage with quinoa and agave-roasted walnuts). Even these occasionally fall short—usually, as in the cabbage slaw, by exploring the far reaches of blandness—but at least your grandmother would recognize them.  

4. Avoid “foods.” Because that “burger” seriously tastes like school lunch, circa 1972. And the mac and cheese, made from quinoa pasta and VG-cheese sauce? Loathsome! 

5. Ignore no. 4 if you maintain strict dietary limitations.
Because if you avoid meat, gluten, cholesterol, trans fats, dairy, and/or refined sugars—Veggie Grill will launch you into orbit with joy.

 

Published: July 2013