It’s a good bet most vegetarians and vegans don’t crave meatloaf, but few would turn up their noses to the robust substitute whipped up by House of Tricks Executive Chef Scott Umscheid. He devised the mixed-mushroom and black bean meatloaf ($22) after discovering that a vegan was coming to dinner and realizing the menu lacked an entrée to accommodate the request. “If I was a vegetarian, I would want something hearty like this,” Umscheid says.
The Original Chop Shop Co. has a simple philosophy: “We believe healthy people are happy people.” To that end, the restaurant specializes in fresh and nutritional food for customers on the go and serves up a handful of tasty vegetarian selections, including a grilled protein bowl with tofu ($7). Served over a choice of heirloom rice, sweet potato hash with bits of onion and kale, or quinoa ($1 extra), the protein bowl boasts four pieces of crispy seared tofu atop a mound of roasted broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onions, mushrooms, green onions and cilantro.
When Betty’s Nosh co-owners Phil Denaro and Justin Davis opened their Glendale eatery in 2011, they sought a novel idea to entice diners – “something that people hadn’t heard of before,” Davis says. Since Denaro is an avid fungi fan, the duo thought a mushroom bar might fill the bill.
At most Latin and Mexican restaurants, the guacamole is whipped up in the kitchen behind closed doors. But when you order guac ($12) at The Mission, the server crafts the creamy concoction tableside and lets you weigh in on the heat index – mild, medium or hot.
Healthy eating has become a higher priority for Aaron Chamberlin, owner of Phoenix Public Market Café and sister restaurant St. Francis, since he first opened shop. Leading a local food revolution will do that. So he created “Eat the Rainbow,” a salad/crudité plate ($8.75) that features steamed, roasted, marinated and raw vegetables on a bed of greens, served with three dipping sauces on the side. “The more colorful the vegetables you eat generally, the more nutritious they are,” he says. “We use whatever is in season.”
You can ask Eden's Grill owner Nahren Kawry what spices up the popular Mediterranean restaurant's veggie patty ($13.95), but she won't tell you. "I'm not allowed to say. They're Middle Eastern spices and it's my mom's recipe. She's the cook," Kawry says. Fine by us. You don't need to know the secret ingredients to swoon over these crunchy golden orbs.
For vegetarians, steakhouse menus can be problematic. But not at J&G Steakhouse at The Phoenician, which offers a stunning vegetable risotto that changes with the seasons. In the spring and early summer, chef de cuisine Jacques Qualin cooks up a tasty asparagus risotto ($10) with a twist, veering from traditional Arborio rice. “We wanted to include a little bit of an Asian touch, so we use Nishiki sushi rice,” Qualin says.