Fri May 3, 2013
Restaurant Review: Garden Grill Cafe
I am delighted that Chef Miguel Larcher, of the now closed vegan restaurant D’Sozo’, has found a new location and is back to cooking amazing, interesting vegan cuisine.
His new place, the Garden Grill Café, is located inside the cool Occidental building downtown. The restaurant is a little hard to find, but just walk in the front door and enter, and you will find yourself in a lovely room, with gorgeous high ceilings and a skylight.
Everything on the menu is completely vegan, which means that no animal products are used. Instead, a variety of soy products (like tofu and vegan cheese), mushrooms and other vegetables are used to create the umami flavor usually associated with meat. The meat substitutes he uses are texturally similar and full of protein, like the real thing, but healthier.
I went for a lunch date with a friend who has some food allergies, and the server was friendly and happy to help her. We both had sandwiches, mine on house-made focaccia and hers on gluten-free bread. I had the Mediterranean grilled Portobello sandwich, with a giant tender mushroom, scallion dressing, and basil oil. It was big and hearty and delicious.
My friend had the Caribbean sweet avocado sandwich, with soft, ripe avocado, crunchy cucumber, black olives, alfalfa sprouts, and cucumber dressing on gluten-free bread. I had a bite and it was really good, texturally interesting and full of flavor. All sandwiches are served with herbed, roasted potatoes, which are crispy, wonderful and addictive.
The Garden Grill Café serves other food as well, like pizzas, fun pastas and daily specials. They also serve a Sunday brunch buffet, with themes like Italian, Caribbean soul food, and South of the Border.
Their fresh squeezed juices and smoothies are delicious. Chef Larcher also teaches cooking classes, so check the website or Twitter for updates on those. I am so happy that he has opened again!