Eatery - Veggie Grill (CA)
81 Fortune Dr, Irvine, CA 92618
Pricing - $/$$ | Dining - Casual, To-Go | Cuisine - Vegetarian, American
The last time I reviewed Veggie Grill, I was messaged by the owner apologizing for my experience there. It was really to my surprise because I hadn't written a terrible review (3.5 out of 5 stars isn't bad now, is it?); I had just been slightly disappointed by some of my food. However, his care for good customer service granted me a chance to give Veggie Grill another go for which I am very glad. I had a great experience this time around and am definitely coming back for more. I do apologize to Kevin himself though because it took me so long to finally re-visit the place but I'm also not by Irvine Spectrum very often.
Anywho, I took a friend with me to gift ourselves with the two complimentary entrees. We decided that we wanted to try a lot on the menu though so opted to purchase extra (a LOT extra) food. Our stand alone sides were the Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes and the Sweetheart Fries. I fell in love with the mashed potatoes. I want to eat only them for lunch. They were fantastic, especially with the porcini mushroom gravy and hint of rosemary. Good gracious. As for the sweet potato fries, you really can't go wrong with those because they are delicious. The right amount of crisp and squishy, these were done quite well this time around.
My friend and I shared everything but we chose our own free entrees. Hers was the Grillin' Chickin', a savory flavorful treat. I loved the cilantro pesto used because it paired off with the avocado for a fresh taste. The side of Mac-n-Cheese was our least favorite of all the sides because it just didn't taste all too good in terms of pasta texture and cheesiness. However, it gave us time to pay attention to how the chipotle ranch sauce married the fresh sliced vegetables together with the grilled taste of the "chicken" oh so well. Delicious!
Our least favorite of the three entrees we had was the Urban Plate which consisted of carmelized tempeh topped with onion and portobello mushroom, both blackened. There was also steamed kale on the side and some tomato with avocado. I've learned my lesson here, and that is not to eat the foods blackened. It wasn't bad but I personally don't like that charred taste that is more prevalent in this restaurant's dishes than other restaurants I've been to. Aside from that, everything was fantastic. It wasn't an unpleasant experience, just a learning one!
Now we get to the beautiful, favorite entree (my choice) of the afternoon. By the way, we spent almost 2 hours trying to eat everything. The glorious Thai Chickin' salad had so many ingredients that we decided right away that it'd be foolish to try and recreate it without having all the ingredients on hand already. It had Romaine lettuce, cabbage, red cabbage, corn, salsa, green onion, mandarin oranges, sesame seeds, chickin', cilantro, wonton crisps, and lots of spectacular Thai dressing. The complexity of the mixture was really avoided by the unifying salad dressing that gave everything a spunky feeling - why wouldn't you spend a nice sunny day out chowing on this salad? You had some crunch from the greens, citrus from the oranges, cracking in your mouth from the crisps, and even juice from the corn. I want some more right now!
We finally finished the meal off with their decadent Chocolate Parfait Pudding consisting of chocolate pudding, crushed cookie, walnuts, chocolate sauce, and their own cream. Fabulous? Indeed. A heavy end to a light-ish meal? Absolutely. Would I have again? Without a doubt. Thank you for changing my mind Veggie Grill!
Photography by Minerva Thai.