Friday, 22 January 2010 07:13

Chaya, Venice: fantastic vegan dish

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A while back I went to Chaya (Venice) and was blown away by the one vegan dish on their menu, so I returned tonight to have it again; it was just as great as I remembered.

The bread they serve is from La Brea bakery, but the waiter couldn't confirm if it was vegan or not (it looks like it is on the website). However, BEWARE: the olive tapenade has anchovies in it!

For a cocktail I had the Basil Gimlet because it was entirely organic. It contained vodka, basil, lime, and agave nectar. It was sweet, tart, and had just the right amount of liqueur.

The main course was the Grilled Organic Tempeh & Curried Coconut Lentils with tuscan kale, sweet potato puree, and grilled onion. This dish is outstanding. The tempeh is handmade at M Cafe, and they do it right because it is tender and sweet. The entire dish is sweet actually, and everything is perfectly cooked and seasoned. I have to say, this is one of the most memorable vegan entrees I've ever had and it is definitely worth a trip to a non-vegan restaurant. I didn't want to stop eating it, and I left very satisfied but not too full.

Taste: 10/10
Unique menu & flavors: absolutely, though limited vegan options
Organic: yes (at least most of it)
Local: not sure, but potentially
Healthy: yes (macrobiotic, mostly vegetables)
Customer service: good, high end (the waiter had a bit of a chip on his shoulder)
Atmosphere: upscale, well decorated, nice lighting = great for a date
Location: on Main Street, accessible via bus
Parking: I believe they have a garage, but street parking is fairly easy to find
Price: moderate/expensive ($12 for cocktail, $21 for entree)
Portion Sizes: medium/large (but you'll be able to finish it)

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