A giant step for vegankind takes place with V-Eats Modern Vegan restaurant, opening in the West Dallas restaurant incubator Trinity Groves.
V-Eats goes into the space formerly occupied by Sugar Skull Cafe, and comes from Troy Gardener, previously of Samson's Hot Dogs. Gardner witnessed first-hand Dallas' growing market for vegan fare at Samson's when he introduced a vegan hot dog, then hosted a series of vegan three-course dinners.
Vegan food was pegged as a global trend for 2016, and Dallas-Fort Worth is right in step, from the arrival of Amsterdam Falafelshop, the veg-friendly fast-casual restaurant from Washington, D.C., to the expansion of Cinnaholic, the gourmet/vegan cinnamon roll concept that was featured on Shark Tank.
A cart serving vegan ballpark snacks was launched at Globe Life Park in Arlington. El Palote Panadería, a Mexican bakery in Pleasant Grove, began serving the best vegan tacos in Dallas. And DFW's iconic vegan restaurant, Spiral Diner, is opening a third branch in Denton.
V-Eats has a mild upscale vibe, with a menu that combines steakhouse-style dishes with pizza, pasta, salads, and catchy starters such as fried pickles and Frito pie. Gardener is joined in the kitchen by John Mercer, the former Whole Foods chef who hosted frequent vegan events, and raw vegan chef Evita Tezeno.
There's beer and wine, a full bar, and one of the best patios in Trinity Groves. The space feels clean and modern, with eye-catching green stools.
Vegan restaurants generally fall into two categories: those that do vegan versions of meat, as V-Eats does, and those that skip faux meat entirely. V-Eats has a "steak" made from seitan, thick and juicy, with mushrooms and brown gravy, mashed potatoes, and broccolini. Penne comes with house-made vegan sausage, nicely crumbly, and shiitake mushrooms in a spicy tomato sauce with pesto. A pizza is topped with sausage and chunks of smoked artichoke.
The kitchen is using novel techniques like dehydration to execute dishes such as sushi, a persuasive knock-off in which tomato stands in for raw fish. They're also making aged cheeses. There's a burger and a "BVQ" brisket sandwich, and non-meat items such as lasagna and a "beggar's purse," with spinach and potato in a crisp phyllo dough shell.
Prices are moderate; the most expensive entéees top out at $15. No firm opening date has been announced, but the target is mid-October.