Editor's note: Every week, we'll spotlight a culinary treat found around Dallas-Fort Worth — whether it's a new opening, a dish at a restaurant, or a grocery find.
Dish: Vegan bowl, $10
Location: Company Cafe, 2104 Greenville Ave., Dallas
Company Cafe was ahead of its time when it opened in 2011 with a focus on gluten-free and non-GMO foods. Serving breakfast and lunch only, the restaurant specializes in gluten-free versions of familiar dishes such as French toast, biscuits and gravy, and chicken-fried steak. It's a destination for the GF crowd, and is also revered for its assortment of gluten-free desserts such as carrot cake.
For chef Jeff Wells, the restaurant has served as a testing ground to gauge diner interest in new creations — the latest of which is a vegan bowl he introduced in March.
Your typical bowl-style melange, the Company Cafe vegan bowl has chickpeas, cubed potatoes, quinoa, onion, mushroom, carrot, and radish over a bed of spinach leaves. The whole thing is topped with scrambled tofu, with a half avocado and salsa on the side.
The dish was generously portioned and offered a welcome alternative to the rest of the bowls, such as a migas bowl and a Paleo bowl, which are all topped with grass-fed beef.
The spinach leaves were fresh and perky. The avocado was on the firm side, but in a good way, and it was cool to have it served in its entirety, a perfectly peeled half avocado that you could slice or smash in whatever way you wanted.
The chickpeas, randomly scattered, were judicious in quantity, enough to be a presence without there being too many chickpeas.
The potato-onion-mushroom mix had a homemade vibe, IE what you might end up with if you cooked it yourself at home. The potatoes were odd. Cut into small cubes, they had a moist texture and flavor that made them seem more like turnips.
Re: the tofu, Wells says he went to great lengths on sourcing. "Tofu has been a challenge because we're non-GMO and so much of tofu is GMO," he says.
Actually, most soybeans with GMO are fed to animals — 85 percent, according to FreeFromHarm.org. Pretty much all of the soy you see in grocery stores is GMO-free. If you're concerned about eating soy with GMO, you probably shouldn't eat animals.
The tofu was broken into large tender "curds" and tasted predominantly of turmeric, the most common spice used to approximate vegan "eggs" since it gives the tofu a yellow tint. It was similar to other scrambled tofus you'd find around town at places like Spiral Diner, Dream Cafe, Nature's Plate, and Seven Mile Cafe. But it's always good to have another option. More tofu for everyone.
Meanwhile, Company Cafe and company are staying busy on the GF front: They've launched a new online gluten-free bakery called LitefulFoods.com, allowing customers across the country to buy their beloved cakes, brownies, pancake mix, celiac-safe biscuits, and more.