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Friday, November 21, 2008

The Veggie Grill - Irvine Spectrum Grand Opening

81 Fortune Drive
(Across from Dave & Busters)
Irvine, CA 92618

Alternate OC Location:
4213 Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 92612

The Veggie grill at the Irvine Spectrum is having their grand opening to the public today. I was lucky enough to attend a pre-grand opening event the other night. The Veggie Grill serves 100% plant based food. They don't like to use the word "vegan" though, because they think people associate that word with bland, tasteless food. This is definitely not the case with Veggie Grill though. This is a place where even us hardcore carnivores can go and be happy.

I attended the pre-grand opening with V. We looked over the menu and decided we would start our meal out with the Chill Out Wings ($6.25). V decided to get the Bayou Chicken Sandwich ($8.95) and I opted for the Carne Asada sandwich ($8.95) with avocado ($1.50 extra). The sandwiches and burgers here come with a side of red cabbage slaw. If you're not in to slaw though, you can substitute Chili (free), Steamin' Kale ($1.50), Spring Mix Salad ($1.95), or "Sweetheart" Sweet Potato Fries ($2.25). V decided she would get hers with the Sweetheart fries. I'm not a big fan of sweet potato fries. I wish Veggie Grill served plain fries. I decided to just get the chili as my side.

V and I took our number and found a nice table on the large outdoor patio. We sat down and began to enjoy our beverages. The Veggie Grill does not serve regular sodas or beverages. All of the beverages are all natural as well. You can choose from Iced Tea, Fresh Lemonade, Fresh Strawberry-Raspberry Cooler or Natural Root Beer. I decided to get the natural root beer. It was very good.

After a few minutes our food arrived. The Chill Out Wings were 100% meatless "chicken" strips. They looked just like chicken strips, and surprisingly enough they tasted just like chicken strips. The flavor and the texture was all there. If I didn't know this was vegetarian, you would have a hard time convincing me this wasn't chicken. The chicken strips were really good and came with two dipping sauces. I really liked the lighter of the two sauces. It was kind of like a spicy ranch dressing.

My carne asada sandwich was made with grilled veggie "steak", southwestern vegan mayo, red onion, lettuce, tomato and avocado. It looked just like a lot of carne asada tortas that I have eaten before in my life. I took a bite and was amazed that it tasted better than a lot of carne asada tortas I have eaten before. The carne asada really tasted like steak and it had a nice spicy kick to it. This sandwich was very good. I will definitely come back and get this sandwich. The chili tasted just like a vegetarian chili. It wasn't bad, it was just chili.

V's Bayou Chicken sandwich was made with a grilled veggie "chicken" patty that was blackened with cajun spices. It was served with lettuce, onion, tomato, avocado and spicy vegan mayo. V thought that it tasted just like chicken. She said it had a very strong smoky, grilled flavor. She really enjoyed her sweet potato fries. I have a feeling V is going to be eating at this restaurant a lot.

For dessert they brought us out some chocolate pudding to try. I didn't take a picture, but it looks just like chocolate pudding. You all know what that looks like, right? It was amazing how good this pudding was considering that it had no dairy in it at all. It was creamy and delicious.

I know I've said it many times throughout this article, but I'm going to state it again. All the food here is 100% plant based. No meat, no dairy, just plants. It all tastes just like it has real meat and dairy in it though. It also tastes really good! Vegetarians finally have a place that they can take their carnivore friends to that they won't complain about. The service here is also fantastic. Everyone was friendly and very helpful. I definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for a good, casual meal.

The Veggie Grill (Fortune Drive) on Urbanspoon


colleeeen said...

thank you for the review, i appreciate it. i am looking forward to getting to eat there soon, as there are not that many vegan restaurant options out there.

Chubbypanda said...

Now we're talking. I love this place. Luckily for me, I live near the first location in Irvine and work near the second one in El Segundo. So happy to see they're doing well enough to open a third branch!

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