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I Had a Great Crabcake today at Veggie Grill

maudies5 May 18, 2012 08:09 PM

Seriously, Veggie Grill is now preparing a delicious "crab cake." No faux crab, no real crab. Some genius in their company figured out how to replicate a delicious crab cake, bread it, fry it, serve it on a bun with excellent tartar sauce, lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion. I love crab cakes. In all honesty, this Vegan version could pass a blind tasting of "real v faux." $8.95 and includes one side.
This is one delicious sandwich. Big shout-out to the chef who created this amazing crab cake.

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  1. westsidegal RE: maudies5 May 19, 2012 09:21 PM

    you are the second person who's told me the exact same thing about this crab cake.
    gotta try it.

    1. v
      VeganIndianHousewife RE: maudies5 May 20, 2012 08:20 AM

      I am so glad to know! I had loved the buffalo wings, but I thought the new buffalo sandwich was kind of lack-luster, and it was getting me down about the new menu items. I will definitely try the "crab" cake. Thank you!

      1. w
        wyogal RE: maudies5 May 20, 2012 08:25 AM

        Just curious, why call it a crab cake? Why not call it what it really is? What IS it anyway?

        2 Replies
        1. re: wyogal
          VeganIndianHousewife RE: wyogal May 20, 2012 08:33 AM

          Soy protein and wheat gluten, primarily...not so exciting to call it a soy protein and wheat gluten cake...and if as Maudies5 says (and I do not doubt) it does taste like crab, then calling it a crab cake makes sense to me. Everything there is meatless, and most of their yumminess is made with soy protein and wheat gluten, you see.

          1. re: VeganIndianHousewife
            maudies5 RE: VeganIndianHousewife May 20, 2012 09:13 AM

            I believe that there is a seaweed component in that recipe to give it the seafood taste...and it definitely has a seafood taste.

        2. b
          bulavinaka RE: maudies5 May 20, 2012 09:39 AM

          Veggie Grill is great. We took my vegan sister from Santa Barbara here for a try and she couldn't believe how good it was (she still misses meat but is a conscientious objector) - it's now one of her favorite eateries. Veggie Grill is one of few places that we all can eat and feel the least amount of compromise from all sides - except for my daughter who is a serious carnivore and can smell out fake meat or cheese from a mile away. Her famous quote from when she was eight is, "I hate seeing animals getting hurt, BUT THEY TASTE... SO... GOOD!!" She's the real-life incarnation of Bruce the white pointer from, "Finding Nemo." We'll definitely give this crab cake a try when we go again. Thanks for the huge tip.

          1. choctastic RE: maudies5 May 20, 2012 11:09 AM

            I haven't had this yet. Thanks for the heads up!

            1. j
              JudiAU RE: maudies5 May 21, 2012 11:24 AM

              My kids really like Veggie Grill so we go there on occasion. I'd be happier about it if they posted nutrtion data on their website or would give it to me when I request it.

              6 Replies
              1. re: JudiAU
                maudies5 RE: JudiAU May 21, 2012 11:31 AM

                There is some limited nutritional data on their website. Here is an example:

                1. re: maudies5
                  JudiAU RE: maudies5 May 21, 2012 12:24 PM

                  Yeah. But it doesn't include the calorie-laden sauces or the frying etc. or the fact that everything seems to have sugar in it. I just got a response from my email request (2nd time- requested last year too) saying that they didn't have because it wasn't required... yet.

                  VG lovers are going to have a seriously nasty shock when they do include nutritional data.

                  1. re: JudiAU
                    westsidegal RE: JudiAU May 22, 2012 11:19 AM

                    depends on the reason the VG lovers are going there.
                    for those folks who are vegetarian primarily for ethical reasons, they may not care at all about the sugar/calories/fat.

                    there is a vegetarian place in Santa Cruz called Saturn Cafe, that does a bang up business and makes no attempt to limit sugar, fat, or frying (think all sorts of versions of nachos, veggie burgers with battered deep fried jalepeno slices as a topping, decadent ice cream sundaes , etc)

                    1. re: westsidegal
                      JudiAU RE: westsidegal May 22, 2012 02:35 PM

                      Good point. Although, everyone at our local store is always super buff and sort of glowing that it makes me wonder if it is mostly non-veg people who think vegan means healthy. But the two friends I have are the first to admit they don't think it is healthy, just positive.

                      1. re: JudiAU
                        maudies5 RE: JudiAU May 22, 2012 03:34 PM

                        I am not a Vegan and the only reason I go to Veggie Grill is because the food tastes really good, particularly, that crab cake.

                        1. re: maudies5
                          The Chowhound Team RE: maudies5 May 23, 2012 08:35 AM

                          We removed a lengthy 'why people are vegetarians and why they say they are vegetarians' sidetrack from this thread. It was remarkably friendly (thanks!) but it wasn't really offering any local tips or information, and we wanted to try to refocus the thread on the discussion of LA chow.

              2. westsidegal RE: maudies5 May 22, 2012 09:08 PM

                just tried the crabcake 30 minutes ago.
                terrific tip!

                9 Replies
                1. re: westsidegal
                  maudies5 RE: westsidegal May 22, 2012 09:37 PM

                  So glad you enjoyed it. I love your enthusiastic response. That was the same response I had.. Monday, is a great day as the soup special is an amazing tomato soup which goes beautifully with that crab cake sandwich. Really appreciate the feedback. Very kind of you.

                  1. re: maudies5
                    westsidegal RE: maudies5 May 22, 2012 09:43 PM

                    next time i'll try the soup with it.
                    today i also tried the portabello mushroom thing.
                    it was fine, but not nearly in the same league as the crab cake.

                    terrific find.

                    1. re: westsidegal
                      kevin RE: westsidegal May 24, 2012 04:00 PM

                      so it's tasty, the crab cake item i mean, but very un-healthy ???


                      1. re: kevin
                        westsidegal RE: kevin May 24, 2012 08:17 PM

                        don't have any idea about it's healthfulness one way or the other.

                    2. re: maudies5
                      Clyde RE: maudies5 May 24, 2012 02:32 PM

                      i've been to the veggie grill twice and both times had very disappointing salads. it was a huge bummer. I swore i'd never return. but this crab cake is intriguing me. Is it gluten free? i can't eat fake meat stuff that isn't gluten free, while i can have breads and pastries and stuff like every few days, it hits me hard with the fake meat stuff.

                      1. re: Clyde
                        bulavinaka RE: Clyde May 24, 2012 03:02 PM

                        I went through the nutritional info on their website and found nothing on the crab cake. Wheat gluten is indicated in most of their listed proteins.


                        You can contact them via email:


                        1. re: Clyde
                          Ciao Bob RE: Clyde May 24, 2012 03:51 PM

                          It is NOT gluten free

                          1. re: Ciao Bob
                            Clyde RE: Ciao Bob May 24, 2012 04:12 PM

                            well, guess i'll keep to my original plan and not go there anymore. sigh.

                          2. re: Clyde
                            westsidegal RE: Clyde May 24, 2012 09:04 PM

                            fwiw, for salads, if you are near Marina del Rey, you might give 26 beach a try.
                            imho, their entree salads and burgers are better than their other entree items. also, if you get one of their burgers, get the fries with it because their side salads are not nearly as good as their entree salads.)

                      2. Ciao Bob RE: maudies5 May 24, 2012 12:38 PM

                        I LOVED IT!
                        Thanks, maudies5. Fantastic.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: Ciao Bob
                          kevin RE: Ciao Bob May 24, 2012 04:01 PM

                          Wow, I can't believe all the hounds are getting behind this place it seems, especially for a commercial joint.

                          Maybe I'll need to check it out.

                          1. re: kevin
                            maudies5 RE: kevin May 24, 2012 07:44 PM

                            Of course you should check this out. We are all talking about an incredible crab cake sandwich which contains no crab and , yet,tastes like crab. I have no idea how "healthy" this sandwich is. I am certain that the crab cake sandwich or my 2nd favorite, which is the"VBurger" has some redeeming nutritional value. Thanks to all for the positive feedback.

                            1. re: maudies5
                              Ciao Bob RE: maudies5 May 25, 2012 10:57 AM

                              I don't think it is very healthy at all...a big hunk of deep fried veggie matter with a glob of mayo-based tartar sauce probably has as much fat as many burgers...just very tasty.

                              I like the Veggie Grill's Kale Salad when I am being healthy. Almost everything else I have had there has been awful and not very healthy at all. The mac and "cheese" grossed out my nieces who are of an age that finds mac and cheese in any form a treasure of epic proportions.

                              1. re: Ciao Bob
                                westsidegal RE: Ciao Bob May 25, 2012 03:21 PM

                                Ciao Bob:
                                for a hunk of deep fried veggie matter that DOESN'T taste good, get the veggie burger at Truxton's
                                for a hunk of deep fried veggie matter that TASTES GOOD, i'd recommend the crab cake at veggie grill.

                            2. re: kevin
                              westsidegal RE: kevin May 24, 2012 09:05 PM

                              i'd interpret this more as, "all the hounds are getting behind THIS DISH"
                              at least, that's MY position.
                              normally i won't get in my car and drive for anybody's veggie burger, even veggie grill's veggie burger, but i WILL get in my car and drive for this crab cake. (fwiw, i think that the dish is improved by removing the pickle slice they put on top of it).

                              1. re: westsidegal
                                maudies5 RE: westsidegal May 24, 2012 09:27 PM

                                I love that pickle slice and the little extra dollop of tartare sauce on top of the crab cake. Agree with Westidegal, that this thread is al about one dish; the amazing "crab cake."

                                1. re: westsidegal
                                  maudies5 RE: westsidegal May 27, 2012 08:47 PM

                                  I convinced my husband to visit Veggie Grill for the "Crabcake." He loved it. In fact he said that it was better than some "real" ones he had. Also loved the tartare sauce.

                                  1. re: maudies5
                                    choctastic RE: maudies5 Jun 12, 2012 07:07 PM

                                    I must say, I concur. So nice to have something vegan that tastes as good or better than the original imho.

                                    I do wish they had given me more tartar sauce (I could bathe in tartar sauce), but small quibble. Next time, maybe I'll ask for some extra on the side.

                                    This is a fake crab cake I would feed my meat-eating friends. Definitely. If they want healthy, tell them to get the damn thing on a bed of kale, with quinoa on the side.

                                  2. re: westsidegal
                                    raizans RE: westsidegal Jun 12, 2012 10:31 PM

                                    i went to eat this sandwich last week, and i agree that it's better without the pickles; they're overpowering. hats off to the food scientist(s) who created this thing. it's surprisingly good!

                                    but i still despise environmentally destructive soybean farming.

                                2. re: Ciao Bob
                                  maudies5 RE: Ciao Bob May 24, 2012 07:45 PM

                                  Ahh, a true compliment. Many thanks.

                                3. b
                                  bulavinaka RE: maudies5 Jun 12, 2012 10:43 PM

                                  I might be a lone dissenter. I had the crab cake at the El Segundo Veggie Grill and was not impressed. The flavor nor texture communicated crab cake to me. It may have been a preparation issue because the outside seemed over-fried/fried too hot but not long enough to me. Nibbling at the crispy exterior, I got acrid and slightly burnt for flavors. Biting solely into the crab cake, the texture/mouthfeel was sort of doughy. The crab flavor was so subtle that I could have mistaken this for some vague seafood wannabe. Eating this as a sandwich, it reminded me of having a sandwich made of bread with a patty of doughy bready something that needed more flavor.

                                  13 Replies
                                  1. re: bulavinaka
                                    ilysla RE: bulavinaka Jun 13, 2012 12:09 AM

                                    Perhaps maudie5 ate at another branch (although I don't know if there's a lot of inter-branch variability)? I had their chopped salad a few weeks ago at the SM location and thought it was mildly bland but still relatively tasty overall and fairly priced. Then had their cheese VG burger at the Irvine Spectrum branch this past weekend (which was actually pretty good, although I would've preferred a "heartier" patty). Can't remember what my partner had (do they make a Santa Fe burger?), but it was also good. The side of chili was a little too simple tasting, but I enjoyed their sweet potato fries (which my partner found kind of soggy).

                                    Will have to try the crab cakes next, w/ the (mostly) positive feedback in this thread.

                                    There's one vegan restaurant in Westwood (owned by a Korean family, I think?). They had a veggie burger that was *not* advertised as a crab cake but had a texture that was highly reminiscent of (rea) crab cakes. However, many crab cakes I've had were lacking in strong crab flavor, so perhaps I have low expectations? Still, I remember being quite (pleasantly) surprised. The name of the cafe eludes me right now, though....

                                    1. re: ilysla
                                      will47 RE: ilysla Jun 13, 2012 11:59 AM

                                      I know the place you're talking about (I think it's "Nature's Way"), but it's not vegan -- in fact, they don't have a lot of vegan options. I think it is all vegetarian, though.

                                      1. re: will47
                                        ilysla RE: will47 Jun 16, 2012 09:29 AM

                                        Yes, I think that's it! (it's on a street running parallel to WIlshire, maybe Lindbrook?). Thanks for the clarification.

                                    2. re: bulavinaka
                                      Servorg RE: bulavinaka Jun 13, 2012 06:29 AM

                                      My favorite crab cake is at Morton's in B. Hills. The reason I like it is it's very, very lightly fried and is practically all lump crab with just enough binder to keep it from falling apart. I haven't tried the one at Veggie Grill (and am very unlikely to do so since neither my wife or I are V's) but just the description of being "over-fried" is a complete non-starter for me.

                                      1. re: Servorg
                                        maudies5 RE: Servorg Jun 13, 2012 08:14 AM

                                        I go to the Veggie Grill in Santa Monica. I have never found that crab cake to be over fried. One doesn't have to be a Vegan to enjoy that dish. I am definitely an omnivore.

                                        1. re: maudies5
                                          Servorg RE: maudies5 Jun 13, 2012 08:22 AM

                                          I'm not sure which Veggie Grill location this blog post/photos http://veganvagrant.com/news/2012/3/2... are from? But if you scroll down to the crab cake photo is this what your "crab cake" looked like? Because for me, this is over fried (which is one of the major problems at most restaurants as far as crab cakes are concerned...whether they are made from real crab or not).

                                          1. re: Servorg
                                            maudies5 RE: Servorg Jun 13, 2012 08:34 AM

                                            I suggest you actually try it. The photo makes the crab cake look a bit different than the item delivered to my table in Santa Monica.

                                            1. re: Servorg
                                              kevin RE: Servorg Jun 13, 2012 11:10 AM

                                              I'm with you on that I like it barely fried, not a heavy fried breading as if the darn thing is an onion ring.

                                              1. re: Servorg
                                                Ciao Bob RE: Servorg Jun 15, 2012 02:12 PM

                                                Yes, the 2 that I've had (Wilshire and 22nd in Santa Monica) looked just like that -- except with an f-load more tarter sauce (too much, IMHO). I can't say over fried since I liked it quite a bit - but heavily fried, for sure.

                                                1. re: Ciao Bob
                                                  kevin RE: Ciao Bob Jun 15, 2012 04:20 PM

                                                  If it's the same in El Segundo, I may try it there.

                                              2. re: maudies5
                                                latindancer RE: maudies5 Jun 13, 2012 08:37 AM

                                                "one doesn't have to be a Vegan to enjoy that dish. I am definitely an omnivore."

                                                We're all omnivores, regardless of what we eat/don't eat.
                                                Many people, including me, wouldn't dine at Veggie Grill because of the plant based protein....it's soy. I'd love to try it just to see what all the fuss is about but for many of us it isn't an option.

                                              3. re: Servorg
                                                choctastic RE: Servorg Jun 18, 2012 12:20 AM

                                                If you like that version, you're probably not going to like the Veggie Grill version, unless you also like crunchy fried foods. The one I had was not over-fried, but I went to one of the VGs in Irvine.

                                                I do miss lump crab. I don't miss the rashes and other persistent problems though, so I'll stick with the vegan version.

                                              4. re: bulavinaka
                                                Capybara RE: bulavinaka Jun 13, 2012 10:30 AM

                                                Same experience at the same location, Bulavinaka. I might have liked mine in the eating a tad more than you did, but that acrid crust left an aftertaste that was unfortunately tenacious.

                                              5. sarahbeths RE: maudies5 Jun 15, 2012 04:13 PM


                                                1. w
                                                  will47 RE: maudies5 Jun 26, 2012 10:19 PM

                                                  Had one today at the Santa Monica location, and thought it was pretty good. Haven't had a real crab cake ever (veg for a long time plus lifelong shellfish allergy), but I thought the faux version was pretty tasty.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: will47
                                                    ipsedixit RE: will47 Jun 27, 2012 07:33 AM


                                                    Having never had a crab cake, then your critique would only mean that this item was tasty, not that it was a tasty crab cake, right?

                                                    1. re: will47
                                                      vegetablelasagna RE: will47 Aug 29, 2012 04:46 PM

                                                      I developed a shellfish allergy around 10 years ago in my early 20's, and the last shellfish dish I think I ever ate (which sent me to the hospital unfortunately) was a very yummy crabcake sandwich. I never ate a ton of shellfish but always enjoyed it, at least enough to miss it. Since then I even avoid surimi and have to ask about types of fish sauce (anchovy or shrimp, or oyster sauce) and worry about cross contamination and all that other annoying crap. It's better than having a milk or cheese or nut/peanut or chocolate or gluten or soy allergy, but the slightest bummer nonetheless.

                                                      Cut to earlier today, when I try the veggie grill crabcake sandwich (I had it as a wrap) at the behest of a vegetarian friend and in complete ignorance of this thread. To my very pleasant surprise, it was awesome, and tasted/felt remarkably close to what I can recall a real (albeit mild) crabcake did, to the point that I almost got nervous and had to ask if there were any animal products in it (there aren't.) Granted it's been 10 years but it definitely lived up to my memories, as opposed to certain other analogues which sometimes bear little resemblance to chicken or whatever. Anyway, that and the cauliflower mash with gravy are the reasons I'll be going back (wasn't the biggest fan of the chocolate pudding -- too sweet, texture was weird -- and found the mac & cheese to taste/feel real but the way a mediocre version of real mac & cheese would.)

                                                    2. k
                                                      kevin RE: maudies5 Aug 31, 2012 05:26 PM

                                                      is there any specific location to ger this at ? or will all of them do, such as the el segundo one ?

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: kevin
                                                        westsidegal RE: kevin Aug 31, 2012 05:41 PM

                                                        all the times that i've had this, i've had it at the el segundo location.

                                                        1. re: westsidegal
                                                          maudies5 RE: westsidegal Aug 31, 2012 07:58 PM

                                                          I had it last week in Torrance. Just fine. It is the mall on PCH and Crenshaw. Really, a lovely venue with nice outdoor seating and a very mellow ambiance.

                                                          1. re: maudies5
                                                            kevin RE: maudies5 Sep 1, 2012 09:30 PM

                                                            ok, will hit up either torrance or el segundo, prolly el segundo, but the outdoor seating does sound good.

                                                            1. re: kevin
                                                              ilysla RE: kevin Sep 2, 2012 10:02 AM

                                                              Had it at the Santa Monica one once; it was fine. There's also a moderate number of tables on the outdoor patio out front.

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