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Really good vegetarian restaurant?

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sasha1 Jan 18, 2013 03:12 PM

Is there a restaurant in LA that makes veggies the star, ala Dirt Candy in NYC or Carmelita in Seattle?

Not thinking of Chinese or Indian food, although I know they have lots of good veggie options.

Really more like a place where the chef has made it a point to give veggies celebrity status.

Thanks!

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  1. wienermobile RE: sasha1 Jan 18, 2013 03:15 PM

    Providence does a wonderful vegetarian tasting menu.
    http://www.providencela.com

    Scarpetta offers a great vegetarian menu offered at all times. Menu is at this link.
    http://www.montagebeverlyhills.com/pd...

    3 Replies
    1. re: wienermobile
      s
      sasha1 RE: wienermobile Jan 18, 2013 03:19 PM

      I can't find anything about it on their website. Is there a representative menu somewhere?

      1. re: sasha1
        wienermobile RE: sasha1 Jan 18, 2013 03:20 PM

        at Providence you must request in advance. Just call them first. It changes nightly.

        Scarpetta's vegetarian menu at at the link above in my post.

        1. re: wienermobile
          s
          sasha1 RE: wienermobile Jan 18, 2013 03:24 PM

          Oof - $24 for tomato/basil spaghetti? Even if it's handmade... And even if the owner is a judge on chopped...

    2. s
      sasha1 RE: sasha1 Jan 18, 2013 03:22 PM

      Just to follow up, I'd prefer a place that had these items on their regular menu, and you wouldn't have to do a tasting menu.

      I would love to do a tasting menu, but I'm trying to take care of a friend who is a veggie and also food risk-averse, i.e. she's scared of things that are outside her comfort zone. So a food exploration - veggie or not - is probably not her cup of tea.

      3 Replies
      1. re: sasha1
        wienermobile RE: sasha1 Jan 18, 2013 03:25 PM

        You can tell Providence in advance what she will eat and what she won't eat and they will build the meal around your needs. Very accommodating. Very delicious.

        1. re: wienermobile
          s
          sasha1 RE: wienermobile Jan 18, 2013 03:51 PM

          I would feel bad, frankly, about calling up Providence and saying - you have a terribly talented chef - would you mind toning it down and doing something kinda boring for my lame friend :)

          1. re: sasha1
            wienermobile RE: sasha1 Jan 18, 2013 03:53 PM

            This is a restaurant that is glad to do it. As I said they are very accommodating to your needs.

      2. wienermobile RE: sasha1 Jan 18, 2013 03:34 PM

        Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica has many great vegetarian options on their menu. I love their fried cauliflower.
        http://www.rusticcanyonwinebar.com/me...

        Same goes for Gjelina in Venice.
        http://www.gjelina.com

        13 Replies
        1. re: wienermobile
          cookie monster RE: wienermobile Jan 18, 2013 03:40 PM

          Second both of these. I'm not a vegetarian, but I often eat like one at Gjelina. Only caveat is they have a strict no changes/ omissions / substitutions policy, which might not work for your food risk adverse friend.

          1. re: cookie monster
            j
            josephnl RE: cookie monster Jan 19, 2013 11:53 AM

            Does Gjelina really have a "no omissions" policy? I can understand a "no substitution or addition" policy, but for the life of me can't understand not leaving off, for example, a bacon garnish (for someone who doesn't eat pork), etc. Of course I can accept a chef's not wanting to leave off an essential component of a dish, but an absolutist attitude strikes me as plain silly, sort of arrogant, and not very good business.

            1. re: josephnl
              wienermobile RE: josephnl Jan 19, 2013 12:00 PM

              From Gjelina's menu "changes & modifications politely declined."

              1. re: wienermobile
                j
                josephnl RE: wienermobile Jan 19, 2013 12:08 PM

                Do you think they would actually decline the omission of some reasonable/non-essential component if it were feasible to do so?

                1. re: josephnl
                  wienermobile RE: josephnl Jan 19, 2013 12:22 PM

                  Yes. They even did it to Gordon Ramsey.

              2. re: josephnl
                westsidegal RE: josephnl Jan 19, 2013 12:03 PM

                (this is a response to josephni's first post, not the second one)

                if you've ever actually worked in a busy restaurant kitchen, it would make perfect sense to you. kitchens such as theirs work like a collection of very fast coordinated assembly lines.
                the time it takes to individualize a dish throws off the entire line.

                add the fact that this has been their policy for YEARS and the restaurant still has lines coming out the door at all peak mealtime hours (as a matter of fact, they've even expanded during this time), and it will make even more than perfect sense.
                empirically, it can be shown, that whatever it is that they are doing is "good business."

                they may not appeal to everyone, but, truthfully, there are so many customers who want and will wait on line to get exactly what gjelina is delivering, that it doesn't matter.

                1. re: westsidegal
                  j
                  josephnl RE: westsidegal Jan 19, 2013 12:29 PM

                  There are so many, many excellent and very busy restaurants that will make minor omissions of the kind I am alluding to, that it's obviously not a major strain to do so. Sorry, but pleasing customers when reasonably feasible to do so is still good business. A great book on this has been written by one of NYC's most successful restauranteurs, Danny Meyer. His book "Setting the Table" should be required reading for everyone in the restaurant business.

                  1. re: josephnl
                    westsidegal RE: josephnl Jan 19, 2013 02:33 PM

                    if gjelina and father's office are examples of "bad" business, i'd just as soon skip the book.

                    if i were vetting an investment in a restaurant, i wouldn't necessarily look to Danny Meyer's advice as some sort of
                    religious guidance. It's "nice to know" stuff, but far from the be all and end all. i'm not saying Meyer hasn't had success using his approach, but it is far from the only route to success.

                    "reasonably feasible" is simply a judgement call made by the owner/manager of a restaurant based on a lot of restaurant-specific factors; it is not a call made by the customer. (as gordon ramsay discovered)

                    if you can run a LONG-STANDING, SUCCESSFUL, EXPANDING, operation without messing with the rhythm of your line, from an investor's/owner's point of view, by all means it makes sense for you to protect your line--the less disruption, the better.

                    1. re: westsidegal
                      ipsedixit RE: westsidegal Jan 19, 2013 05:28 PM

                      There are different business models w/r/t operating a restaurant.

                      I'm not sure there is one "right" way or one way this objectively "better" than any other.

                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        westsidegal RE: ipsedixit Jan 19, 2013 08:00 PM

                        <<"reasonably feasible" is simply a judgement call made by the owner/manager of a restaurant based on a lot of restaurant-specific factors>>

                        << it is far from the only route to success.>>

                        basically i am agreeing with you, ipse.

                        1. re: westsidegal
                          ipsedixit RE: westsidegal Jan 19, 2013 08:18 PM

                          And I don't think I was disagreeing with you ...

                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            westsidegal RE: ipsedixit Jan 19, 2013 08:35 PM

                            oh, good.

                2. re: josephnl
                  w
                  will47 RE: josephnl Jan 31, 2013 09:55 AM

                  They are doing an Ok business even with their current policy, so I think that it's their decision to make. I totally understand the reasoning behind these kinds of policies, but sometimes it can be a little too "oh, I'm such an artiste" on the part of the chef.

                  Honestly, if their food were better, I would mind their policy a bit less. But anyway, they will make omissions in certain circumstances (removing cheese from salads, I think they'll do). The waiter did manage to get an exception made for me once at brunch, for which I was thankful, since I was starving.

                  Just keep in mind that many of their vegetable dishes are not vegetarian, so depending on how strict your friend is, she may or may not find a lot of vegetarian options at Gjelina.

            2. d
              Dirtywextraolives RE: sasha1 Jan 18, 2013 03:38 PM

              Gjelina

              5 Replies
              1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                wienermobile RE: Dirtywextraolives Jan 18, 2013 03:39 PM

                and Fig in Santa Monica too. Love their Pastaless Lasagna with
                Bloomsdale Spinach, Sweet Potato, San Marzano Tomato, Mozzarella also their Squash Risotto with Carnaroli, Squash Blossoms, Chanterelles
                http://www.figsantamonica.com

                1. re: wienermobile
                  d
                  Dirtywextraolives RE: wienermobile Jan 18, 2013 03:42 PM

                  You're good, Wiener!

                  I also thought of Lemonade & Tender Greens, if the OP doesn't mind a more casual atmosphere, where you order and walk down the line as you drool over the chefs prepping everything right before your eyes.

                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                    wienermobile RE: Dirtywextraolives Jan 18, 2013 03:46 PM

                    in that case i'll add The Veggie Grill also with locations in Santa Monica, Farmer's Market 3rd and Fairfax, Hollywood at the Arclight Theater and El Segundo. They make a great vegetarian crab cake sandwich.
                    http://www.veggiegrill.com

                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                      s
                      sasha1 RE: Dirtywextraolives Jan 18, 2013 03:48 PM

                      I'll put these in my back pocket but I'm hoping for a little more upscale. Planning a dinner with 2 girlfriends who don't see each other that often. I'd like it to be special.

                    2. re: wienermobile
                      westsidegal RE: wienermobile Jan 19, 2013 02:47 PM

                      fwiw, my preferred vegetarian entree choice at Fig is their terrific take on curried vegetables.

                  2. wienermobile RE: sasha1 Jan 18, 2013 03:50 PM

                    Vegetarian Sushi at Shojin in Downtown LA. Japanese Vegan & Macrobiotic Dining.
                    http://www.theshojin.com

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: wienermobile
                      s
                      sasha1 RE: wienermobile Jan 18, 2013 04:23 PM

                      You have been so generous with your ideas - but to offer up veg macrobiotic sushi makes me think you don't have any food risk-averse friends!! Lucky.

                      1. re: sasha1
                        wienermobile RE: sasha1 Jan 18, 2013 04:45 PM

                        My son was a vegetarian so I know all the places he liked.
                        Pizzeria Mozza would also work well for you.
                        http://www.pizzeriamozza.com/la/home.cfm

                        1. re: wienermobile
                          westsidegal RE: wienermobile Jan 18, 2013 05:57 PM

                          gotta say, i've taken many non-vegetarian friends to Shojin, and they have all been pleased.
                          delicious food served prettily.
                          very nice atmosphere, too.
                          fwiw, imho, the food there is not "risky."

                          not sure if they've gotten their liquor license yet, if that matters to you

                          1. re: wienermobile
                            s
                            sasha1 RE: wienermobile Jan 18, 2013 06:52 PM

                            I love Mozza. That and Scarpetta may be the frontrunners because one of us is in Hollywood, one in Century City and one in downtown. So there's points for a central location.

                            Btw, I originally proposed Red Medicine and my lame friend proclaimed the menu too scary for her.

                      2. westsidegal RE: sasha1 Jan 18, 2013 05:53 PM

                        Cafe Gratitude

                        on rose street in venice.
                        definitely more upscale than the veggie grill, imho.

                        go early if you don't want to wait.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: westsidegal
                          i
                          ilysla RE: westsidegal Jan 19, 2013 09:12 AM

                          +1. I think Cafe Gratitude (in my one visit there) is also significantly tastier.

                          Despite it being vegan, though, I can't say that the vegetables are the "stars" of many of the dishes, since they also use things like vegan cheese to sort of approximate "regular" dishes (no mock meats, though). It's simply "just" very tasty, well-prepared food.

                          1. re: ilysla
                            westsidegal RE: ilysla Jan 19, 2013 09:20 AM

                            the brussels sprouts they served me the last time i was there were stars to me: well prepared and plenty of them.

                            for an unabashed vegetable-lover like myself, it is nice to be in a restaurant that doesn't think that 1/2 cup of vegetables is a serving.
                            the serving of brussels sprouts was over a cup and a half, maybe even 2 cups, which, to me, is more like it.

                            1. re: westsidegal
                              i
                              ilysla RE: westsidegal Jan 20, 2013 11:21 AM

                              Well, if you're going to talk about a dish that *solely* consists of vegetables.... ;)

                              1. re: ilysla
                                westsidegal RE: ilysla Jan 20, 2013 12:36 PM

                                what i'm trying to say is that they clearly have the capability and interest in making vegetables the star.

                                1. re: westsidegal
                                  l
                                  latindancer RE: westsidegal Jan 20, 2013 01:32 PM

                                  <vegetables the star>

                                  Reminds me when I used to drive miles to get to City Bakery to purchase, in a big container, their roasted brussel sprouts. Those and their amazing croissants. By the time I'd reach home they'd be gone...I couldn't eat just one, they were unbelievably good.

                        2. ipsedixit RE: sasha1 Jan 18, 2013 07:05 PM

                          Melisse
                          Patina
                          Hatfield's
                          The Royce (before Jan. 21 when they shutter)

                          1. m
                            maudies5 RE: sasha1 Jan 19, 2013 12:14 PM

                            Farmshop is very vegetarian-friendly.
                            www.farmshopla.com
                            Make a meal of the appetizers.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: maudies5
                              m
                              Miri1 RE: maudies5 Jan 19, 2013 05:39 PM

                              Real Food Daiky. Oe in Santa Monica and one in West Hollywood. One of my favorite restaurants. All vegan.

                            2. Servorg RE: sasha1 Jan 20, 2013 01:27 PM

                              You should give serious consideration to Inn of the 7th Ray in the middle of Topanga Canyon: http://www.innoftheseventhray.com/

                              Unique, serene and beautiful.

                              1. b
                                bulavinaka RE: sasha1 Jan 20, 2013 04:09 PM

                                Evan Kleiman had a segment on her "Good Food" radio broadcast a couple of weeks ago. She interviewed Los Angeles Magazine's Leslie Barger Suter for the mag's top five restaurants of 2013 (I'm guessing it was from data in 2012? :)).

                                The growing trend was toward restaurants offering dishes where produce was the centerpiece. The restaurant that took the crown was Cook's County on Beverly.

                                http://www.kcrw.com/etc/programs/gf/g...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: bulavinaka
                                  westsidegal RE: bulavinaka Jan 20, 2013 07:18 PM

                                  i'm still sitting shiva over the closing of Angeli Caffe.
                                  evan kleiman talking is nice.
                                  evan kleiman cooking was better.

                                2. s
                                  sasha1 RE: sasha1 Jan 30, 2013 11:59 AM

                                  Wanted to let you all know how grateful I am for all the recommendations. We still haven't had our girls night meal, because apparently juggling schedules presents too big a challenge for us. But when we do go somewhere, I will report back.

                                  1. r
                                    rickym13 RE: sasha1 Jan 30, 2013 12:46 PM

                                    melisse

                                    1. r
                                      Robert Thornton RE: sasha1 Jan 30, 2013 02:44 PM

                                      Definitely Gary Menes' pop-up Le Comptoir. His veggie and fruit plate is incredible. You can see his current menu here:

                                      http://www.lecomptoirla.com/menu.html

                                      1. raytamsgv RE: sasha1 Jan 30, 2013 03:18 PM

                                        What do you mean when you say "...the chef has made it a point to give veggies celebrity status"?

                                        1. m
                                          maudies5 RE: sasha1 Jan 30, 2013 03:50 PM

                                          Tavern offers a great many wonderful vegetarian dishes. My Veggie friends love going to Tavern.
                                          www.tavernla.com

                                          1. w
                                            will47 RE: sasha1 Jan 31, 2013 10:21 AM

                                            Seconding the Le Comptoir suggestion. Great food, and he's really doing a lot to focus things on vegetables. Really love n/naka as well (very accommodating and do great, flavorful, inventive vegetarian and vegan tasting menus), though it probably is not ideal in terms of OP's picky friend.

                                            But to answer your original question, I don't think there's any place in LA yet that really tries to make vegetables the star explicitly. I know Jeremy Fox had been working on some things, but most of them are not vegetarian (though did enjoy his week of vegetarian dinners at "Animal").

                                            1. b
                                              Bugg Superstar RE: sasha1 Jan 31, 2013 05:09 PM

                                              Would also recommend elf cafe if you are looking for a vegetarian-only option:
                                              http://elfcafe.com/menu

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