Bring on the tempeh

OM Foods brings an expanded menu of fresh, organic fare downtown

The slaw-chos (left) and kale Caesar salad with mahi mahi at OM Foods.

The slaw-chos (left) and kale Caesar salad with mahi mahi at OM Foods.

Photo by Meredith J. Cooper

OM Foods:
142 Broadway St.
Open Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.,

I honestly can’t believe I’m about to say this: I just had the most delicious veggie burger …

It took me a while to get there, though. As a meat lover, I have a hard time understanding meat substitutes. So, my first two visits to OM Foods (OM stands for “Organic Mama” and refers to owner Amanda Bosschart) reflected this attitude. Meaning, I ordered items that included the only meat on their menu: fish. I’d heard great things—raves, even—about OM’s fish tacos. I’m not sure my experience was quite rave-worthy (my portion of fish seemed rather small, about the size of my thumb), but it was very good. Plus, the fish (mahi mahi) is wild-caught, so you can feel good about eating it.

I opted for the traditional ($6), which comes with chipotle sauce, purple cabbage slaw, cilantro sauce, green onion and cilantro. Perhaps too much purple slaw for me—it was falling out the side, occupying much more space within the corn tortilla than the fish. The sauces added great flavor.

On my second visit, I invited my pescatarian friend Mikey to join me. He’s an OM regular, having tried almost everything on the menu at the small stand where the restaurant started out—in the parking lot of Safeway on Nord Avenue. He’d yet to check out the new, bigger operation downtown, which features an expanded menu of tacos, nachos, salads, acai bowls, burgers, dogs and wraps.

The new space is super comfortable—I’ll call it modern hippie chic. The colors are warm and inviting and everything from the wood floor emblazoned with OM’s logo to the countertops to the restrooms was decorated with care and attention to detail. Reggae on the stereo system set a decidedly chill mood.

Mikey was excited to try the new “slaw-chos”—nachos with slaw in addition to brown rice, pinto beans, salsa, avocado, cashew cheese and cilantro and chipotle sauces ($12). I opted for the kale Caesar salad with mahi mahi ($11.25) and a lemonade ($3.50, organic and fresh). By accident, we also were served a vegan sweet potato taco ($4.75, though we weren’t charged).

The slaw-chos were definitely the star of the meal. So many flavors, textures and colors made for a visually pleasant dish as well as a tasty one. A notable plus: The yellow corn chips remained crisp to the very last bite. My kale salad was, by contrast, a bit too much of one note: kale. Sure, there was the fish, purple slaw and the remarkably creamy vegan Caesar dressing, accented by “rawmesean.” But there was just too much kale for me, and the slaw offered color contrast but little in the way of texture to the dish. The surprise taco was surprisingly tasty and super filling.

I couldn’t justify writing about OM without going all in and trying one of their many vegan options. So, I returned to try the mushroom onion tempeh burger ($13). Mikey had attested to the tastiness of the tempeh—and he was right. (Tempeh, by the way, is deep-fried fermented soybeans.) Piled high with sauteed mushrooms and onions, lettuce, tomato, cashew cheese, “veganaise” and mustard, this sandwich was no joke.

My biggest, most unexpected observation: The tempeh “burger” didn’t taste like “fake meat” or like it was missing something. It was flavorful, had a good chew, and ultimately was very satisfying. I want to note, too, that the green salad I ordered alongside it was near perfection, with the shredded carrots and beets and pumpkin and sunflower seeds offering great crunch. Plus, like all the sauces seem to be, the dill dressing was good enough to eat by itself.