Veg out

Great veggie grub at local restaurants you might not expect to be vegetarian friendly

Writer Anna Hart chooses from vegetarian options on the menu at Miguel’s in Reno

Writer Anna Hart chooses from vegetarian options on the menu at Miguel’s in Reno


If you’re a vegetarian, you’ve been there: Everyone wants to go out to eat and they take you to a place where your options are between a bowl of lettuce, a side of fries, or eating beforehand because even the salads are covered in bacon and apparently entrees without meat don’t exist. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Here are some unexpected restaurants with some great vegetarian choices.


1415 S. Virginia St., 322-2722www.miguelsmexicanrestaurantr

Miguel’s has been a local favorite and landmark for ages, opening in 1959. It’s a family business known for authentic Mexican dishes. I ordered the cheese enchilada and chile relleno lunch special ($9.50), and I wasn’t disappointed. There was a sinful amount of cheese and it was a glorious thing. The enchilada was pretty mild, and the Ortega pepper was savory. It also came with a side of rice and beans that really tied together the meal. Miguel’s is great because they have a few enchiladas, appetizers and even a vegetarian burrito that you can order without having to ask for changes to make it vegetarian.

BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse

13999 S. Virginia St.,

Since going vegetarian, BJ’s has been one of my favorite restaurants. It has a ton of vegetarian options, and it’s a chain, with locations nationwide that I’m often able to find when I travel. It has a diverse menu, with plenty of meatless choices. The avocado eggrolls ($10.50) are a great way to start off a meal. The creamy, mild taste of the avocado really balances the bolder flavors of the spices and chipotle. BJ’s also has spinach stuffed mushrooms ($5.25) that are perfect for no-guilt snacking. The last time I went, I had the garden vegetable baked potato and tomato bisque lunch special ($8). The bisque was creamy and thick, which made it really satisfying, while the baked potato was equally good. It had loads of vegetables and was smothered in cheese, which made it the perfect comfort food for a chilly afternoon.

Bully's Sports Bar and Grill

2005 Sierra Highlands Drive,

Just because you’ve stopped eating meat doesn’t mean you’ve stopped watching sports. At Bully’s, you can watch the Giants without having to eat the obligatory hot wings with your beer. There are several locations around the valley, but I like the one in the northwest, off Mae Anne Avenue. For your finger foods, there’s a classic selection of fried foods ($4.50-$10) like shoestring fries, mozzarella sticks and fried zucchini. Or if you’ve got a hankering for a bigger meal, you can also get a veggie burger ($8). I had “The J” sandwich along with a side of steamed vegetables. While the steamed veggies were a little on the soggy side, the sandwich definitely made up for it. Layered with spinach, artichoke hearts, avocado, tomatoes and onions, and drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette, “The J” ($8) was actually pretty tasty, and definitely not something I’d expect to find at a sports bar. The great thing about Bully’s is the menu has a varied selection, so there are vegetarian options whether you want to carb-load, have a big meal, or want something lighter.

Kei Sushi

3220 U.S. Highway 50, Carson City,

Kei is a little gem in Carson City. It’s got a chic ambience with great service to boot. I got the lunch all-you-can-eat special ($17.95). Normally I stop at three rolls, but I had to try the tempura asparagus, tempura veggie, two of the veggie heaven rolls, and two of the garden rolls. Of course, there are only a few rolls that are vegetarian, but they were delicious. The veggie heaven roll and the tempura asparagus rolls were crunchy and fantastic. Normally, asparagus is way too potent and stringy, and just offends my senses, but in the roll, it was savory and tender. Compared to the cooked rolls, the garden rolls with raw veggies really held their own. They were crisp, fresh, and the flavor from the vegetables really popped because of it. I had Michael as a sushi chef and on my last garden roll, he topped it off with pico de gallo. Mind blown—that’s allowed in Sushi? It definitely put an unexpected twist on a regular roll.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers

4999 Kietzke Lane,

With burgers in the name, you might think it’s a safe bet that you shouldn’t take a vegetarian there. But at Red Robin, any burger they make can be substituted with a Gardenburger or Boca vegan patty for no extra charge. From there, you can order one of their creations or build your own. To start off, I had an order of guac, chips and salsa ($5). It all tasted really fresh and I wouldn’t dare complain about endless warm tortilla chips. Then I had the ‘shroom and Swiss burger ($10) with a Boca vegan patty. Now, I knew what I was getting into. A veggie patty will never be the prettiest sight and will also tend to look pale and uncomfortable. But that just doesn’t detract from the taste. The burger as a whole was a winner. The sautéed mushrooms were really flavorful and the garlic Parmesan spread really took the burger to the top. I also had a side of steamed broccoli ($1.29) that was tender, but firm enough to stay away from being a soggy mess. To tie it all together, the bottomless fries that came with the burger made sure there was no way I was going home hungry.

Old Range Steakhouse

7081 N. Lake Blvd., Tahoe Vista, Calif., (530)

I knew that finding a steakhouse with meatless dishes would be the ultimate challenge. But then I came across Old Range Steakhouse and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s on the pricey side, but you can have dinner in a cozy, rustic ambience with a killer view of Lake Tahoe. All of their salads ($14) are huge and can be a meal in themselves. The Greek Spinach salad was my personal favorite. It had such a fresh flavor that was amped up by the tanginess of the feta cheese. They’ve also got vegetarian sides ($8-$9) and you can order a few of them to make a meal. The sautéed mushrooms I ordered were earthy and flavorful, and I swear I could live off them. I also ordered the cream spinach, which normally isn’t my style, considering I leave creamed vegetables for infants and the elderly. But I was pleasantly surprised by how good it tasted and how it complemented the whole meal. For the main course, I had the artichoke sauté ($24). It was full of artichoke hearts as well as broccolini, red peppers and other veggies. It wasn’t overly seasoned, which really let the natural flavors of the different vegetables blend and speak for themselves. The dish also came with a side of garlic mashed potatoes which were the perfect amount of rich and chunky. Old Range Steakhouse also offers gnocchi ($22), a potato pasta dish that is ridiculously popular and incredibly filling. With plenty of options, for once, taking a vegetarian to a steakhouse isn’t the start to a bad joke.