Once few and far between in our area, eateries with creative vegan and vegetarian options are growing in number. More often than not, they are at the forefront of the movement toward locally sourced produce, baked goods, etc.—and so it is with The DeLuxe, one of the newest additions to the West Street Market.
We started with a rainbow plate of fresh pickle ($6), including garlic smashed cucumber, citrus cabbage, shallot, ginger, daikon and carrot. The colorful collection of sliced and julienned veggies lived up to its name, and each item had a distinct character—some sour, others a bit salty, and even a bit sweet. Given that several of these ingredients were components in the rest of our dishes, I knew our meal was likely to be anything but bland.
Everything on the menu of bowls, burritos, salads and sandwiches starts out vegan, although beef and chicken are available to add for we omnivores. My wife went with a banh mi sandwich ($10); an additional $6 made it a “full plate.” The plate was indeed pretty full, with a sizeable stack of sweet potato and eggplant tempura fries, cucumber pickle, “hottie” ketchup and ginger scallion sauce. The light, crispy batter on the fries was well seasoned and so enjoyable it managed to make two of my least favorite veggies appetizing. I’m also not generally a fan of ketchup, but this spicy concoction was great with the fries.
As for the sandwich, a crusty baguette was doused in a coconut oil glaze and filled with sliced ginger beef, jalapeno, cilantro, daikon and carrot pickle, cucumber and cilantro mayo. There was almost too much going on here, so many notes competing for attention. I barely noticed the beef through the crunch and flavors from the garden. I could have done without the bread being so oily, which was made more noticeable by the lack of greasiness in the fries. Still, it was a decent plate of food that could easily be shared by two.
I decided on the DeLuxe burger ($12), a sandwich that bore only a passing resemblance to the real thing. Wanting to try the full vegan experience, I skipped the sliced beef option for a curried mushroom rice patty topped with spring mix, basil, crispy fried shallot, cilantro mayo, hottie ketchup and avocado. Let me first say that the flavors here worked quite well together, so much so that I really wanted to declare this a win. However, the “patty” was really more of a serving of curried risotto that squished right out of the sandwich on first bite. The sliced sourdough was even oilier than the bahn mi baguette, and I could only finish half of the sandwich. Luckily, my buddy helped out and polished off the other half.
I repaid the favor and helped with his plate of kimchi tacos ($6 for two). Each started with a lightly fried six-inch corn tortilla, topped with housemade kimchi, Korean taco sauce, cilantro, mung bean sprout, toasted sesame seed, cashew “sour cream” and a choice of proteins. We tried garlic tamari chicken and ginger beef. Both shredded meats were tender and well balanced with the rest of the ingredients. I couldn’t decide which was my favorite, but together they were easily my favorite part of the meal. The $1 “taco Tuesday” discount on each pair didn’t hurt either.