Vegan surprise

Ooh baby, I like it raw: the Vodasta zucchini noodle dish from VOD.

Ooh baby, I like it raw: the Vodasta zucchini noodle dish from VOD.

Photo by Lauren Randoph

VOD is open Monday through Saturday 11am to 8pm For more information, visit voddeli.com

Vod Deli

350 West Liberty Street, Suite A
Reno, NV 89501

(775) 323-3000

Tucked away on Liberty Street downtown is a tiny little restaurant that can broaden your horizons. It’s called VOD, which stands for Vegan Organic Deli. My husband and I went there last Saturday because the refrigerator was bare, and we wanted to try something new. We left there pleased but not overjoyed.

When we arrived, we were a bit confused, and no one jumped at the chance to enlighten us. We stood awkwardly at the bar, trying to figure out if a) there was seating elsewhere, b) whether we had to wait to be seated, or c) where and how we should order. While there were three people working behind the lovely wooden bar, none looked our way. Eventually, I walked to the back of the restaurant and found one of three tables empty. We were in luck. My husband then went to the servers who clarified the procedure: The menus are on the bar; you take one, peruse it, decide and head back up to the counter to order and pay. You also fetch your own silverware.

I was immediately attracted to VOD’s variety of smoothies and fresh juice drinks (12 oz. $5, 16 oz. $7). There is everything from the Jack Rabbit (apple, lemon, ginger, and carrot), to Green It Up (spinach, lemon, apple and celery) to the Blood Purifier (apple, beet, cucumber and carrot). My husband went for the Potassium Power (spinach, parsley, apple and carrot), but I wanted a sweeter smoothie so I chose the Purple Pow (ice, blueberries, dates, cashews, agave). And, my, was I ever happy I did. It was the best thing about the whole lunch. A couple at a nearby table ordered one, as well, and I had to agree with the fine fellow when he kept insisting to his wife, “This is so good. It’s, like, one of the best things I’ve ever had. This is so good!”

As for food, well, we are not vegans and so we never cease to be surprised when someone prepares a meal that is yummy and yet has no animal products. There are a total of six vegan and raw food meals to choose from (teaser $7, meal $11). I had the Vodyaki (softened kelp noodles with a variety of fresh vegetables and teriyaki sauce), and I was pleasantly surprised that it reminded me so much of my college years when eating teriyaki daily was normal. But that was chicken, and this was kelp. By god, it worked. My husband had the Vodili (coarsely ground vegetables, almonds, sundried tomatoes, mushroom, herbs and spices, topped with onion cashew cream). It was almost crazy how much it tasted like chili, except healthier.

On offer is also the Vodizza (walnut zucchini crust with fresh Pomodoro sauce, cashew cheese sauce and minced vegetables), the Vodkale (marinated chopped kale mixed with shredded vegetables and a secret sauce) and the Vodasta (spiralized zucchini noodles topped with marinara sauce and cashew, bell pepper cheese). All meals are served on a salad bed, and you have a choice of tahini, teriyaki or toasted sesame dressing.

The strangest thing about the place is its choice of serving ware. Everything is served on paper plates with plastic cutlery and cups. For a restaurant that prides itself on being natural and healthy, this struck me as inconsistent and perhaps even a bit hypocritical. Amidst the brochures for healthful, green living were garbage cans full of paper and plastic waste.

Overall, the meal was pleasant and the service decent. Like I said, it’s a great little place to go if you are looking to broaden, or shall we say Voden, your horizons, but it’s probably not an everyday stop.