Sacramento, CA 95816
With a menu that’s 100% plant-based, Veg Cafe in Midtown is a haven for vegans, vegetarians and those with dietary restrictions such as gluten allergies. The restaurant sits above Thai Basil and is owned by Suleka Sun-Lindley, who is the chef and owner of both restaurants.
One recent evening, Veg was bustling with diners at just about every table. Wood-paneled walls are adorned with original artwork, and crystal chandeliers and healthy house plants are aplenty. There’s also ample window seating so customers can watch the busy J Street traffic whiz by.
Once I was seated, a fragrant vegetable curry at an adjacent table lured me into ordering the same dish, the Curry Bowl ($12), while my dinner date tried the Impossible Burger ($13) with smoked cheddar ($2.50) and Aaron’s Fries ($4).
The curry is loaded with seasonal vegetables such as sweet potato, cauliflower, kale and other hidden bits all swimming in a creamy cashew korma. It’s served with spiced basmati rice and lentils, which pack a mild heat between bites. It’s a rich and comforting dish that’s quite filling.
The Impossible Burger had a rosy pink hue on the inside giving it that real-deal meat appeal. The smoked cheddar was a bit heavy handed and dripped down the sides of the buns (a bit messy), but it truly gave this juicy patty that drive-thru, cheeseburger feel. The wedge fries resembled the tasty, seasoned variety found at grocery store delis: crispy and tender. This meal was 4-year-old and mommy approved as my son didn’t notice a lick of difference and I was able to try my first Impossible Burger.
On a follow-up visit, I snagged a window seat and admired the late-evening light that filtered through the dining room. On special was a roasted vegetable soup that I paired with a half-order of Summer Peach Salad ($15). The salad had little bursts of flavors and textures with fresh mixed greens, crunchy radicchio and a cool almond ricotta that added a nice creamy element to the grilled white peaches. Dressed with balsamic vinaigrette, this delightful salad is also topped with sweet roasted corn, pistachios for nutty crunch and pickled green almonds, which brought chewy moments and a welcome bitterness.
The roasted veggie soup ($7) warmed my bones with a deep broth and an abundance of corn, new potato, sweet potato, cauliflower, onion and cilantro. All veggies were cut so proportionally that I was able to enjoy a little bit of everything with each spoonful. I also ordered the Mac N Cheese ($13) with smoked cheddar and truffle breadcrumbs. Unfortunately, my breadcrumb topping was missing, but all the spiral noodles were aptly covered in cheddar sauce. However, I do wish the kitchen would dial back its use of liquid smoke. As creamy and comforting as this dish was, the aftertaste was like I had smoked a cigarette. And the chewy garlic chips on top were a nice touch, but if you’re not a fan of whole garlic pieces you may find them off-putting.
The ambience at Veg is laid-back, and the menu offers a variety of dishes and appetizers that are great for those who seek to eat less meat. At the end of a meal, you walk away thinking about the potato latkes you should’ve most definitely ordered. Next time.