For your dietary needs: Remember that new vegetarian cafe in Midtown, spotlighted in the V Word last week? It’s softly open now, and there are lots of options for both vegans and gluten-free eaters.
Veg (2431 J Street) replaced Level Up Lounge, the space above Thai Basil. Same owners, new concept and new aesthetic. The dark purple walls and neon lights are gone, and unlike Level Up, Veg can take advantage of the abundant natural light. The redesigned look is cozy and bright, with several different rooms offering different seating styles. Local art pieces and bohemian light fixtures are nice touches as well.
Veg serves breakfast and lunch—though it may stay open later on weekends—along with coffee, tea, beer, wine and a few cocktails. The latter include a spin on a bloody mary, with Thai basil, lemongrass and sea salt bitters ($9), and Zeal vanilla pine kombucha with gin, lemon and hibiscus ($9).
The menu includes classic veggie cafe offerings but also Thai- and Indian-influenced fare: Thai-style steamed eggs with tofu, mushrooms, fried garlic and shallots with grilled flatbread ($8); samosas with a sweet chili plum sauce ($8); and naan pizza topped with roasted veggies and curry ($8).
Expansive: Two local restaurants opened new locations this month. Korean spot YD House opened its second restaurant called YD Tofu House (5609 Freeport Boulevard). There’s no extra emphasis on tofu at YD Tofu House, though; the two Korean restaurant menus are identical. The new location’s interior looks clean and contemporary, like the more grown-up older sibling to YD House on Folsom Boulevard.
Over in Davis, Hot Italian (500 First Street) softly opened part of its new outpost. The space that used to be the Melt is now open, though the expansion into the former Verizon store isn’t complete yet. Offerings and prices are the same as Midtown, but more limited.
Kudos: A new restaurant with a do-gooder concept opened in Rancho Cordova: Angel Platters A Village Cafe (2931 Sunrise Avenue, Suite 100). It hires its staff through nonprofit agencies, aiming to help those who have suffered unemployment get back into the workforce. Also, the simple, traditional American breakfast and lunch options are unusually affordable. For example, a three-egg California omelet with avocado, mushrooms, cheese and spinach costs $7 and a BLT plus side goes for $5.