I just had brisket for dinner. And it was good.
No, I haven’t fallen off the vegetarian wagon. A new all-vegan restaurant called V-Eats Modern Vegan opened last week in Trinity Groves, a hive of dining spots next to the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge near downtown Dallas.
The early hit is a vegan “brisket” made out of seitan, a meat substitute fashioned from a high-protein component of wheat — gluten, essentially. Seitan is a like a dough, and cooks can create different textures with it. At V-Eats, chef Troy Gardner has come up with a version that mimics at least the look and feel of brisket.
I have no idea if the flavor’s much like the real thing (I haven’t tried that in 25 years), but it’s tasty as served here, in sliders, tacos and the “Bar-V-Q” sandwich.
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The little plate of three street-style tacos ($10) — topped with house-pickled onions, microgreens, vegan Parmesan (made from cashews) and an excellent green sauce — is my favorite thing at V-Eats so far. Each bite of taco is a well-balanced whole. The brisket tasted by itself didn’t make as big an impression, but it did have a bit of crunchy crust, like a piece of barbecued meat.
We also tried a pretty good chili-cheese dog ($10), a huge serving with a tofu-based frank, vegan chili, vegan cheddar, a quinoa-and-lentil medley and nice yucca fries on the side.
A few things on this menu scare me a bit, since I’ve never been a fan of imitation meats. Among the plates are a Salisbury steak ($15, with mashed potatoes, onion rings and grilled vegetables) and a “Tortilla-Encrusted Fried Chick-None” ($15, with mushroom gravy, grilled veg and mac-and-cheese).
My husband ordered the not-chicken, which turned out to be a breaded, fried Portobello mushroom (sometimes it’s apparently breadfruit, a high-protein starchy fruit). He liked it, but it didn’t remind him much of chicken.
Quite a few menu items (a Southern plate, a lasagna, a vegetable-stuffed phyllo dish) are not yet available — we were told they’re still working on the recipes. The menu, by the way, is helpfully marked to guide people who avoid gluten, nuts or soy.
V-Eats is open for dinner only, seven days a week, but lunch and brunch will be added soon.
Give me Liberty
I didn’t try the veggie burger at V-Eats because I’d had one earlier in the day at the first Tarrant location of Liberty Burger, now open in Presidio Towne Crossing in far north Fort Worth. This is now one of the top veggie burgers in town, and my new favorite in this neighborhood (sorry, Houlihan’s).
The vegan patties, which are made in-house daily, are mostly vegetables (squash, mushrooms, carrots, bell peppers), but also include chickpeas, hemp, flax and quinoa. Mine held together well and had good texture and flavor — it’s nice that it doesn’t taste of black beans or soy, like so many others. The Woodstock ($7.50) comes with this patty, a cracked-wheat bun (also vegan), Swiss cheese, spring greens, avocado and a garlic-basil aioli. All vegans have to do is hold the cheese and ask for a different sauce.
You also can get that vegetarian patty on any other burger here. Try the Napa, with arugula, green olives and gorgonzola; or the South of the Burger, with avocado, refried beans and tortilla strips. Sides, including sweet-potato fries and onion rings, are fried in soybean oil, most buns are vegan-safe (avoid the brioche), and substitutions are easy here.
Two entree salads look promising, too ($9 each): the Crunchy, with greens, feta, cranberries, almonds and walnuts, tart apples and buttermilk-garlic dressing; and the Kale Mary, with baby kale, red cabbage, carrots, goat cheese, quinoa, berries and a poppyseed dressing.
Wild at heart
At Wild Salsa, the Dallas restaurant that just opened a swank new location in downtown Fort Worth, veggie offerings are few but interesting. When you want a beautiful, upscale Mexican meal, the vegetable enchiladas verde ($13) here are special — complex in flavor, with Swiss chard, spinach, queso fresco, black beans, salsa verde and root vegetable chips on top. They don’t come with sides, but that just gives you more room for the guacamole appetizer with toasted sesame seeds and roasted pepitas ($8).
The ensalada Mexicana ($9) is a mountain of shredded cabbage, roasted corn, charro black beans, pico and cotija cheese atop corn tostadas with avocado dressing and a cumin-lime vinaigrette. It’s pretty and festive, with bright flavors, and will probably become one of my favorite light lunches.
Other veggie options are a traditional guacamole ($8) and Sonoran cheese enchiladas ($14) with elote cream and arugula salad. The vegetable tacos ($11) with calabacitas, corn, radishes and more sound worthy, but they come with rice and beans that are not vegetarian.
Wild Salsa is at 300 Throckmorton St., Suite 180, Fort Worth; 682-316-3230; www.wildsalsarestaurant.com.
Have a suggestion, a veggie news tip or a question? Send it to Marilyn at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter, @LonesomeVeg. For more Lonesome Vegetarian columns, visit dfw.com/vegetarian.