January 08, 2013

Fine dining at Vedge in Philadelphia

autumn squash pierogies, chanterelles, madeira, hazelnut picada

During the winter holidays we spent a week in Philly visiting relatives and friends. One of the highlights was a dinner we shared with my brother at Vedge.

spicy grilled tofu, gochujang, edamame, smoked miso, yuba cracklin

I'd read that Vedge was more than just a great vegan restaurant — it was a fabulous restaurant, regardless of its unique cuisine. I'd have to agree, the food at Vedge was pretty remarkable. It was all glorious, fresh, real plant-based food.

braciole: smoked eggplant & cauliflower, Italian salsa verde, cured olive

Vedge is a small-plate restaurant, and our server recommended we order three dishes each. You can take a look look at the menus to see the selection of plates they offer. We chose items from the small plate menu and the dirt list. The three of us shared all the plates so we each got to sample nine dishes. If I go again, I think I may get my own three plates. Having just a bite of many dishes is exciting, but a little frustrating.

portabella carpaccio, creamy horseradish, pickled cabbage, cornichons

The plates really are quite small, and we each got a couple of bites from each plate. It was a little challenging for me to recognize and match each dish to the menu description after I got home, but I did my best to label our choices.

brussels sprouts, shaved & grilled, smoked mustard

There were a couple of plates I couldn't absolutely identify, and it may be because the menu changes, and by the time I returned home some of the offerings may have rotated. The "dirt list" changes daily, I believe. (update: a reader has helped to identify the previously unnamed plate!) Everything I tasted was beautiful and remarkable. The restaurant was ultra elegant, and very dark, and though I had my fast lens with me, it was no match for the "atmosphere," so I had to resort to the flash because it was flash or nada. You are only getting a bad representation of what the food really looked like. Honestly, I was so excited by the food, if it weren't for my two dining companions reminding me to take photographs, I would have nothing to show you.

roasted baby scarlet turnips coconut creamed kale, basil leaf & seed

When my husband and I go out to dinner for a non-special occasion, we usually tend to be conservative about the "extras" we order — things like drinks and appetizers are the stuff that pads the bill and makes dining out so expensive. But this was a special event, and we didn't hold back.

salt roasted gold beets, avocado, smoked tofu, rye, capers, creamy cucumber

We all ordered drinks — my brother had a craft beer, my husband had wine and I had a cocktail. I almost never drink, but we were at VEDGE, after all, and it was my brother's birthday, and I had to, you know, try everything. For the blog. I had a Kyoto Sour: Momokawa junmai sake, grapefruit, cucumber, agave, lemon. It was just delicious.

roasted maitake mushroom, celery root fritter, smoked leek remoulade

Everything was remarkably excellent, but one of my favorite tastes was a sweet potato paté that was unbelievable. I tried to re-create it when we got home and I made something very delicious, though with a slightly less-firm texture. It occurred to me that maybe I should bake it, and as soon as I'm happy with my recipe, I'll post it. The celery root fritter was also spectacular. As were the brussels sprouts.

wood grilled sweet potato paté, grain mustard, jerk cashews, toast

sticky toffee pudding, pumpkin ice cream
I was really quite full after all the small plates, though my brother wasn't. Since he was ordering dessert, I ordered one, too, to share with my husband. (OK, I would have ordered dessert even if my brother hadn't, just so I could taste it.) My brother ordered the ice cream trio, and I got the toffee pudding with pumpkin ice cream. My brother kept exclaiming about his whiskey ice cream, and how remarkable it was, but I was too enamored with my ultra creamy and perfectly spiced pumpkin ice cream to pay much attention. The pudding was great for a few bites but then became too sweet for me. My husband, on the other hand, had no problem polishing it off.

It's not easy to get reservations so if you know you'll be in Philly and want to go, call ahead — way ahead. We were lucky to get a reservation for three at 8:30 p.m. on a  Thursday night, and it was basically the only reservation to be had for the whole of our visit. (Of course, it was a busy time of year, so this might not be the case at other times.)

The Vedge is not to be missed, though you might want to save it for a special occasion, as it is pricy. For me, just going there is special occasion enough. I can't wait to go back!

28 comments:

  1. Wow, what a night! That looks like a fabulous dining experience. I've heard nothing but glowing reviews for Vedge, and after yours, I can see why. I don't know when I'll be in Philadelphia, but when I am, I'll be sure to visit!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it was fabulous. If you find yourself in Philly, you must dine at Vedge. You won't regret it!

      Delete
  2. I was waiting rather impatiently for this post and you did not disappoint. I had the pleasure of visiting Horizons (the former restaurant by the same owners/chefs) once and it was so spectacular, that I don't doubt a syllable of your accolades.

    Incidentally, I recall having been extremely happy with my drink as well as the food, and I'm not much of a drinker. If memory serves, two cocktails may have been involved- although it's possible the second was a result of dining with a rather curmudgeonly, non-open-minded family member...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure you have many equally stunning restaurants in NYC, but I still think a visit to Vedge would be a treat. They honor veggies to the highest order, and make them taste sublime. I was seriously considering a second cocktail since the first one didn't really affect me like drinks usually do, and it tasted so good, but my naturally miserly instincts prevented me from spending $10 on another drink. However, in light of the total bill, it wouldn't have made much difference. Next time two cocktails !

      Delete
    2. While there are a number of upscale vegan restaurants in NY, I've found that the service rarely measures up. As I recall, Horizons was the whole package and, from what I'm hearing, so too is Vedge- if not more so. I'M SO EXCITED! I've sent so many friends the link to this post to encite them to join me on a road trip...

      Delete
  3. ahhh how did i miss this! I am in the philly area all the time! this place looks really lovely! i hate how all the classy placed NEVER have vegetarian food. I always have to go to the four seasons with my boyfriend's family and there is so little there to eat. i should make everyone go here for my birthday :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, you must go to Vedge! It's so good, and beautiful, too. And the staff is very friendly. You would love it.

      Delete
  4. oh my DOGS!!.. That looks like the BEST food ever. I would consider a trip to philly just to eat there. wow.. I'm somewhat blown away. Thanks for posting this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's funny, but I was afraid I didn't make the restaurant sound as good as it actually was. It's so unusual to find a fine vegan restaurant that treats vegetables as gourmet items, and doesn't rely on meat subs for a focus, that it's hard to describe. It was lovely, and each dish was special!

      Delete
  5. Even though I live on another continent, I've heard of this place and people raving about how good it is. Really glad to hear that it lived up to, and even surpassed, expectations. I love the little plates idea too - more trying everything! But I'm with you, I definitely would have to have a few plates to myself. I'd love to try that maitake mushroom dish, and the dessert...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is that good. Just thinking about it now has me dreaming about going back.

      Delete
  6. This looks like a really great restaurant, and I like that they have small plate items. Everything looks spectacular!

    Amazing that it's so hard to get a reservation, too. Awesome that it's a veg restaurant. Is it fancy, as in you need to dress up to go there?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, really great. They are all about fine vegetable dining.

      The Web site says "smart casual," whatever that means. Basically you can wear anything you want — even dress up if you're feeling it. I probably wouldn't wear a sweatshirt and ripped jeans, but black jeans and a nice top would do. :)

      Delete
  7. Wow!! That all looks so gorgeous; somehow "meaty" and rich-looking, but still fresh and artful. You're very lucky!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm lucky to have experienced Vedge, but not lucky enough to live anywhere nearby.

      Delete
  8. Looks like an amazing meal! Such beautiful looking food! That's great you were able to try so many dishes, sometimes it's hard to decide what to get when everything sounds so good. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was really hard to pick just nine things to try. I'd like to try ordering just three dishes for myself but don't know how I'd ever settle on which three to choose!

      Delete
  9. it all looks so delicious! i need an excuse to go to Philly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's a lot of history in Philly. Are you a history buff? You could do a historical tour. :)

      Delete
  10. How awesome; I've heard a lot of fantastic stuff about this place. It's funny that you can't identify some of the plates but if it was all so delicious, it doesn't really matter and I can visit and pick ANYTHING knowing it'll be great...right?
    Yr drink sounds fantastic as well. You know I'm a fan of cocktails.
    Is it entirely vegan or vegetarian?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's entirely vegan. Woohoo! About the cocktail ... I metabolize alcohol very quickly, and can't drink a lot, but this cocktail had no effect on me that I could detect. I thought the alcohol content of sake is higher than beer or wine, so it must have been a weak cocktail. Good for me, but not everyone's preference.

      Abby is looking for people to go with!

      Delete
  11. Portabella carpaccio! That's what the unlabeled dish is. I had it when I got to go to Vedge in November. Truly a spectacular meal. My table of 4 all had a drink, 2 plates each, and dessert as well and the total cost per person including tip was $50. Not bad, in my opinion, considering how amazing the food was.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Our bill for three was about the same as yours for four, but we each ordered three dishes plus drinks and dessert, and one person had coffee. No question it was worth it. I just had to mention the cost so readers would be prepared if they went.

      Delete
  12. OH, I've never heard of this. I love going to fancy plated restaurants. That's crazy about the reservations but really great that they're doing so well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You would love Vedge — the food is so creative and delicious. They must spend hours in the kitchen. :D

      Delete
  13. Oh, I am so, so jealous. Here in the UK, even in veggie restaurants, vegan food is nowhere near as pretty and mouthwatering!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Don't feel too bad — it's not like this in most restaurants here, either!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting Andrea's easy vegan cooking. I love, and read, all of your comments! Please share your thoughts. Sorry I had to remove anonymous comments, but I was inundated with spam. Same with word verification. Too many evil spammers.

Note: ALL THE IMAGES FROM THIS BLOG WERE ACCIDENTALLY DELETED ON 1-21-12. I'M RESTORING THEM, POST BY POST, BUT IT WILL TAKE A LONG TIME. Recipe pages you visit may be missing photos, but all the text in intact.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails
I love comments. Please feel encouraged to leave your opinion. I started received hundreds of spam messages a day - sometimes per hour - and have had to add a capcha for the time being. Sorry about that. :(

Please contact me (cookeasyvegan at gmail dot com if you would like to reproduce any part of the blog.

Some posts contain links to Amazon.com. I earn a small percentage if you shop through my link. Thank you if you choose to force Amazon to share a tiny bit of their profit with me.