Review: Park + Vine Vegan Lunch

PhotoI’m not a vegan, but many of my best friends are. How’s that for a marginalizing statement? Vegan cuisine is becoming mainstream, and even those of us who are avowed omnivores can enjoy vegan cuisine that’s done right.

Recently, Melissa Cox Howard, formerly of Melt in Northside, moved her talents to Park + Vine in Over-the-Rhine to create their vegan lunch menu. I had the opportunity last week to try it (ah, work-from-home days) and it’s definitely a can’t-miss.

Park + Vine puts its money where its mouth is with their new menu. It features local farmers and artisans, like Blue Oven Bakery, Brighid Farms, and Shadeau Bakery. The plates and utensils are all compostable– the only thing that isn’t is the plastic wrap on top of your to-go orders (though you can purchase compostable take-out containers).

I decided to go for broke and get the BBQ Tofu Sliders. Tofu is a food I like when cooked correctly, and despise when it isn’t. This one is right, with spicy barbecue sauce and a pleasant firmness. You still know it’s tofu, but it’s an enjoyable experience. It’s topped with sprouts, amazing Brihid Farms tomatoes and served on some great Blue Oven Breads foccacia.

The sides are great too– I loved the kale salad (it had a cute, clever name– Raw Raw I believe), and the potato salad was smoky and a little rich with Veganaise. You’d never know the difference between it and standard, mayonnaise-based potato salad if you weren’t told. They were good, solid sides whether you’re a carnivore or vegan.

If you want dessert, at the bar you can get an array of Sweet Peace bakery desserts, and there are plenty of beverage choices from kombucha to sparkling water. ¬†Lunch ran about $10, which isn’t terrible for a high-quality, relatively healthy downtown lunch.

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