When you think about The Vig, the first thing that comes to mind likely isn’t vegan food (maybe it’s giant Jenga?), but Chef Justin Woodward spent a lot of time contemplating how to incorporate veganism into his new and improved menu that just debuted at all Vig locations.
We were recently invited to try his new menu and Chef Woodward took a minute to talk about cooking with his vegan grandmother and mother as a small boy. This might be the trend nationally, but to the chef, it’s like being home.
His new dishes include a take on cauliflower hummus with white beans, garlic oil, and a naan bread we couldn’t stop eating. The hummus is creamy, not grainy, and addictive. Add chicken (and you can!) and this appetizer becomes a meal.
And what good is an appetizer without a drink? The Vig poured out some Bennett & Bubbles (a Tito’s handmade vodka, hibiscus syrup, rhubarb bitters, lemon, sparkling wine concoction) and a Summer Spritzer featuring the crowd favorite, Hendricks Gin. It got us good and ready for the upcoming bites which we chose to have with meat, but like anything at The Vig, they can be made to order any way you like it.
The Vig’s menu used to be located on one menu no matter what time you came in, but now its offerings are split into different meal times without a ton of overlap from say, brunch to dinner. We came for dinner, so if you like what you see, go for dinner. If you want to get adventurous and strike out on your own, try brunch where you can build your own mimosa while biting into enchiladas or a cinnamon skillet.
Our first course was a shared plate of lettuce wraps with sliced hanger steak, coconut quinoa, pickled vegetables, and sesame dressing served up on Bibb lettuce. Arguably the best kind of lettuce is lettuce filled with quinoa and this didn’t disappoint. The wraps could be a very light meal if you’re into that kind of thing (we are!), but sharing was a nice way to ready our stomach for what came next (which was a lot of food).
While the cauliflower tacos looked A+ + (100% emojis everywhere) we decided to dig into a protein bowl with hanger steak (again! We can’t help ourselves! We were hungry!). Our bowl was the perfect portion of steak, coconut quinoa, blistered shishitos, shiitakes, fried egg, soy caramel, and avocado. It was a G D delight. Sometimes eggs come out too runny or too cold or overcooked or not cooked at all. This egg came out warm and perfectly runny. Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest. The Vig made sure to get all the details right.
Not to be outdone, their poke bowl with black rice tossed with a ginger-lime vinaigrette, then topped with ahi tuna that’s been kissed with ponzu and piled alongside avocado, pickled cucumber salad, carrots, sesame seeds, green onions, jalapeños, and a soy mayo was flavorful and fresh. (Two things we love when we’re dealing with raw fish.) We didn’t mean to eat the whole thing, but we definitely ate the whole thing.
We didn’t think we’d have room for dessert but… we were wrong. Chef brought out a piping hot butterscotch bread pudding, a caramel corn creme brûlée, and a deep chocolate cake too rich for our blood (in a good way). We took a bite of each and then like, four bites more. Of each. Okay, we took them home and finished them the next morning. That’s just how we do, all right? It’s our truth. The best breakfast is actually dessert and everyone knows that.
If you’re looking to up the game on your happy hour food or a great place to enjoy a patio with some good eats, we highly recommend the new and improved Vig menu. Check it out on your own at one of their several valley locations.
(Each location is different! But we hit up the Vig Arcadia!)